Applications for Rail
Rails experience a wide range of service environments, for example in the frequency or weight of the traffic passing over them. The increase in passenger traffic since about 2000 has not been matched by an increase in the length of the track network so the traffic density has steadily increased. Wear is also greater on high speed curves compared to straight sections. Rails may also be subject to corrosion, for example close to the sea or in tunnels. A range of steel products is required for these different service environments.
Evolution of the rail network
Rails are produced with many different profiles depending on the application.
Rail Profiles produced by British Steel
1 – T52 conductor rail – almost pure iron for good electrical conductivity
2 – 75kg conductor rail – almost pure iron for good electrical conductivity
3 – 68G1 Grooved rail for tramway use
4 – 46G1 Grooved rail for tramway use
5 – 33C1 Check rail – to provide lateral restraint on sharp curves and through switches and crossings
6 – 95lb bullhead rail – A historic rail section but still in common use in the UK
7 – 60E1A1 A low profile asymmetric rail for construction of switch blades to steer vehicles from one route to another
8 – 36E2 A small vignole/flat bottomed rail
9 – 141RE A large rail typically used for heavy freight
10 – 60E1T2 – A thick web rail used in the construction of switches and crossings (to divert trains from one route to another).