Sleeper Plugging

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

When the FR reopened, replacement second-hand wooden sleepers were purchased from British Railways and cut in half to make two FR sleepers. The dismantled Great Central mainline was one prolific source of sleepers for the FR. The bolt holes for securing the standard gauge chairs or base-plates came near the centre of the narrow gauge sleeper. These holes were plugged with wood before the sleepers were used. Plugging sleepers was a common task given to young volunteers in the 1960s. The plugs were generally made by splitting old wooden track keys. A hand axe was used to split the keys and the back of the axe was then used to drive the wooden plugs into the holes in the sleepers.

With the arrival of the first lorry load of new jarrah sleepers on 12th January 1970, the sleeper plugging craft became extinct.[1] Second-hand sleepers were laid upside down so that the standard gauge chair marks were buried out of sight.


  1. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 48, page(s): 4