Cross ties are a constant focus of track maintenance programs as railroads continually strive for improvement. Cross ties are not the most expensive track structure component, yet their performance plays a vital role. Traditionally the wood cross tie has been the predominant cross tie of choice, however, increasing economic, environmental, and performance pressures have led railroads to look for alternatives.
In 1999 the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) expressed a strong interest in finding an alternate material cross tie that would be compatible with, and could be interspersed with, wood ties in existing wood tie track. They wanted a cost competitive cross tie that could be used in their standard maintenance programs. This paper discusses the concrete Maintenance Replacement Tie (MRT) developed by RCTI in the USA and Rocla Sleepers in Australia.