There are many different places where you can find reclaimed hardwood. Floors in old homes, barn siding, and cabin roofs are are all great sources for reclaimed hardwood. However, when it comes to finding hardwoods, old rail stations are arguably the best source. Before railroad stations became larger and more sophisticated, many rail station sand train depots were wooden structures build far between cities. The train depots were where the trains would sit overnight before heading out during the day. The abandoned train depots and rail stops are great sources because they feature incredible amounts of hardwood that has weathered over the years.
Currently, railroad ties are made of hardwoods. Railroad ties are historically made from whichever wood can be sourced locally. So, most of them were made from hardwoods available in the surrounding area. If you find an old train depot or rail station, you’ll likely find a surplus of railroad ties, if they haven’t already been sold. Oftentimes, tools needed for repairs were kept at the train depots. Each railroad tie is about nine feet long and weighs between 150 and 200 pounds.
One or two railroad ties can provide enough wood to cover an entire room in hardwood flooring.
Depending on the type of depot or station you visit, there will likely be a roof over anywhere that people normally sit. That means there are vertical posts to hold the roof and the roof itself. Roofing beams and support beams make great sources for reclaimed hardwood. The wood used has been weathered over decades and has likely developed a patina that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
There are a couple of different ways you can find railroad wood. The easiest and most reliable way is to look for a flooring company that specializes in reclaimed hardwood. They likely will tell you tehd source of the wood that you’re buying. They have connections at different suppliers who will have multiple kinds of reclaimed wood.
Alternately, you can look for wood from the train depots or train stations themselves. Depending on your city or state, there might be a map of different train companies. In many states, the original owners of the depots have gone out of business long ago and the rights to the land have reverted to the municipal government. You can often source it directly from the municipality if you make a few phone calls.