The Application of Bamboo in the Railway Industry: A Sustainable Solution for Track Construction

Xinrui He, Wenli Jia*, Yuxiang Dong, Mohammad Siahkouhi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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The railway industry has shown a strong interest in utilizing sustainable materials, including recycled materials and composites, in construction. Bamboo, as a highly renewable natural resource, has been proposed as a construction material for the railway industry. This material offers several advantages, such as high strength and durability, sustainability, low embodied energy, and ease of handling. It has been used in various construction materials like plywood, scrimber, laminates, and fibers. This paper aims to review the application of bamboo as a material in the railway industry and provide suggestions for its future use as railway sleepers. The mechanical properties of bamboo and its desirable features for sleeper construction, such as versatility, durability, low embodied energy and carbon footprint, lightweight, and ease of handling, are discussed. Bamboo-based products like plywood and scrimber can offer higher mechanical properties compared to traditional timber sleepers. Moreover, due to its rapid growth rate, bamboo is considered an environmentally friendly material. However, there are certain factors that limit the widespread deployment of bamboo in the railway industry. For instance, the lightweight nature of bamboo can reduce the lateral resistance of sleepers. Additionally, long-term performance studies and its performance in regions with varying weather conditions need to be further investigated. This review paper aims to promote the increased utilization of bamboo in the railway industry, contributing to the development of sustainable railway tracks. By considering the mechanical properties and advantageous characteristics of bamboo, it is possible to explore its potential as a viable and eco-friendly material for railway sleepers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number174
Number of pages18
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • bamboo
  • railway
  • bamboo railway sleepers
  • sustainable construction material
  • low embodied energy


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