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Rail Profile

The weight of a rail per length is an important factor in determining rails strength and hence axleloads and speeds.

Weights are measured in pounds per yard or kilograms per metre; the pounds-per-yard figure is almost exactly double the kilograms-per-metre figure. Rails are made in a large number of different sizes. Some common European rail sizes include:

• 40 kg/m (81 lb/yd)
• 50 kg/m (101 lb/yd)
• 54 kg/m (109 lb/yd)
• 56 kg/m (113 lb/yd)
• 60 kg/m (121 lb/yd)

1- Flat Bottom – Vignole railway

Flat bottomed rail is the dominant rail profile in worldwide use. Vignoles rail is the popular name of the flat-bottomed rail, recognising engineer Charles Vignoles who introduced it to Britain.


Vignole railway rails of 43 kg/m and greater linear mass, for general and high-speed railway track usage. Nineteen pearlitic steel grades are specified covering hardness range of 200 to 410 HBW and include non heat treated carbon manganese steels; non heat treated alloy steels; and heat treated carbon manganese and low alloy steels.


The cut length and shorten length of rails are agreed by purchaser and manufacture. Rails are delivered in theoretical weight. The density of 7.85g/cm3 is applied to calculate the rail theoretical weight.

Manufacture methods

– Blooms made from basic oxygen steel or electric arc furnace steel that has been secondary ladle arc refined, vacuum degassed and continuously cast, shall be used for the manufacture of rails.

– Continuous casting blooms shall be used for the manufacture of rails.

– The manufacturer shall operate a procedure for the effective removal of scale during the rolling process.

– The cross-sectional area of the rail shall not exceed one ninth that of the bloom from which the rail is rolled.

– Rail straightening shall be by a two stage roller straightening process which straightens the rail about its XX and YY axes as defined in the rail profiles shown. End deviations or a localized deviation on the rail may be corrected using pressing.

Test methods

  Test items Testing frequency
1- Chemical composition One per heat
2- Hydrogen One per heat (two from first heat in sequence)
3- Total oxygen One per sequence (a,b)
4- Tensile strength and elongation One per heat (a,b,c)
5- Hardness One per heat (a,b,c)
6- Microstructure One per 1000 tonnes or part thereof (a,b,c)
7- Decarburization One per 1000 tonnes or part thereof (a,b)
8- Nonmetallic inclusions One per sequence (a,b
9- Macrostructure One per heat (a,b)
10- Dimension Whole length.
11- straightness Whole length
12- Surface quality Whole length
13- Ultrasonic test Whole length
  • Samples shall be taken at random but only rails from blooms outside the mixing zone between heats when continuously cast in sequence.
  • Samples shall be cut after rolling.
  • Samples shall be cut after heat-treating for heat treated rails.

2- Grooved rail

Where a rail is laid in a Road surface (pavement) or within grassed surfaces, there has to be accommodation for the flange. This is provided by a slot called the flangeway.


The rail is then known as grooved rail, groove rail, or girder rail. The flangeway has the railhead on one side and the guard on the other. The guard carries no weight, but may act as a checkrail.



Sources: wikipedia.com; spurkranzschmieranlage.de; EN 13674-1 – Railway applications – Track – Rail – Part 1: Vignole railway rails 46 kg/m and above