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Cake dude

Hi everyone

I have bought some old railway sleepers (very heavy) and I want to make a box out of them. I have bought the long screws to fix them together but I also want to fix the first one to the ground. I thought the best way to do this is concrete it in considering I am doing a patio now as well.

my question is this.

1. Can I simply pour concrete onto the compacted mud or do I have to have a sub base?

the reason I ask is that I am all out of hardcore and don't really want to buy some more unless I really need to


thanks again for your help

It really depends on what your ground is like. Sleepers are so heavy they don't generally move. I'd lay they them on a bed of sharp sand and cement 3 to 1, say 2 inches deep. Just make sure the base is level before you lay the sleepers on top.


You can also use long steel rods vertically through them from the top into the ground underneath but that might be more complicated than Dave's advice. I'd agree that sleepers are normally pretty solid without any fixing, so unless the ground's unstable in some way or  you're making it very high, you wouldn't need to do too much to secure them.

It depends how deep you are planning on pouring the concrete. If your pouring onto compacted mud it's likely to move during wet or dry periods as the mud expands and contracts.

It's always best to dig down onto firm ground and maybe you could just use compacted mot type 1 under the sleeper.

When mine were installed they drilled through the sleepers and hammered reinforcing rods about 18" into the ground.  3 rods for 10' sleepers and 2 for 6'.  Those sleepers aren't going anywhere in a hurry.



I've used sleepers 2 high as retaining "walls". I put a 2" ( 5cm) square post behind, drill through that and then use long screws into the back of the sleeper. Once the soil was in place  you couldn't see the posts behind.

I have a long row of double height sleepers as a retaining wall for a large bank of soil. The builders did as KT53 describes and drilled through the sleepers and hammered the reinforcing rods into the ground. Solid as a rock.
Cake dude

Hi Guys


sorry for the late response thanks for your ideas, I will think about it.

I am going 4 sleepers high and the ground is very compact. I might try the 3 to 1 mixture and see if that beds in ok. I have long screws to go directly downwards into the sleepers.

If your going 4 sleepers high you will need stainless steel threaded bar through the bottom three sleepers into the concrete then screw the top sleepers down to stop them moving

4 sleepers high, assuming they are fixed on edge, will make a very high wall.  Mine are 3 high with a section of decking board on the top which make a nice height for a seat.

Cake dude

They will be flat because I want to make a seat out of them

Cake dude

In fact guys do I need to fix them with a long steal rod if

A. they are laid width ways not height

B. I have 250mm timber fixings

C The first one is cemented in



I've used 3" (75mm) posts concreted in to attach fencing timber to for my raised beds so I'd think that's a good option. You'll need something fairly long and sturdy in the way of bolts to fix from the back of the posts through to the sleepers, but I reckon that would be ok. Laid that way they'd be quite stable anyway. Put the posts in to a good depth as well and don't skimp on the quantity. I presume you meant 25mm timber fixings, not 250mm, but I'd go with  75mm and get them down to at least a 300mm/450mm depth. You can countersink the bolt heads on the inside of the posts so that you don't catch your hands on them when you're planting or generally working in the bed.

Others may think differently but I'd be fairly confident with that, cd 

Cake dude

They are 250mm (25cm) long screws. I think I will drive a really long spike through them on either side as well.

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