How healthy is the North American tie market these days? Despite a slight decline in tie purchases, a production drop-off and a few other potential near-term concerns, North American tie producers feel pretty good about the market's near-term prospects — at least they felt that way as of mid-summer, as freelancer Wally Weart reported in an article that appears in our September issue. Weart connected with a cross-section of suppliers of wood, concrete, plastic and composite ties; he also checked in with the Railway Tie Association (RTA). For the most part, tie demand is stable, they told him. For details and context, here's his report. Meanwhile, the RTA issued a tie purchase and production update a couple of weeks after Weart's story was completed. Here's a summation of that RTA tie market update.