In English, we talk about “taking coal to Newcastle”. In Gaelic, we’d say “taking wood to Lochaber”.
But maybe we’ll be taking plastic to Lochaber for the railways soon!
Since the beginning of railways, wooden sleepers have been crucial.
While concrete sleepers have become more prevalent in recent years, wooden sleepers have continued to be used, for example in areas where there there are weight restrictions or on lightly used tracks.
However, the day of wooden sleepers is coming to an end. New softwood sleepers coated in creosote are no longer allowed due to environmental regulation and hardwood sleepers are not available from sustainable sources and so are no longer used by Network Rail.
For this reason, Network Rail has started using recycled plastic sleepers for the first time.
You can read the full story here: https://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/news/beyond-wood-first-recycled-plastic-railway-sleepers-laid-on-network-rail-tracks