On Indian Railways, Alumino Thermic (A. T.) Welding, Flash Butt (Electric Resistance) Welding and Gas Pressure Welding processes are presently in use for welding of rail joints.

Flash Butt Welding is being  done on Zonal Railways departmentally, using Stationary Flash Butt Welding Plants of different makes. Mobile Flash Butt Welding Plants, capable of in situ Flash Butt Welding of rail joints, are also in operation on some of the Zonal Railways.

The Code of Practice for Flash Butt Welding of Rails (tentative) was issued in January, 1972. Revision of this Code is being made to cover procedures for Flash Butt Welding of heavier and higher strength rails now used on Indian Railways and to incorporate the latest practices. This Code of Practice is being renamed as "Manual for Flash Butt Welding of Rails".



1.1 The manual gives details of the types and suitability of rails to be welded by stationary Flash Butt  Welding Plant prewelding inspection, preparation of  rail ends before welding, the general procedure of  execution of welding and finishing of welded joints. It also defines geometrical tolerances for the finished  joints and acceptance tests to ensure quality control.

1.2 Weld parameters for different rail sections/ chemistry have been prescribed by manufacturers and are unique to the particular welding plants. Should any change in these parameters be considered necessary, the same may be carried out in consultation with RDSO.


2.1 SECTION OF RAILS : Capacity of the individual plant will determine the heaviest section and type of rail that can be welded. New as well as released but serviceable rails of same type (section and metallurgy) shall only be welded together. Welding of rails of different sections metallurgy shall not be attempted. It is preferable that rails, rolled by the same manufacturer are welded together. Minimum length of old but serviceable rails for welding shall be 6 metres.

2.2 WELDING OF OLD RAILS : While welding old rails, it shall be ensured that only serviceable rails are welded. Old rails to be welded shall preferably be match marked before releasing from track to achieve maximum uniformity of profiles in weld zone.

2.3 FISHBOLT HOLES : Welded panels (10/20 rails) for laying long welded rails shall, as far as possible, be without fishbolt holes. If drilling of fishbolt hole is necessitated for the purpose of handling during end unloading, only the second fishbolt hole (one away from the rail end) need be drilled. In case, welding of new rails with fishbolt holes cannot be avoided, it shall be ensured that the outer edge of the hole nearest to the rail end is at least 40 mm away from the end to be welded to avoid the heat affected zone of the weld extending upto the edge of the hole. Ail fishbolt holes shall be chamfered before welding.

2.3 1 Ends of old rails with fishbolt holes/bond wire holes shall be cropped by a minimum length of 450 mm before welding.

2.4 ULTRASONIC TESTING OF RAILS TO BE WELDED : New and old but serviceable rails shall be free from internal defects. In the case of new rails, the ultrasonic testing is required to be done at the rail manufacturer's premises. Old but serviceable rails shall invariably be tested ultrasonically before they are taken to Flash Butt Welding Plants.



3.1.1 Defective rails : Rails having cracks or other defects such as heavy corrosion pits or which are worn by more than 2 mm depth at rail seat shall not be welded.

3.1.2 Permissible vertical wear of rails to be welded : The vertical wear in old rails to be welded [measured as per para 302 (b) (iii) of Indian Railways Permanent Way Manual] shall be within the limits specified below : —

Rail Section Standard height of the new rail Minimum height of worn rail
60 kg 172.00 mm 164 mm
52 kg 156.00 mm 150 mm
90 R 142.88 mm 139 mm
75 R 128.59 mm 126 mm
60 R 114.30 mm 112 mm

3.1.3 Permissible lateral wear of rails to be welded : Old rails to be welded shall preferably show similar pattern of side wear and the minimum width of rail head shall be as specified below :—

Rail Section Standard width of the head of new rail Minimum width head of old rail
60 kg 72.00 mm 66 mm
52 kg 67.00 mm 61 mm
90 R 66.68 mm 61 mm
75 R 61.91 mm 56 mm
60 R 57.15 mm 51 mm

3.1.4 Rails with cyclic wear shall not be welded

3.2 DIFFERENCE IN HEIGHT OF RAIL ENDS TO BE WELDED : The individual rail ends for new rails may have a maximum difference in height of 1.2 mm at the welded joints. Rails manufactured by SAIL with dispensations (having letter 'D' in the rolling mark), may have a maximum difference in height of 1.5 mm. This is illustrated in Fig. 3.2. The difference in height shall be transposed to the foot of the rail.


