04 August 2023
Corporate News

Grinding out savings in rail engineering

Harsco Rail's £1million RRV Rail grinder

A £1million high-tech grinder is being used to re-profile some of the 25km of rail track on Tata Steel’s Port Talbot site, avoiding the need for costly rail replacement. 

Area Engineering Manager, Richard Davies, explained: “The rail network on a steelworks site is carrying some extremely heavy loads, whether that is torpedoes full of liquid iron or carriages full of rolled steel coils. Over time, that leads to some wear, changing the profile (shape) of the rail. This in turn alters the wheel / rail interaction and can lead to unwanted defects and an increased risk of fractures. 
“Historically, we’d have simply replaced those sections of rail, but at around £1500 for a 20m single rail, you can imagine that gets quite expensive, quite quickly.
“So we’ve been working with our contractor partners, Harsco Rail—who already do similar work externally with Network Rail—to assess the feasibility of re-grinding the steelworks rail track.”

Watch the video of the steelworks rails being reprofiled here:

 New tech keeps rails in check - YouTube

The scheme uses a high-tech, computer-controlled rail grinding system that measures the existing profile and sets a new profile to be ground.

Magan Jimale, Regional Manager Harsco Rail said: “Rail grinding remains a pivotal element for the maintenance and upkeep of rail infrastructure. We’ve been able to utilise our RRV rail grinder at Tata Steel to re-profile the rail and conduct maintenance grinding. Our teams have also delivered comparisons of pre and post rail grinding data to illustrate how much can be accomplished by using a system like ours. We see a tremendous amount of potential with establishing a regular framework of grinding each year to maintain the high standards expected at Tata Steel.”

Richard added: “We’re in the process of testing the system on 1000m of rail on the south end of the site where our products leave for our customers, and the initial results look fantastic.
Not only will this save costs and reduce the wear on our rolling stock, it is also better environmentally as we’ll be re-using rail rather than making it new from virgin material.”


 Follow us on social media

A blue and white rectangular sign with a qr code

Description automatically generated