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admin 24.01.2014

Piece of wood or concrete that is set in ballast and supports the rails to distribute the train’s load and keep the rails parallel. When Structural engineers design steel framed buildings, consideration is given to how to protect the steel frame against corrosion. So this leads us to the question, why are railway lines, which are also made of steel, left exposed to the elements without any protection at all? It’s a good question and there are a number of reasons.
So to summarise, rails are replaced as a result of wear from use, before they need to be replaced due to metal corrosion. Grace Nichols: These multimillion dollar projects endanger the clean water of our state which beyond price. Various measures can be employed, but the typical solution is to coat the steel frame with anti-corrosion paint, and a primer, while steel exposed to moisture or within the wall cavity will be specified as stainless steel. Compared with the steel used for buildings, the steel in a rail is composed of a higher quality steel alloy, which is less susceptible to corrosion.
The top and upper side face of a rail doesn’t usually corrode because friction and wear keep it polished and free of rust. Anti-corrosion coatings are not applied to steel rail lines as the coating would hide any developing fractures or defects.
Corrosion isn’t an issue because it has less of an impact on the relatively massive rail section, when compared to say the thin sheets of steel used in the body of a car.


It’s just that the rate of corrosion is relatively much slower than the wear and tear. This type of steel is much more expensive and slightly weaker but it is corrosion resistant.
This is necessary as the rail will be subjected to much higher dynamic stresses than the steel in a building frame.
The rail company also grind the track to remove surface imperfections caused by the trains braking, if these imperfections were allowed to worsen and deepen, the high impact force of the train hitting them at high speed could cause the rail to fracture.
Cracking of tracks from metal fatigue is taken very seriously and regular inspections are carried out to check for defects.
It is also slowed by the quality of the steel used in the rail and by the protective layer of rust that develops initially.
Sometimes coatings are applied but only in very rare cases where the track will be used in very severe conditions, for instance as in India where a freight line for carrying salt ore needed to be protected from the corrosive salt falling on to the line. Rails used on a curved section of track are subjected to much higher wear than rails on straight sections. When the rust forms on the face of the rail it acts as a barrier which then slows the rate of corrosion. In general rails on heavily used section of track could be replaced every 15 to 20 years, with wear being the reason for replacement rather than corrosion.


A typical steel beam used in a building might be only 6mm at its narrowest point, while a steel rail will be about 15mm wide at its narrowest point. The rails are usually taken up and reused in shunting yards or lightly trafficked sections of track where they would be subjected to less stress. It will therefore take 20 years for 1mm of steel to be compromised by rust from each face, or 2mm if both sides are exposed. If the unprotected steel section is 6mm wide one third of the section will be compromised in the 20 years, but a steel rail would only have approx 15% of its section compromised. In practice it will be less than this as the steel in the rail is more corrosion resistant. Therefore for a rail section the loss of strength from corrosion is probably negligible as compared with the loss from friction and wear from the train wheels.



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