The Anonymous Widower

Bamboo Sleepers Aimed At Middle Eastern Railways

The title of this post, is the same as that on this article on the Railway Gazette.

Sounds surprising, but the company founder and CEO, gives these advantages.

Avraham says that bamboo sleepers bring advantages in railway construction and renewal because the material does not require additional after-treatment with substances such as creosote in order to provide long term protection. It is also naturally impervious to insect infestation. This means the risk of soil and groundwater contamination from chemicals is minimised compared to alternative materials.

They are going to launch production with 50,000 tonnes of raw bamboo.

May 27, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | ,


  1. Are you aware of bamboo sleepers being used anywhere previously? I’m certainly not, so I have to ask: if not, why not? Do we just assume that for the past 150-odd years railway operators in tropical countries simply overlooked the abundant natural resource alongside, or within easy reach, of their lines? Was it because of some ‘bamboo-blindness’ that they went to immense trouble and expense to import sleepers made of anything from tropical hardwood to north European larch and pine? For example, I know that throughout its 100-year existence the Mauritius Government Railways was always trying to find cheaper, more reliable substitutes (including steel and concrete) for its existing supplies of timber for sleepers, but, so far as I know – and I’ve read all the MGR’s annual reports from 1864 to 1964! – it never once tried, or even contemplated, bamboo. If it’s as good as is being claimed, then its absence from the world’s railways up until now is a bit of mystery.

    As the company is aiming for the Middle Eastern market, I wondered whether bamboo performs well in dry conditions but rots too quickly to be of use anywhere where there’s appreciable rainfall. But the original article indicates that TieBam is looking at railways in SE Asia countries, which are about as humid and prone to heavy rainfall as you can get.

    I have seen (in Seychelles) shipping containers with bamboo flooring, and I imagine the material has a great many other potential uses. I’ve chiefly associated it with poles for runner beans etc and the headmaster’s extensive selection of canes which were exercised on our backsides from time to time! Under the conditions prevailing in a Surrey boarding school, I can personally vouch for bamboo’s robustness and lack of insect infestation…

    Comment by Stephen Spark | May 27, 2020 | Reply

  2. There’s some funny stories about wood in the tropics.

    De Havilland Mosquitos used to get esten by termites for a start!

    Comment by AnonW | May 27, 2020 | Reply

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