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5 Best Places to Get Free Railroad Ties

Best Places to Get Free Railroad Ties

Railroad ties, also known as railway sleepers, are essential components of railway tracks. They are long, rectangular wooden or concrete beams that support and stabilize the tracks.

While they are primarily used for railroad tracks, railroad ties also have a wide range of other applications, including landscaping, garden borders, retaining walls, and construction projects.

However, purchasing new railroad ties can be quite expensive, especially if you require a large quantity for your latest DIY project. Fortunately, there are several places where you can obtain free railroad ties.

So, I decided to take a closer look at the 5 best places to get free railroad ties.

Where Can You Find Free Railroad Ties?

Here’s where you can get free railroad ties for your latest project:

1 Railroad Companies

Railroad companies should be the place to contact if you’re looking for free railroad ties. These companies frequently replace old railroad ties with new ones to maintain the safety and reliability of their tracks. 

Railroad Companies

As a result…

Railroad companies might have a surplus of old railroad ties that they need to get rid of. So, you can contact your local railroad company and inquire about their discarded railroad ties. They may be willing to give them to you for free or at a low cost. However, be sure to never take any without the permission of the railroad company first.  

Also, keep in mind that railroad ties are often heavy and difficult to transport. So you may need to arrange for transportation or delivery.

2 Construction Sites

Contractors and builders often use railroad ties for temporary construction projects, such as creating retaining walls or temporary roads. Therefore, construction sites are another excellent source of free railroad ties

Once the project is completed…

They may have leftover railroad ties that they need to dispose of. So, if you see a construction site near your home or workplace, you can ask the workers if they have any discarded railroad ties that you can have.

However, keep in mind that construction sites can be dangerous, So it is essential to exercise caution and obtain permission before entering the site.

3 Landfills

Believe it or not, landfills can also be a great place to find railroad ties. Landfills receive a wide range of waste materials, including discarded and, therefore, free railroad ties.

While it may seem counterintuitive to search for free items at a landfill, it is a good way to repurpose materials that would otherwise go to waste.

To find free railroad ties at a landfill…

Simply contact your local waste management facility and ask if they have any discarded railroad ties that you can take. If they do, be sure to follow any rules or regulations regarding the collection and transport of materials from the landfill.


4 Craigslist

Craigslist is a popular online classifieds platform where people can buy and sell goods and services. It is also a great place to find free items, including railroad ties

Remember, there are those that came before you…

Many homeowners and businesses use railroad ties for landscaping and other projects and may have excess ties that they need to get rid of.

To find free railroad ties on Craigslist, search for keywords such as “free railroad ties,” “used railroad ties,” or “landscaping railroad ties” in the “free” or “materials” sections of the website. Just be sure to contact the seller as soon as possible, as free items tend to go quickly.

5 Facebook Marketplace

Lastly, you can source free railroad ties through Facebook Marketplace. Facebook Marketplace is a popular online marketplace where people can buy and sell goods and services within their local community. 

Many craftsmen and businesses use Facebook Marketplace to advertise and sell their unwanted items, including railroad ties.

Facebook Marketplace

Where to start?

Try to search for keywords such as “free railroad ties” or “used railroad ties” in the search bar of the website or app. You can also filter your search by location to find listings within your local area.

Once you find a listing, be sure to contact the seller as soon as possible to express your interest and arrange for pick-up or delivery. 

Top tip…

It’s important to exercise caution when meeting with strangers for pick-up or delivery and to follow any safety guidelines recommended by Facebook Marketplace.

Now that you know about the 5 best places to get free railroad ties, let’s answer…

Are Old Railroad Ties Safe to Use?

While railroad ties can be a cost-effective and versatile material for landscaping and decorating projects, it’s important to note that they may not be safe for DIY use. 

Are Old Railroad Ties Safe to Use

Here are some reasons why:

Chemical Treatment

Railroad ties are typically treated with a chemical preservative, such as creosote, to prevent decay and extend their lifespan. 

Creosote is a dark, oily substance that contains numerous toxic chemicals, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known carcinogens. When exposed to high temperatures or moisture, these chemicals can leach out of the ties and contaminate the soil, water, and plants around them. This can be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment.

Structural Integrity

Railroad ties are designed to support heavy loads, such as trains and cargo. However, they may not be structurally sound for use in landscaping and decorating projects. 

Over time, they can become warped, cracked, or rotten, making them unstable and prone to collapse. This can be dangerous, especially if they are used as retaining walls or for elevated garden beds.

Splinters and Nails

Railroad ties are made of rough, weathered wood that can splinter easily. Splinters can cause painful injuries, especially if they are not removed promptly. 

Additionally, they may contain nails, screws, or other metal fasteners that can pose a hazard to humans and animals. These fasteners can rust over time, further compromising the structural integrity of the ties.

Regulatory Issues

Because of the potential health and safety hazards associated with railroad ties, many local and state governments have enacted regulations or guidelines governing their use. 

For example, some municipalities prohibit the use of creosote-treated railroad ties in residential landscaping projects. Violating these regulations can result in fines or legal action.

Are There Safer Railroad Tie Alternatives?

Yes, there are several good alternatives to railroad ties for DIY use in landscaping and decorating projects. 

Here are a few options:

Concrete Blocks

Blocks of concrete are a durable and stable alternative to railroad ties. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles and can be used to create retaining walls, garden beds, and other landscaping features.

Concrete Blocks

Natural Stone

Natural stones, such as limestone, sandstone, or granite, can add a beautiful and timeless look to landscaping and decorating projects. Stone can be used to create walls, paths, and other features, and can be cut or shaped to fit specific design needs.

Composite Timbers

These are synthetic alternatives to traditional wood timbers. They are made of a combination of recycled plastic and wood fibers and are available in a range of colors and sizes. Composite timbers are resistant to rot, insects, and decay, and do not require sealing or staining.

Recycled Plastic Lumber

This is another synthetic alternative to traditional wood timbers. It is made of recycled plastic and can be used to create retaining walls, garden beds, and other landscaping features.

Want More Free Stuff?

You’d be surprised at how many opportunities there are out there to take advantage of free offerings. You just need to know where and how!

For your DIY projects, find out Where to Get Free Fill Dirt Near YouDoes Lowes Giveaway Free Pallets, and How To Find Craigslist Freebies!

Also, check out these Ways to Get Free Address LabelsCompanies That Happily Send Out Free Samples by Mail, the Best Churches That Give Away Free Clothes Near Me, Where to get Free Air For Your Tires and a Free Car Vacuum Near Me, or all about the Kids Eat Free at IHOP Promotion. Plus, here are the Best 15 Places Where To Get Free Newspapers in 2023!

Is your birthday coming up?

Then find out fast, How to get Free Stuff On Your Birthday Without Signing Up and Can You Get A Free Starbucks Drink On Your Birthday?

We can also tell you How To Get Free DoorDash and How To Get Free Shipping At Costco!

Ok, back to…

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are several places where you can look for free railroad ties. Railroad companies, Craigslist, construction sites, landfills, and even social media are all excellent sources of free or reduced-cost railroad ties. Plus, by repurposing discarded materials, you can save money and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Just be sure to follow the safety guidelines outlined above, as well as any restrictions or regulations implemented around their use in your area.

Happy DIYing!

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