3.3.1 The difference in the width of rail heads of two rails to be welded shall not exceed 1.0 mm for new and 2.0 mm for old rails. New rails manufactured by SAIL with dispensations (having letter 'D' in the rolling mark) may have a maximum difference of 1.5 mm in the width of rail heads. For new rails, it is preferable to restrict the difference in width of rail heads to 0.5 mm by adopting procedure laid-down in para 4.2.

3.3.2 Any difference in the widths of rail heads at the welded ends, in case of both new and old rails, shall be transposed to one side of the head keeping the other side as perfectly aligned as practicable. The aligned side of such welded panels, shall be distinctly marked. To facilitate pairing of panels, aligning on operator side as well as non-operator side may be resorted to .

3.4 RAIL END GEOMETRY : Rail ends to be welded shall meet following geometrical standards :—

(a) End-bends in the vertical plane not greater than 0.7 mm on a 1.5 metre straight edge [Fig. 3.4(a)]. Sagging ends not permitted.

(b) End-bends in the horizontal plane not greater than ± 0.7 mm on a 1.5 metre straight edge [Figs. 3.4 (b) & (c)].

(c) Deviation of the end from the square not greater than ± 0.6 mm [Fig. 3.4 (d)].

3.5 A thorough inspection shall be carried out at the plants with a view to avoid welding of rails with visible surface detects such as rolling/guide marks, wheel burns etc.

3.6 The rails rejected due to non-compliance of the requirements of paras 3.1 to 3.5 shall not be welded. Such rails shall be marked and stacked separately for other uses.


4.1 PRE-STRAIGHTENING OF RAILS : Rails not meeting the geometrical standards stipulated in clause 3.4 are to be rectified before welding using a pre-straightening machine so as to conform to the standards.

4.2 In order to minimise the difference in head width of rail ends to be welded, actual head width of rails shall be checked using template shown in Fig. 4.2(a), (b) & (c). The deviations shall be marked on the rail head so that rails with same or minimum relative deviations are selected for welding.

4.3 END-CLEANING: Before welding, end faces of the rails to be welded and electrode contact locations shall be thoroughly cleaned of loose scales, rust, paint etc. by brushing and shot blasting/grinding. Cleaning of rail bottom shall be ensured by placing a mirror and watching the cleaned surface. The electrode contact locations should be marked with chalk on each rail end to be welded to serve as guidance for cleaning. Oil and grease, if; present, shall be removed by Carbon Tetrachloride or Benzene. If any internal defect such as piping is noticed during end cleaning, the rail shall not be welded.


5.1 ELECTRICAL CONTACT : The electrical contacts, i.e., Copper/ Melloroy electrode in the welding machine must be cleaned by compressed air pistol to ensure freedom from loose oxides and other foreign matter so that no arcing takes place at the contact points on the rail and to eliminate the possibility of rail failure near joint due to Copper penetration and formation of brittle martensite structure. The electrodes must be replaced and machined whenever surface depressions exceeding 1 mm in depth are formed due to wear. For this purpose, adequate spare electrodes should be kept in the plant.

5.2 RAIL ALIGNMENT : The running surfaces of rails at interface shall be aligned carefully to avoid any 'Step' defect except as provided in para 3.3.2, the gauge face corner generally being the reference line.

5.3 WELDING SEQUENCE : The Stationary Flash-butt Wilding Plants adopt following , welding sequence :—

-Aligning (along with detwisting, if possible).

-Initial burn off.



-Forging (upsetting).


The mobile Flash butt welders, however, give continuous flashing instead of initial burn off, preheating and flashing cycles separately.

Air pressure and voltage/current recommended by the manufacturer must be ensured throughout the welding cycle.

