The L&B lays its first plastic sleepers

Published: 7th February, 2022

Following last November's news report of the purchase of sustainable plastic sleepers for use on the L&B, I am able to report that the first installation of these sleepers took place over the volunteers’ working weekend at the end of January.

Photo: Julia Snashall

This photo shows the newly sleepered turnout in position at the Lynton end of the up platform. Both photos clearly show the “stippled” sides to each sleeper which helps to key in the ballast around them.

As mentioned in the previous item on plastic sleepers, the carbon saving from their use is significant. However, following this posting, a number of members expressed surprise at the high carbon saving figures we quoted, which were supplied by the manufacturers, Sicut Enterprises.

Following further contact with Sicut, they have admitted an error in their figures such that their original claim of 60,000kg CO2e per L & B-sized sleeper was in fact per Kilometre of track, not per sleeper. Nevertheless, the saving is still substantial, and Sicut point out that the quoted figure does not include the carbon footprint of the installation work, estimated at 190,000kgof CO2e by Network Rail, since the longer life of the sleepers means that replacement is much less frequent.