Free Railroad Ties? Where? How?

Free Railway Ties? Is there such a thing?

Perhaps you have just purchased your dream property and you want to upgrade your backyard.

You might need some fencing material or some sort of earth retention material. You just passed by a railroad, with a bunch of old railroad ties all looking like they’re abandoned.

What do you do next? You ask yourself, are these railroad ties free? Can I have them?

The short answer is: Definitely Not. Many people each year get charged for taking railway ties without permission. See HERE, this guy gets busted with them in the back of his truck.

So how do I get free railroad ties?

Free Railway Ties, Myth or Fact

Railroad companies own, operate and maintain the rails. Railway ties are a part of this. Often when railway ties are replaced they are left next to the track. They are not free and are still legally owned by the railway companies.

Free Railroad Ties
A dream! Beautifully aged railway ties. Sadly, not for free.

People seem to think that railway ties that are not under the rails are free for the picking. I wish they were! So why are they removed and how do you get free railway ties?

Railway Ties Removal

Having railway ties in good working condition is essential to the safety of the train and passengers.

Railway maintenance crews are always on the look out for older railway ties and replace them when needed.

Hundreds of railroad ties are replaced daily throughout the country, especially in states with large railroad infrastructures like Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Kansas, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa and many more.

The image I have described above happens very often throughout the country. Many people ask both online and offline if they can just take those railroad ties like they’re free.

First of all, individuals that are stepping, playing or walking on or around the rail tracks are committing a crime, called trespassing.

Now, taking something that doesn’t belong to you, from a private property, is considered theft and it can get you in a lot of trouble.

So How Can I Get Free Railroad Ties?

There are a few places from where you can get free railroad ties. One of them is from the place you have just thought of, beside the railroad tracks.

But you should proceed differently, now keep in mind this is not a legal advice, it’s just an opinion.

You can ask the railroad that owns those used railroad ties if they would like to get rid of them. They might offer to give or sell them to you, if you remove them by a certain date.

This does happen and has happened many times before!

free railway tiles

Where Else Can I Get Free Railroad Ties From?

The best way is to monitor online marketplaces.

Check your local Craigslist, and other marketplaces like Facebook, OfferUp. Many of these platforms have the “Near Me” functions, showing results within your area.

While the chances of finding railroad ties for free are slim, you might be able to get a good deal. People over order, others don’t get around to using them and just want them removed.

I got lucky and found some for our garden from a man on Facebook Marketplace. He ordered them and never ever used them, he just wanted them off his property.

How Much Does A Used Railroad Tie Cost

The prices for one used railroad tie ranges between and , depending from where you get them and how many units you will be purchasing.

You can expect to pay $5-10 if you buy them from the owner in small quantities and around $15 if you purchase them from a store.


It is definitely possible to get railroad ties for free. These days local market places are the best way to find them.

Mind you, many other people are looking for the same beautiful railroad ties, so you must be quick.

If you can’t find ties for free or you need a couple more to finish off a job, please have a look at railroad ties for sale and shop around.

Happy Gardening.