5.3.1. Initial, Burn-off : Relevant to the specifications of rail and welding machine, controls shall be adjusted so that at the end of this phase weld interface has good overall contact.

5:3.2 Preheating :—The rail ends are brought into contact to allow a low voltage high amperage current flow which preheats the rail ends. Lower voltages are preferred to minimise crater damage on the rail ends. The movable rail is alternatively moved backward and forward producing a series of electrical contacts with the fixed rail end. The objective is to heat the rail faces uniformly by flashes upto the red. hot stage. The rail ends are brought in and out of contact for certain duration a number of times depending on the specifications of the welding plant, the section and the metallurgy of the rail. This pre-heating cycle executed in a fully controlled automatic mode once the parameters are selected.

5.3.3 Flashing:-Flashing,, consists of moving the rail in continuous manner initially at a fixed speed but during the last few seconds, at an accelerated rate. The flashing speed is so arranged that the rail ends bum off without short circuiting or giving rise to an open circuit condition.

5.3.4. Forging (upsetting) : Immediately following flashing, the platten movement is accelerated so that the rail ends are butted together to a stage of fusion under a heavy butting force whose magnitude depends on the make of the welding Plant. The welding current automatically gets cut off during the later part of the forging operation. The joint should be left undisturbed in damped position for ten seconds after the welding cycle. The recommended butting pressure for different types of rails is indicated below ;—

—72 UTS rails—5kg/mm2 on cross, sectional area.

—90 UTS rails & Head Hardened rails—6 kg/ mm2 on cross sectional areas.

—110 UTS rails—7 kg/mm2 on cross section area.

The heaviest rail section which can be welded of plant should be decided on this basis.

Welding of higher UTS and higher section rail; on low butting load plant by increasing the number of  pre-heats causes very pronounced heat affected zone (HAZ) and is  detrimental to. the service life of the joints.

5.3.5 Stripping

(i) Automatic stripper : A stripper, Which may be integral with the welding plant or installed either just adjacent to welding machine or at 13/26 m distance from it, shall strip the hot upset metal all round the rail section in such a way that minimum grinding. is required to achieve final finished profile at weld.

(ii) Manual removal of upset metal : Wherever automatic stripper is not installed, manual chipping using pneumatic chisel may be adopted. Recommended width of flat chisel is 50 mm for removal of upset metal from junction of head & web and web & foot of the rail, half round chisel should be used. Care should be taken to ensure that chipping does not create any notches or under cutting. However, hot upset metal all round the rail shall be stripped.

5.4 POST WELD HEAT TREATMENT : 72 UTS and 90 UTS rails do not require any special post weld heat treatment. However, alloy steel rails of 110 UTS and head hardened rails need post weld heat treatment to ensure variation in hardness within acceptable limits in heat affected zone. Typical post weld heat treatments for 110 UTS alloy steel rails and head hardened rail are given in, Annexure I & II respectively.

5.5 WELD PARAMETERS: Welding parameters will depend on section and metallurgy of rail to be welded and they shall be as per manufacturer's recommendations or as fixed by RDSO.

5.5.1 Changing weld parameters arbitrarily like changing platten travel, increasing duration and/or number of preheat cycles so as to increase interface temperature to achieve fusion with lower butting pressure (wherever butting capacity of the plant is low) or to retain heat in weld for easy upset metal removal when stripping is done away from welding machine, shall strictly be prohibited.

6. RECORD OF WELDS : Record of all the joints shall be maintained in a register as per proforma as Annexure III. The register shall be signed daily by the welder at the end of the shift and shall be verified and .countersigned by the supervisor incharge. For those welding plants which are equipped with Automatic weld recorder, the chart of the weld recorder shall be analysed every day with respect to voltage, current, upsetting force and platten travel for each weld. Any parameter not conforming with the standard parameter should be set right. The chart shall also be preserved in addition to the register to facilitate investigations in case of defective joint and joints failing in service.

7. POST WELD STRAIGHTENING : A post straightening machine shall be installed at suitable distance from the welding machine for straightening the joint if required to achieve required geometrical tolerances in vertical/lateral alignment.

