Thousands of jarrah trees will be saved in the next two decades after the city's rail service provider decided to replace its wooden sleepers with ones made of synthetic material. More than 10,000 jarrah sleepers, some measuring up to 7 metres by 30cm, are used to hold rail tracks at turning points over the entire MTR network. They will be replaced over the next 20 years with sleepers made of a more durable, reusable synthetic material. The MTR Corporation's infrastructure implementation manager, Terry Wong Wing-kin, said the move would reduce consumption of natural resources. 'The synthetic material has a lifespan of 50 years. That is more than double that of jarrah wood, which has to be replaced in about 20 years.' The jarrah is a species of eucalyptus known for its density, resistance to insect attack and beautiful, rich, red colour. Heavy felling over the past decades has resulted in a tighter supply and pushed up prices. 'Each jarrah tree can only produce a few boards on average,' Mr Wong said. 'Although the cost of synthetic material is about three to four times [that of the wood], in the long run we can save about 10 per cent.' The corporation has tested the synthetic sleepers on the Disneyland extension since 2007. The new sleepers are being installed on the Tung Chung line and will next be introduced on the East Rail line. The discarded wooden sleepers will be donated to such places as shooting ranges and schools to be reused. 'The durable wood still makes very good shooting targets even after being used for 20 years. They are also excellent decorations for gardens and ponds.' Anyone interested in using the old sleepers can call 2881 8888.