Axe ties are railway ties that are hewn by hand, usually with a broadaxe. There are 2,900 ties per mile of track on a first class railroad.[clarification needed] The early railways would not accept ties cut with a saw, as it was claimed that the kerf of the saw splintered the fibres of the wood, leaving them more likely to soak up moisture causing premature rot.
Cedar was the most sought after wood for ties, however, as electric power came into more common use in the early 1900s, it was substituted with other species such as Tamarack. In northern regions where Jack Pine was plentiful, that species became a more common source for railway ties. Jack Pine ties did not last as long as Cedar or Tamarack (lying on the ground), but were cheaper to produce. As creosote treatment came into use the axe ties were phased out, but Jack Pine remained best suited for softwood ties.
Production in Canada