7.1 WATER COOLING : It is desirable to do post weld straightening after the weld has cooled down to ambient temperature. Water spray cooling shall be done at such suitable distance from the welding plant where the temperature of the weld is not more than 350 degree Celsius which normally is achieved in 7-8 rail length.

8. FINISHING : The top, side and bottom surfaces of the rail head shall be ground smooth so that the weld surface is absolutely flush with the parent rail surfaces. Particular care is necessary to ensure that fish grinding does not bum or notch the rail surfaces. After grinding, the top table and the sides of the rail head shall comply with the geometrical standards given in Annexure IV. Grinding shall be done preferably using a profile grinding trolley, in the absence of which manual grinding can be done using a cup grinder. Depending upon whether it is done mechanically or manually, grinding may be done in stages.

9. MARKING OF JOINTS: Every joint shall have distinctive mark indicating the weld number, month and year of welding and the code of the plant as shown below. This should preferably be done by punching on an Aluminium strip which should be fixed to the web of the rail with suitable epoxy adhesive beyond 300 mm from joint.


The first four digits indicate the weld number starting from 0001 for rust weld of every month, the next two digits month of welding followed by last two digits of the year of welding. The letters in the end shall be code of the Welding Plant. For example, 32810891 MGS indicates that the particular weld is 3281st weld of August 1991. of Mughalsarai Flash Butt Welding Plant.

10. TESTING OF WELD : It shall be the responsibility, of the Plant in-charge and the quality control supervisor to device adequate stage inspections before final acceptance tests are conducted. Causes for failure either of weld or in heat affected zone at any stage in production shall be investigated and corrective action taken before regular welding is continued. Some common causes for failure and the precautions to be taken are listed in Annexure-V for guidance. Acceptance test comprises of all the weld being checked by visual inspection, dimensional tolerances and ultrasonic test. Sample welds should be subject led to transverse bending test and detailed metallurgical tests in a laboratory as a quality assurance measure. Results of ail the tests shall be maintained' in register by the plant in-charge assisted by quality. control supervisor. Details and method of conducting the tests are as follows:—


10.1.1 Visual inspection: After finish grinding, all welds shall be visually inspected for possible cracks, lack of fusion and other surface defects like notching, damage in heat affected zone etc Welds with visible defects shall be rejected.

10.1.2 Dimensional check : All welds shall be inspected using standard 1 m and 10 cm straight edges and feeler gauges, as shown in figure 8 (a) to 8 (j) for compliance of geometrical standards as given, in. Annexure-IV. Welds not meeting these standards,, if rectifiable by grinding, can be re-ground, failing which they shall be rejected. Results shall be maintained as per proforma. given in Annexure-VI 'A'.

10.1 .3 Ultrasonic Test ((USFD) : All welds shall be subjected to ultrasonic testing for detecting presence of internal defects in the weld. This test can be done by installing an on-line USFD equipment or as an interim measure manually with portable USFD machine. Entire cross section of the rail i.e. head, web and foot shall be tested by trained personnel following the procedure laid down in Annexure-VII for USFD test of weld to detect internal flaws. Welds having defects shall be rejected. Results shall be maintained as per proforma given in Annexure VI 'B'. Defective' joint shall be distinctly marked and panels with defective joints shall be separately stacked. The defective joint shall be cut and removed before the panel is despatched from the Flash Butt Welding Plant. Another panel of matching length should be welded and the short panels (minimum 3 rail lengths) despatched in pairs.

10.2 TEST ON SAMPLE JOINT : Sample test joints shall be made on pieces of rails of similar section and conforming to the same specifications as the rails being welded. The length of each piece shall not be less than 750 mm. Following tests shall be carried out on sample test joint frequency of test is indicated in Table I. These test shall also be carried out whenever there is a change in type of rail being welded. In case a sample joint does not comply with the requirements of the test, two more sample joints will be made and tested. If both the sample joints meet the requirements of the tests, welding may continue. In case of failure of any of the retest joints, RDSO should be consulted for investigation and fixing revised welding parameters.

