Multi-million-pound investment at British Steel in Scunthorpe to step up production of revolutionary rails
Ultra-long versions of British Steel’s Zinoco rail have been given full product approval by Network Rail (Image: British Steel)
By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 24 Apr 2018
A multi-million-pound investment is being made at British Steel's Scunthorpe works to allow the company to step up production of a revolutionary rail product.
The manufacturer is investing a seven-figure sum in new plant which will allow it to produce its premium coated Zinoco rails in lengths of up to 108 metres and welded lengths of up to 216 metres.
It follows full approval being given by Network Rail for the ultra-long versions of the Zinoco product, the name of which derives from the words "zinc for no corrosion".
Zinoco is a world-first which can withstand the rigours of being laid in some of the most challenging rail environments, reducing the need for rail replacement programmes in highly corrosive areas such as coastal lines, wet tunnels, level crossings, mineral lines and salt pans.
British Steel designed the product in conjunction with Network Rail and initially delivered it in lengths of 18 metres, before conducting a series of trials with longer lengths.
The reduced number of welds required by longer lengths of rail mean the installation process can be sped up and also gives the rails greater integrity.
Over the last 18 months longer length rails have been installed in tunnels near Bristol and Fife, culminating in Network Rail granting full product approval.
Peter Smith, British Steel's managing director for rail, said: "Zinoco offers superior corrosion protection compared to all current rail coating technologies on the market so we’re delighted Network Rail has given it full product approval up to lengths of 216 metres.
"We’re the only supplier in the world able to deliver corrosion-protected rail at this long length so this is a great success story, not only for us but for British manufacturing."
Work is already under way on building the new plant to start production of the ultra-long Zinoco rails in Scunthorpe and British Steel is anticipating it will be commissioned this autumn.
Mr Smith said: "This investment underlines our commitment to innovation and the highest levels of product quality and service delivery.
"Network Rail, like other operators, was having to replace rail prematurely due to rapid corrosion in isolated segments of a network.
"We’ve worked closely with them to deliver Zinoco, a world first and a classic example of British Steel partnering with customers to provide a cost-effective solution to the challenges they face."
A Network Rail statement said: "This development will facilitate wider usage of coated rails supporting Network Rail in reducing re-railing activity in a number of key challenging locations in the future. This should ultimately support our aims of reducing the whole life cost of rail in these locations."
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