Alabama Company Sued Over Faulty Railroad Ties

Oct 31, 2017

One of the country’s largest railroad companies is suing an Alabama business over millions of defective railroad ties.

Norfolk Southern says it will have to replace more than 4.7 million railroad ties because they weren’t properly manufactured with protective coating and are degrading much faster than expected.

Boatright Railroad Products near Montevallo, Alabama manufactured the ties. The lawsuit alleges that instead of using proper preservation materials, Boatright executives told workers to “make them black” so the ties only appeared to be properly treated. Norfolk Southern alleges they did so by using paint, motor oil, antifreeze and other chemicals that did nothing to preserve the wood.

The lawsuit claims the improperly treated ties “jeopardize the safety and integrity of Norfolk Southern's rail network and the interstate rail network as a whole”. Boatright reportedly provided Norfolk Southern with nearly 5 million railroad ties from 2009 to 2014, and virtually all of them were installed in the railroad's network.