Easy enough to shift out worn-down rail?

How can we renew worn-out rail withouth changing the entire rail? By milling down the worn rail and snapping on a rail cap. In2Track3 is now testing ReRail in operative track, and results are promising!

Photo credits: Luleå University of Technology

A new rail system perform a test in real operational environmental in cooperation with In2Track3. The new rail, named ReRail, is approved for test operation by the Swedish Transport Agency. The test started at the end of 2020 at Luleå in track 21 in a curve with a radius of 600 m. ReRail has been installed on both rails. Both ReRail have the worn Iron ore profile (MB1 profile). Connecting standard rail are R350LHT with 60E1 profile on the low rail and MB1 profile on the high rail. The track is operated by iron ore traffic with an axle load of 31 tonnes. The site has been exposed by 20 million gross tonnes.

So far, ReRail has not shown any noticeable wear or crack growth, which has been observed on connecting standard rails.

The idea with ReRail is to replace 10 mm of the rail head with a high-tensile steel rail-cap, by milling the head on the worn-out or new rail and assemble a new rail-cap of high-tensile steel on the old re-milled rail. The rail-cap is “snapped” on and is provided with a tight joint between the two components, see picture. The solution will give opportunity to create more life length and renew worn-out rails on the spot. The rail-cap surface has considerable improved characteristics regarding wear and resistant toward fatigue cracks, than the standard rail. Tests show that the expected life length ought to be doubling.

By using the ReRail system a large amount of rail can be saved. To replace all worn out rail in Europe today gives a carbon dioxide discharge of 4 million tons/year. Recycling the rail with ReRail reduces the discharge to 0.6 million tons/year (-85%). Considering the useful life of ReRail, the discharge is reduced to 0.3 million tons/year (-92%). This means that corresponding amount carbon dioxide can be saved. For the global world market it means a saving of 4 million tons carbon dioxide every year. Even the steel is a finite resource that should be handled with care. Few believe that we can economize the steel the same way in the future.

Leave a Reply