On Feb. 22, Steel Dynamics, Inc. (SDI), announced that the company had begun commercial production of Standard Strength rails that meet all current AREMA (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association) specifications at its Structural & Rail Division in Columbia City, Indiana. To secure this certification, samples of the rail underwent evaluations by independent testing laboratories to certify adherence to the AREMA specifications.
The company also announced that the rail had been tested and qualified by the first of the North American Class I railroads that are potential customers. Shipments are expected to begin in the second quarter. Steel Dynamics said evaluations by other Class I railroads are underway, with approvals expected soon.
The company manufactures this rail in lengths up to 240 feet, and its Columbia City-based unit is capable of producing 300,000 tons of rail per year.An on-site rail welding plant can weld rails together into continuously welded rail (CWR) strings 1,600 feet long, and the company said it has seen a substantial increase in orders for welded rail. This winter, Steel Dynamics completed major modifications to the rail-welding plant to allow year-around operation.
"We believe the renewed emphasis on both freight and passenger rail transportation in North America provides a unique growth opportunity for Steel Dynamics," said Dick Teets, president and COO of SDI's Steel Operations. The company hopes to grow quickly and become a major rail supplier.