British Steel has secured a contract for an annual supply of about 20,000 tonnes of rail to German company Deutsche Bahn.
The rail will be supplied in 120-metre lengths, and will be produced in the Scunthorpe Rail and Section Mill where £1m has been spent to make rolling such lengths possible.
As well as the Deutsche Bahn agreement, the new 120 metre rail capability allows improved competiveness for British Steel in the wider European market.
Peter Smith, British Steel’s MD Rail, said: “Supplying a new product to a major railway company like Deutsche Bahn is a significant achievement and demonstrates our commitment to product and service innovation.
“It also shows how increasing our product range can help us enter new markets, and how we can work in partnership with customers to become the strategic supply chain partner of choice.
“While we’ve worked with Deutsche Bahn in the past, this is the first contract we’ve been awarded by them as British Steel and we hope this is the start of a long-term relationship between our businesses.”
Before the investment, the longest rail British Steel could produce was 108 metres – a standard length in the domestic market. However, many European rail networks are based on lengths of 60 and 120 metres.
Peter said: “Our technical teams continue to deliver longer in-service product life along with reduced maintenance and renewal costs, bringing significant benefits to our customers.
“Deutsche Bahn is by far the biggest purchaser of rail in Europe. Having a stake in the German market is strategically important to us and we hope to build a strong and lasting relationship with them.
“The investment allows us to remain at the forefront of rail production and act as a catalyst for further long-length rail exports into Europe.”
British Steel supplies rail across the globe from its rolling mills in Scunthorpe and Hayange. It’s also established a successful rail logistics hub in Lecco, northern Italy.
The initial contract is for 21 months, and will see the new 120 metre length rails delivered to Germany through the Channel Tunnel. The requirement for shorter lengths such as 60 metres will be satisfied using the flexibility of both mills.
The first 120-metre shipment is due this month, and Peter said: “Our engineering and development teams have performed an excellent job in expanding our manufacturing capabilities, ensuring our rail products and grades can continue being precisely matched to track conditions, track types, environmental conditions and a host of other variables.
“This ensures every rail we deliver provides optimum performance throughout its life, guaranteeing our customers – and their customers – a first class service.”