10.2.1 Hardness Test: Brinnel hardness test shall be conducted on the test weld sample before conducting transverse load test. The hardness value in HAZ shall not vary from the hardness of the parent rail by more than 20 HB. Results shall be maintained as per proforma given in Annexure-VI 'C.'

10.2.2 Transverse Test: The finished test weld samples, not less than 1.5 metre long with the weld at the centre shall be subjected to transverse load test in a transverse testing machine in the following manner :— The test joint shall be supported on cylindrical or semi-cylindrical supports having a diameter of 30 to 50 mm and distance of one metre between them. In case of 60kg 110 UTS/head hardened rail joints the test span shall be 1.25 metre. The mandrel diameter shall be between 30 to 50 nun. The mandrel axis should be perpendicular to the horizontal axis of the rail section and it should be positioned at the centre of the weld. The weld shall be in the centre of the span and loaded in such a manner that the foot of the rail is in tension. The load shall be uniformly and gradually increased. The rate of application of the load should not exceed 2.5 tons/sec. The test joints shall withstand the minimum load and shall show minimum deflection as given in Table 1 without  showing any signs of cracking or failure. The minimum deflection values are corresponding to stipulated minimum loads. Results shall be maintained as per proforma given in Annexure-VI 'D'.


10.2.3 Macro examination One test joint for ever 5000 joints welded shall be subjected to macro examination. 150 mm length of rail with weld at centre shall be cut and the sample shall be sectioned in vertical longitudinal direction through the weld. One of  the sections shall be etched with 5—10% Nitric and also subjected to mangnaflux test to ensure freedom from cracks, lack of fusion or oxide inclusion Extent of heat affected zone shall be measured for head, foot and web of the rail. Results shall b maintained as per proforma at Annexure-VI 'E'.


11.1 The 90 UTS head hardened and 110 UTS rail are comparatively brittle having less fracture thought ness as compared to 72 UTS (MM) RAILS. There fore, such rails require special care in handling. visional guidelines for handling and maintenance such rails are given in Annexure-VIII. Flash Welding Plants shall create adequate handling facility to follow these guidelines.


A check list containing items to be checked daily and weekly is placed at Annexure-IX. This she list should be followed meticulously as a quality ass lance measure.

(Para 5.4)


The rails being 60 Kg. Cr-Mn alloy steel rails are required to be subjected to controlled post weld cooling treatment, as detailed below, so as to avoid formation of undesirable micro-structure and cracks in weld and HAZ.

(i) Asbestos cement pipe of internal dia. 250—300 mm, wall thickness 15 to 25 mm and length not less than 1 metre shall be installed after the flash butt welding machine along the welding line. Necessary arrangement to roll the rail through this pipe shall be made so that the pips walls are not damaged due to movement of rails. Two holes of 30mm dia. (to suit the burner head of the kerosene blow lamp) on the horizontal diameter are to be made as shown in Fig. 5.4(a), in such a way that the holes are staggered by 25—30 mm with respect to the mid length of the pipe. Two nos. kerosene blow lamps of about 1.5 liters capacity .ire fixed through these holes in such a way that flame from the burners strike at the centre of the web on each side. The air pressure in the burners is to be adjusted in such a way that blue flame is always available from these. Asbestos cloth/Asbestos lined mild steel gadget are to be always kept ready to cover both the ends of the pipe, to the extent possible so that cool air draught is not allowed to enter inside the pipe. The blow lamp burners are kept in 'ON' position at least 10 minutes before the flash butt welded joint enters the pipe to ensure warming up of the pipe and the enclosed air pocket to retard the rate of cooling.

(ii) After stripping, the welded joint should be quickly moved forward and brought exactly at the mid length of the A.C. pips. This operation is to be completed within 120 seconds of butting. At this time, the temperature of tile weld is generally above 850 degree C. Depending upon the travel speed of the rail panel, the mid length of 1he pipe may be located at about 13m       (rail length) from the welding head to facilitate setting up of the next rail joint to be welded during the period the rail joint already welded is being slowly cooled. The flash butt welded joint shill be kept inside the A.C. pipe for not less than 10 minutes till the weld temperature drops to about 400—450 decree C. Two standby kerosene Wow lamp burners in perfect working condition shall be kept ready to be utilised in case of necessity.

