Infrabel first rail manager in Europe to install ‘green’ cross ties
On Saturday, rail manager Infrabel installed the first ‘green’ – in both senses of the word – cross ties in Europe. The literary green cross ties used currently in Puurs are made from sulfur concrete, which is a solid and environmentally friendly construction material.
Sulfur concrete is resistant to some compounds like acids, which attack normal concrete, and on top of that, its production emits 40% less CO2 than standard cross ties. It is a waste product of the chemical industry and fully and endlessly recyclable.
Belgian concrete company De Bonte produces renewable cross ties. Sulfur concrete can be made at a temperature of 140°C – normal concrete needs 1 400°C – so it is far more energy-efficient. The emission savings represent the annual emissions of 100 households.
“The Belgian rail already was the greenest means of transport, now it becomes even greener,” said Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet. “The project is completely in line with what our government wants to do. We are committed to the climate targets we set and want to reduce CO2 emissions by 55%. This is a real way to do it.”
The first cross ties were installed in Puurs, but the actual mass production only starts in August. The green cross ties’ life span is estimated at 20 to 30 years, but they can be recycled. They’re as resistant to the high dynamic load of trains as traditional concrete, and they’re even more resistant to wear and chemical damage or infiltration.