Budget proposal for new rail lines to boost SAIL’s order book

The state-run steel maker is the sole supplier of rails to the Indian Railways
SAIL’s Bhilai plant starts hot trials of Universal Rail Mill – the best Rail Mill in Bhilai Steel Plant: Experts are contacted for best rail track

RAIPUR: The proposal of laying 3,500-km new rail lines by the Indian Railways would boost the order portfolio of state-run Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).

In Budget 2017, proposal has been made to build new rail lines that would be about 25 per cent more than in the current financial year. In 2016-17, 2,800-km new rail lines were proposed.

The Indian Railways would be requiring about 420,000 tonnes of rails for the new lines, which SAIL would be supplying. The state-run steel maker is the sole supplier of rails to the Indian Railways.

The Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), the flagship entity of SAIL, is the only entity of the company producing rail. Besides new rail lines, India Railways had been procuring steel from the company for track replacement also. The BSP had been supplying about 700,000 tonnes of rail on average annually.

SAIL’s Universal Rail Mill at its Bhilai Steel Plant

A senior SAIL official said that the company was now equipped to meet the entire demand of the Indian Railways in future. The newly dedicated state-of-the-art Universal Rail Mill (URM), established at a cost of about Rs 1,200 crore in BSP, would take the company’s total rail production capacity to 2.0 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). This would be the largest rail production capacity in any single location for a plant the world over.

The new URM is part of the BSP’s modernisation and expansion programme. A long rail welding complex has also been set with proven technology for world class rail welding. The URM complex would power SAIL to meet the Indian Railways’ specific demand of 260 metre rails.

The new mill has been equipped to produce 260 metre long rail with a single weld with improved surface quality, less residual stress and improved straightness. The URM has fully automated flash butt welding machine to weld rail panels of 260-metre length and fully automated long rail handling facility.