VIC/TAS Chapter Event: Circular economy: Converting Plastic and Polystyrene Waste into Durable Composite Railway Sleepers
August 11 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm AEST
The Duratrack® railway sleeper is produced from recycled plastic materials, which have already had a primary use in other applications, and forms a step part of the circular economy for these materials. The sleeper is a longer-lasting and more durable alternative to traditional timber railway sleepers, offering maintenance benefits and eliminating the escalating challenge to source significant quantities of quality timber stock.
Stephen Webster, General Manager of Integrated Recycling, will speak about the development and current status of the Duratrack® recycled plastic railway sleeper, including the development journey from concept to production, performance characteristics, comparison to alternative solutions, the testing and validation processes, type approvals, operational experience to date, and the future outlook for the technology. Time has been allowed for audience Q&A, as well as networking and canapés. “We have broken new ground in a safety conscious engineering environment.
A lot of things were done for the first time and the onus was on us to show proof of performance. All this takes time!” Stephen will also speak about the collaboration with the Institute of Railway Technology, Monash University, the Victorian Government, and accredited rail operators in bringing about this innovation. The creation of the Duratrack® sleeper turned out to be the simpler first step. Validating the sleeper’s performance in a then standards-free environment and seeking collaborative partners to trial the sleepers was the real challenge. Collaboration with The Institute of Railway Technology at Monash was critical to the development journey. Queensland Rail’s tender for composite sleepers to replace timber sleepers is a model structure for change and innovation.
Stephen Webster has a strong track record of developing businesses since moving away from the practice of law. Stephen is the general manager of Integrated Recycling the manufacturer and distributor of a range of composite recycled plastic products that have landscaping, industrial and agricultural applications. Since conception in 2014, Stephen has led the development of the Duratrack® composite recycled plastic railway sleeper.