Question about concrete ties/wooden ties is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Aurora & Portland Owner
I have never seen this anywhere so I'm curious as to what you guys have seen in the real world.

1. If a Class 1 railroad is using concrete ties, what do they do when it comes to a switch?

2. Have you seen code 83 switches with concrete ties?


Beach Bum
Jerome: On Amtrak's Philadelphia - Harrisburg Main Line, (Keystone Service), Amtrak began installing concrete tie switches for Hand operated (non interlocked) main line crossovers, and industrial sidings. in 2005. The plan was for all switches to eventually be concrete tie switches throughout the NEC, but since I retired in 2008, I have been out of the loop.
I think Kato HO Ready track may offers concrete tie sections, including super elevated curve tracks. Not sure about switches though.


BN Modeller
I’ve never seen concrete switch ties but I guess that could be a new thing.
James’ picture is the first.
All I’ve seen is wooden ties at switches and bridges, and I’ve never seen twin track both have concrete ties, usually just one. Then of course all my work has been in Canada so your mileage may vary?

As a side note, concrete ties don’t do too well here in the Great White North with the temperature fluctuation, especially when water freezes in the cracks and blows them apart. I’m planning to do a stretch of concrete with paper clips sticking out the ends to simulate rebar. I’ll try to find some of my pics.


There are some places concrete ties just don't work.

East of New Haven on Amtrak's Shore Line are 3 short tunnels (called, appropriately, the "East Haven Tunnels") that have a lot of moisture in them.

They tried concrete ties in there, and they would "push mud", get wet, then slowly crumble to bits, usually from the bottoms "up".

Amtrak ended up taking all the concrete ties out, and putting traditional wooden ties back in. They worked fine for years before, and are doing so again.


Well-Known Member
My theory about no concrete ties under switches: The diverging route / main route ties are the longest.. Due to that they'll crack..
Find a bridge over trackage with switches under it and you'll likely see wood ties under them with concrete to and from them...
J.Albert (above) makes sense as well.
In any event if you are using wood tie switches, you are being prototypical..
Thank god there are still ties that smell of creosote !!

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