British Steel Secures Major Contract with Deutsche Bahn for New 120 Metre Rail

British Steel has secured a major German rail contract after enhancing its manufacturing capabilities with a seven-figure investment.

The deal will see the company deliver around 20,000 tonnes of 120 metre rail a year to Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s largest purchaser of rail.

It comes after the company spent £1 million enhancing its Scunthorpe Rail and Section Mill so it could manufacture this longer-length rail.

As well as the Deutsche Bahn agreement, the new 120 metre rail capability allows improved competiveness for British Steel in the wider European market.

British Steel Secures Major Contract with Deutsche Bahn

Peter Smith, British Steel Managing Director Rail, said:

“Supplying a new product to a major railway company like Deutsche Bahn is a significant achievement and demonstrates our commitment to product and service innovation.

“It also shows how increasing our product range can help us enter new markets, and how we can work in partnership with customers to become the strategic supply chain partner of choice.

“While we’ve worked with Deutsche Bahn in the past, this is the first contract we’ve been awarded by them as British Steel and we hope this is the start of a long-term relationship between our businesses.”

Before the investment, the longest rail British Steel could produce was 108 metres – a standard length in the domestic market. However, many European rail networks are based on lengths of 60 and 120 metres.

While some European customers accept 60m lengths, that can be welded into 120m, most would prefer to minimise the number of welds and so they favour 120m rolled length.

Peter said:

“Our technical teams continue to deliver longer in-service product life along with reduced maintenance and renewal costs, bringing significant benefits to our customers.

“Deutsche Bahn is by far the biggest purchaser of rail in Europe. Having a stake in the German market is strategically important to us and we hope to build a strong and lasting relationship with them.

“The investment allows us to remain at the forefront of rail production and act as a catalyst for further long-length rail exports into Europe.”

British Steel supplies rail across the globe from its rolling mills in Scunthorpe and Hayange. It’s also established a successful rail logistics hub in Lecco, northern Italy.

The initial contract is for 21 months  and will see the new 120 metre length rails delivered to Germany through the Channel Tunnel. The requirement for shorter lengths such as 60 metres will be satisfied using the flexibility of both mills.

The first 120 metre shipment is due in March and Peter said:

“Our engineering and development teams have performed an excellent job in expanding our manufacturing capabilities, ensuring our rail products and grades can continue being precisely matched to track conditions, track types, environmental conditions and a host of other variables.

“This ensures every rail we deliver provides optimum performance throughout its life, guaranteeing our customers – and their customers – a first class service.”

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Steel Rail Products for Global Railway Applications

British Steel is a modern company with 150 years of rail heritage. Our steel rail products are designed to meet the 24/7 needs of the railway industry, whether it be mainline, heavy haul, tramway or metro, all supported by the expert knowledge of our technical services team. We offer over 100 different rail profiles ranging from flat bottom and grooved to asymmetric and conductor, to suit a whole variety of applications. We produce a number of premium grades, each designed with your track conditions in mind, to give you more rail life with fewer maintenance requirements. [gallery ids="24992,24995,24996"]

Flat-Bottomed Vignole Rails

Our flat-bottomed vignole range has about 60 different profiles which are suited to mainline, metro, heavy haul and some urban applications. It is available in both high quality standard grades e.g. R260 and also in a range of premium grades to help you address key industry issues:

Heat-Treated Rail

Stress-Free heat-treated rail is suited for use on heavy haul routes and in locations with high volumes of traffic. It not only has excellent resistance to wear, but because it doesn’t require straightening after hardening, it also has uniquely low residual stresses (≤50MPa) in the rail foot, meaning less chance of foot failure – a leading cause of failure in national rail networks.

Maximum Head Hardness Rails

MHH, our micro head-hardened rails, are the most wear-resistant of our Stress-Free range, double that of R350HT, meaning they’re perfect for use in tightly curved track and heavy haul.

Non-Heat-Treated Rails

Our non-heat-treated High Performance rail HP335 (HPrail®) offers superior protection against wear and rolling contact fatigue. Developed with Network Rail, this has become the premium rail of choice in the UK. Independent research has stated that converting your track from R260 to HP335 could result in savings of more than 60% over the life of the rail.

Bainitic Rail for Exceptional Resistance to Rolling Contact Fatigue

Changing track towards switch blades and movable points, our Bainitic Low Fatigue grades provide exceptional resistance to rolling contact fatigue. Over a decade of use in high speed track across France, Switzerland and the Channel Tunnel has proven its performance and the grade is now mandated for high-speed movable points in France.

Grooved Rail

Going intercity and changing to urban lines, we have around 20 different grooved rail profiles on offer for tramways across the world, both in standard and premium grades. Our Multi-Life grooved rail range is designed for tight curves and helps extend urban track life through its high resistance to wear and through its ability to be weld-restored in-track. This brings huge advantages to tramway passengers and road users alike, avoiding disruptive city centre rail replacements.

Rail Profiles for Metro Applications

We also produce a variety of special rail profiles for metro applications – check rails, piste rails and electrical conductor rails all form part of this portfolio, in addition to specific rail profiles, made to customer order.


Environmental conditions often provide a range of challenges to the industry and we’ve got a variety of solutions to help you conquer these:

SilentTrack® Noise-Reduction Rail System

Noise nuisance in urban areas has resulted in noise legislation being introduced. Our noise-reduction rail system SilentTrack® was created as a response to this and has been helping urban networks achieve train pass-by noise reduction of up to 3-6dB(A) for over a decade. It’s retro-fittable and visually unobtrusive too, so is a great, cost-effective alternative to acoustic barriers.

Rail Corrosion Protection

Rail corrosion occurs in locations where water and salt collide such as level crossings, tunnels and coastal regions, and is a scourge to rail operators due to its ability to eat away the foot of the rail without being detected. Zinoco® is the most durable solution available for rail corrosion protection due to its dual lines of defence: excellent resistance to impact and abrasions, and sacrificial protection, which means it still works even if the coating is damaged. Rail corrosion affects the head too – track circuit signalling needs reliable electrical contact between the wheel and rail. In low traffic areas rail head corrosion can interfere with this interface – Sogenox® solves this by providing a stainless steel crown on the rail to deliver assured electrical contact without compromise." ["post_title"]=> string(13) "British Steel" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(13) "british-steel" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-10-25 15:21:49" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-10-25 14:21:49" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(60) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(15) ["post_type"]=> string(9) "suppliers" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }