The Educational Railroading Conference Leader Since 1994


2020 Heavy Haul Session


Rail Milling in Heavy Haul Environments

Richard Stock

Richard Stock

With rail milling starting to enter North American Transit Systems this paper will focus on heavy haul applications of rail milling. Rail Milling is a complementary maintenance technology that allows spark free and gentle rail treatment with variable metal removal. Unless traditional rail grinding, rail milling cuts material out of the rail surface and collects the produced milling chips on the machine for later recycling. Especially when requiring higher metal removal rates for highly damaged rails, rail milling is a more efficient process compared to rail grinding. Rails that would have required extensive rail grinding or premature rail exchange can be treated by rail milling to significantly extend the rail life.

As mobile rail milling is not yet used in North American Heavy Haul environments, this paper will focus on heavy Haul networks in Australia and China where rail milling is successfully used to prolong rail life. All of these railways have a cyclic-preventive grinding strategy in place. In addition to that they use rail milling as a complementary tool in areas where rail grinding cannot keep up with the damage or is not used at all (for various reasons). Besides this regenerative approach rail milling is also used for initial milling of rails at some of these networks. Furthermore, the treatment of switches and crossings with milling technology will also be discussed.

Specific examples for all these areas of rail milling applications in heavy haul will be analyzed in detail in this presentation. It will be highlight how rail milling is successfully used as a complementary maintenance technology in the toolbox of heavy haul network operators.