In 2010, Steel Dynamics entered the market for standard-strength railway rail after certification of our rail by America’s Class I railroads. Uniquely in North America, SDI produces rail in lengths of 320 feet, which can be shipped in this long length, cut to shorter lengths (commonly in lengths of 39, 40 or 80 feet), or welded together to create longer rail strings. This rail is used in railway track by Class 1 railroads, short line railroads, commuter lines, and industrial plants.
The AREMA standard rail sections are available in 115RE, 136RE, and 141RE weights. The sections are available up to 320-feet in length.
In 2012, SDI announced its entry into the premium rail market. Building construction for the new, internally developed head-hardened technology capability – air quenching was completed in 2013. Commissioning of the new capability was completed in early 2014 with quality certification by the majority of North American Class 1 railroads completed by the end of 2014.
The addition of premium rail was accomplished through a modern universal mill capable of rolling 320-foot-long rails, which can be welded together to make 1,600-foot-long rails that have fewer welds than the industry standard. Our premium long rail has five welds as compared to 19 welds commonly provided by SDI’s competitors’ rail. Fewer welds provide critical advantages to our rail customers: first, longer rail takes less time to install making installation less expensive and more efficient. Second, fewer weld points mean less maintenance costs as the weld point typically consumes the majority of track maintenance time and attention. Third, and most importantly, fewer welds can enhance rail track safety because train derailments often occur at weld points.
With the expansion, SDI is now the preeminent provider of quality rail for all cut or welded, premium or standard rail products in the United States.
Steel Dynamics produces continuously welded rail (CWR) strings up to 1650 feet long. Our state-of-the-art rail-welding facility located near our steel mill at Columbia City, Indiana, is designed to handle our mill’s long-length rails, minimizing the number of welds in each rail string.
To learn more, visit the Structural and Rail Division the website here.