British steel keeps Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan on track28 January 2016
As passenger numbers grow and the number of trains running on Britain’s
railway continues to increase each year, so too does the need for Network Rail
to replace worn out track – and it’s British steel which does the job.
A five-year contract with Scunthorpe-based Tata Steel UK ensures that
96 per cent – or 120,000 tonnes – of the steel rail procured by Network Rail is
made in Britain.
Smaller contracts are in place with European steel
manufacturers Arcelor Mittal, in Spain, and Austria’s Voestalpine, for around
2,500 tonnes of steel per year each – supplying short rail for switches and
crossings among other uses.
British steel is absolutely central to our Railway Upgrade
It’s crucial that we have a trusted and secure supply chain
to help us deliver our investment programme safely and efficiently, and Tata
Steel is one of the most important links in that chain.
We look forward to continuing to work with them to build a
bigger, better railway for Britain.
Nick Elliott, managing director of the National Supply Chain at Network Rail
Since 2005, Tata Steel UK has supplied the majority of
Network Rail’s new rail from its Scunthorpe plant, where it also carries out 50
per cent of Network Rail’s welding requirements, turning the 108m long rail
into 216m rails used by the high output track renewal fleet.
The other 50 per cent takes place at Network Rail’s
dedicated facility in Eastleigh near Southampton, with the 108m steel rail
being transported there from Scunthorpe by rail delivery train from Network
Rail National Supply Chain’s specialist rail delivery fleet.
There are many benefits to using specialist welding facilities
rather than welding on site, including better-quality welds and the ease with
which long welded rail can be laid, making track renewals work more efficient,
quicker, safer and more accurate.
Tata Steel UK produces a whole range of steel
products for us – from premium-grade steel to coated rail to protect against
rail foot corrosion caused by exposure to moisture and salt in coastal
environments. It also manufactures the steel for our steel sleeper supplies.
We’ve worked collaboratively on creating new products to
suit our requirements.
We also have a really good sustainable supply chain and
recycle all rail, whether by reusing it internally for lower category track or
selling it – either to railway heritage or private sidings organisations, or
Katrina Law, director of materials and logistics for Network Rail’s National Supply Chain
Above: Testing rail at Tata Steel UK
close working relationship we have with Network Rail is vital. We are able to
develop, manufacture and deliver the products needed to keep Britain’s
passengers and freight on track.
Over time we have sought to strengthen our customer focus
by understanding exactly what Network Rail needs and then developing those products
right here with British-made steel securing British jobs.
Richard Bell, Tata Steel’s sector head of rail
Above: Rails at Tata Steel UK's plant