Types of Sleepers

The sleepers mostly used on Indian Railways are (i) wooden sleepers, (ii) cast iron (CI) sleepers, (ii) steel sleepers, and (iv) concrete sleepers. Table 7.3 compares the important characteristics of these types.

Table 7.3 Comparison of different types of sleepers

Characteristics Type of sleeper

Wooden

Steel

CI

Concrete

Service life

12-15

40-50

40-50

50-60

(years) Weight of

83

79

87

267

sleeper for BG (kg)

Handling

Manual

Manual

Manual

No manual

handling; no

handling; no

handling;

handling; gets

damage to

damage to

liable to break

damaged by

sleeper while

sleeper while

by rough

rough

handling

handling

handling

handling

(contd )

Table 7.3 (contd)

Characteristics

Type of sleeper

Wooden

Steel

CI

Concrete

Type of

Manual or

Manual or

Manual

Mechanized

maintenance

mechanized

mechanized

only

Cost of maintenance

High

Medium

Medium

Low

Gauge

adjustment

Difficult

Easy

Easy

No gauge

adjustment

possible

Track circuiting

Best

Difficult; insulating pads are necessary

Difficult; insulating pads are necessary

Easy

Damage by

Can be

No damage by

Can be

No damage by

white ants and

damaged by

white ants but

damaged by

white ants or

corrosion

white ants

corrosion is possible

corrosion

corrosion

Suitability for

Suitable for

Suitable for CF

Suitable for CF

Suitable for EF

fastening

CF* and EF^

and EF

only

only

Track elasticity

Good

Good

Good

Best

Creep

Excessive

Less

Less

Minimum

Scrap value

Low

Higher than wooden

High

None

* CF stands for conventional fastening. t EF stands for elastic fastening.

Sleeper Density and Spacing of Sleepers | RAILWAY ENGINEERING - Contents | Wooden Sleepers