The new process was developed by Dr. Gordon Murray, vice president of Stella-Jones and Adjunct Professor at Dalhousie University. The single-stage process will replace the current cumbersome and costly two-stage process, which involves treating crossties with borates, allowing the borates time to diffuse, and then finally treating the crossties with creosote.
Testing of the borate diffusion began in August 2009 to AWPA specifications and has since been independently validated. This analysis determined that Stella-Jones' new single-stage borate treatment produces the same end result as the traditional two-stage process.
Full scale production testing is expected to begin in April 2010 at the company's Goshen, Va., facility serving CSX Transportation and a number of shortline railroads.
CSXT installs a limited number of borate-treated crossties in the heavy-decay zones of the southeastern United States. Company officials visited the Stella-Jones research facility in January, and CSXT plans to utilize the single-stage treated crossties. This lower-cost alternative will be a factor in the number of borate-treated crossties the company purchases, said CSXT officials.