The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad is in the process of replacing old wooden railroad ties with new concrete ties in Burlington, Iowa. The new concrete ties are a product of the Rocia Concrete Tie, Inc. out of Denver, Colorado (U.S. Office). The BNSF and Union Pacific Railways are using the Rocia Vossioh 101L pre-stressed concrete ties for replacement of wooden ties. The Rocia Company website lists advantages of the concrete ties over traditional wooden ties: *Stronger track structure for increased rail life *Lower annual maintenance costs *Engineered product with established performance *Exceptional resistance to weathering and corrosion *Improved track surface, alignment, and gauge holding performance *Energy efficient by reducing locomotive fuel consumption http://www.roclatie.com/index.html Concrete ties have been used for a number of years in Europe. Austria, France and Great Britain have perfected the concrete ties over the years. Interest in concrete ties increased after World War II due to improvements in design and difficulty obtaining lumber for ties. According to a Wikipedia article, M. Monnier, a French gardener, designed a concrete railroad tie in the late 1800’s and proceeded to get a patent for his design. As late as January 2008, the approximate market share in North American for traditional and wood railroad ties was 91.5%, the balance being concrete, steel, azobe’ (red ironwood) and plastic composite. Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railroad_tie http://www.roclatie.com/index.html http://roclatie.com/pdf/Vossloh_Ties.pdf The BNSF Railroad equipment is fascinating to watch as it lifts the long steel rails, removes the old wooden ties and then places in new sets of pre-stressed concrete ties.