Do you have old railroad ties around your house? Maybe they are being used for landscaping? Maybe they are on the border of a garden or doing something greater like holding back dirt in a retaining wall.

The railroad ties listed above may or may not be coated with creosote, it just depends on where you got them and how old they are.

What is creosote? Why is it so smelly?

Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash
Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash

If you have ever smelt creosote, then it is not something that you quickly forget. It is a strong smell that gets stuck in your nasal passages. Bold, burntish and super hard to explain. According to the dictionary, creosote is a brownish oily liquid consisting chiefly of aromatic hydrocarbons obtained by distillation of coal tar and used especially as a wood preservative. That is why New York State doesn't like railroad ties of a certain age, because they were famously coated in that stinky stuff. 

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So, what is the problem with the railroad ties and New York State?

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In 2008, New York (according to the Department of Environmental Conservation) said no more to this 'alleged protective coating' on railroad ties. So, any railroad ties, used for the actual railroad or for landscaping purposes or for any other purpose for that matter could no longer have that coating on them. Creosote can no longer be used in any form in New York State.

In fact, if you want to dispose of any products that contain this creosote, you have to do it at a NYS DEC approved landfill, you just can throw these things out with the trash. If you do, you're looking at some serous fines.

Here is a look into abandoned train cars that are located across New York State.

Take a look around these trains, found in the woods, that time seems to have forgotten.

Breath taking. Take a glimpse into this transformed historic train stations.

A century ago it seemed that every small town and village had a railroad coming through it and a train depot to welcome it. Today there are far fewer train depots still standing from the glory years of American railroad history. But there are some, and they have been transformed into everything from restaurants to museums. Here are 12 of the best.

Get on the train! Join us for a scenic train ride through the Adirondacks.

All aboard! Take a beautiful scenic trip on the Saratoga Corinth & Hudson Railway. This train line was originally built in 1864 by the Adirondack Company. The line was refurbished and begins at the Corinth Station and runs through the Southern Adirondacks region. The standard coach is a historic locomotive that was first built in 1943. Passengers can ride in first class, standard coach, or the open-air seating car that features picnic tables. This train runs on Saturdays and Sundays. Each scenic ride is ninety minutes. There are themed rides too including fall train tours.