In view of the great shortage of wooden sleepers, steel channel sleepers have been developed by Indian Railways particularly for use on girder bridges. Steel channel sleepers can be used for welded plates, riveted plates, as well as open web girders.
Composite sleepers have been developed indigenously in India as a replacement for wooden sleepers. These are made from waste products such as used rubber tyres, and the manufacturers claim a lifespan of about 40 years for these sleepers. The Patel Group of Industries is one such firm that has developed these composite sleepers.
Composite sleepers are similar to wooden sleepers and use similar fittings. These sleepers are under trial and the results so far have been quite encouraging.