Rail Profile

The rail profile is the cross sectional shape of a railway rail, perpendicular to the length of the rail.

In all but very early cast iron rails, a rail is hot rolled steel (once wrought iron) of a specific cross sectional profile (an asymmetrical I-beam) designed for use as the fundamental component of railway track.

Unlike some other uses of iron and steel, railway rails are subject to very high stresses and have to be made of very high quality steel. It took many decades to improve the quality of the materials, including the change from iron to steel. Minor flaws in the steel that pose no problems in reinforcing rods for buildings can, however, lead to broken rails and dangerous derailments when used on railway tracks.

By and large, the heavier the rails and the rest of the trackwork, the heavier and faster the trains these tracks can carry.

The rails represent a substantial fraction of the cost of a railway line. Only a small number of rail sizes are made by steelworks at one time, so a railway must choose the nearest suitable size. Worn, heavy rail from a mainline is often reclaimed and downgraded for re-use on a branchline, siding or yard.

Read more about Rail Profile:  Rail Weights and Sizes, History, Rail Lengths, Conical or Cylindrical Wheels, Manufacturers, See Also

Other articles related to "rail profile, rails, rail":

Rail Profile - See Also
... Common structural shapes Difference between train and tram rails Grooved rail History of rail transport Iron rails Plateway Rail tracks Structural steel Tramway ...

Famous quotes containing the words profile and/or rail:

    Actor: Electrician, a little more this way with that spotlight. What are you trying to do, ruin my profile?
    Electrician: Your profile was ruined the day you were born.
    James Gleason (1886–1959)

    If goodness were only a theory, it were a pity it should be lost to the world. There are a number of things, the idea of which is a clear gain to the mind. Let people, for instance, rail at friendship, genius, freedom, as long as they will—the very names of these despised qualities are better than anything else that could be substituted for them, and embalm even the most envenomed satire against them.
    William Hazlitt (1778–1830)