Recycled Plastic Railroad Ties Solves Two Problems

Axion converts the plastics that end up in landfill and oceans into railroad ties that don't rot when the weather turns bad.

Resiliency for the Northeast Corridor

Axion International Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: AXIH) just received a million dollar contract for track ties along the Northeast Corridor. Stretching from Boston to Washington DC, the corridor is home to 1 in 7 Americans and creates $1 out of every $5 in GDP. 750 thousand people travel on trains daily, accounting for 69% of the combined airline and rail market between Washington, DC and New York City and 51% between New York and Boston. In spite of it's amazing success, the corridor has faced its challenges. During super-storm Sandy, some of the rail lines, built between 1830 and 1970, succumbed to the waters that flooded cities and towns along the track. Water damage is hard on wooden ties, so the corridor specified a new, water resistant product for reconstruction: ties made from the kinds of plastics that are hard to recycle. 

"The entire rail yard and station are going to be completed solely with ECOTRAX ties, including all turnouts and mainline ties, a first for our company," according to AXION's Cory Burdick, Director for ECOTRAX® rail products division. "In the past, our ties were used as spot replacements for existing timber ties. With years of testing and in-track performance success, ECOTRAX rail products have inspired confidence in major railroads, which are specifying our ties for whole projects. This particular station and yard receive a high volume of rail car traffic, are in a flood zone, and sustained major damage during Hurricane Sandy. The transit chose ECOTRAX ties because they are inert, will never rot, and are impervious to the degrading effects of salt. Moisture and salt cause significant problems for transit lines in coastal flood zones."

While it is unlikely that ECOTRAX will be repaving 200,000 miles of track in North America, the ties are useful in areas where wood can rot or concrete crumble due to weather.  Being virtually impervious to the elements, they don't rust, splinter, crumble, erode, rot, absorb moisture or leach toxic chemicals into the environment. They are also impervious to infestation by insects, which makes them useful in swampy and marshy areas, particularly in the Southeast. Because  ECOTRAX ties feature longer life cycles, the company can show that they are also a highly cost-effective.

Adoption to Penetration

In November 2014, the CEO Claude Brown noted in his letter to shareholders that AXION has "gone from market adoption to market penetration," a trend that the Company forecasts is going to lead to continued success in the transportation, construction, and energy industries. Leading the success, the Company's ECOTRAX rail products division has shown steady growth for the past three years directly related to the increase in diversity of applications and installations.