(Para 5.4)


During welding of head hardened rails using the normal welding procedure. the average hardness of the HAZ of the rail becomes,. considerably less  than the parent rail hardness  This lower hardness is due to transformation of rail steel occurring at a cooling rate much lower than that archived during the original head hardening operation. Such a hardness difference can lead to differential plastic deformation during wheel-rail contact which may cause localized cupping on the running surface at the welds.

Head hardened rails, therefore, must be subjected to controlled cooling treatment (slack quench) to improve the sagging heat affected zone hardness.

A fabricated air quenching gadget as shown in Figure 5.4 (b) shall be used for enhanced cooling of the rail joints made with head hardened rafts. The length of this gadget is approx. 250 mm and width 190 mm. There are series of drilled holes of 3 mm diameter in the gadget and their position is shown in figure. The gap maintained between the inner faces of in. gauge' is approx. 120 m which will enable gap of approx. 25mm between the railhead side surfcasting the gadget. This will result in efficient application of air quenching jet. Within one minute of wedding air quenching should be carried out while the rail surface temperature is in the region 900—950° C. The air pressure should be approximately 2kg./cm2 and duration of application should be about 1 minute.

Annexure - III
(Para 6)


MACHINE — — — —
1. Date of welding

2. Shift (day/night)

3. Joint No.

4. Length of rail

5. Section of rail

6. Welding current Primary, amps)

7. Primary voltage (volts)

8. Clamping pressure

9. Butting pressure Kg/cm-

10. No, of pre-heats

11. Pre-heating time  On.... Off...............

12. Burn off time (secs.)

13. Flashing time (secs.)

14. Post welding heat treatment if any

15. Whether automatic weld recorder chart available

16. Remarks (Any change of voltage during welding etc.)

17. Signature of welder

18. Signature of Foreman

(Para 8)


                                           A. Welds with new rails

(i) Vertical misalignment ±0.3 mm at the centre of a 1 m —0 mm straight edge.
(ii) Lateral misalignment ± 0.3 mm at the centre of a 1 m straight edge.
(iii) Head finishing (in. Width) Side of rail head should be finished to :—
. ±0 25 mm on gauge side at the centre of 10 cm straight edge 
(iv) Finishing of top table surfaca ± 0.2 mm at the centre of 10 am — 0 mm straight edge.
(v) Web zone (under side of head, web, top of  base, both fillet each (ide). ± 3.0 mm of the parent centre — 0 mm
(vi) Underside of rail foot shall be suitably finished without any  minus tolerance to ensure proper seating on sleepers and unhindered movement of welded panels on end unloading rakes.
NOTE : Tolerances for BSP rail rolled as per Explanatory Note to IR.3T-12/1988 shall be as under :—
(a) Vertical misalignment +0.4 mm at the centre of —0.00 1 m straight edge
(b) Lateral misalignment ± 0.4 mm -do-

B. Welds with old rails

(i) Vertical misalignment  ±0.5 mm at the centre a 1 m straight edge.
(ii) Lateral misalignment  ±0.5 mm at the centre aim straight edge.
(iii) Head finishing (on sides)  ±0.3 mm on the gauge side at the centre of a 10 cm straight edge.
(iv) Head finishing (on top table surface) ±0.2 mm at the centre of a 10 cm straight edge. 
(v) Web zone (under side of head, web, top of base and both fillets on each side) + 3.0 mm 0.0 mm of parent contour

Annexure V

(Para 10)


Following precautions shall be taken to avoid defects in  the welded joints :—

1. Oxide inclusion—The rail end faces and the adjoining surface of the rail profile to a width of about 25mm all round shall be cleaned properly by portable grinders or blushing machine or shot blasting to remove loose scale, rust, scabs, dust, paint etc. Oil and grease, if present shall be removed by Carbon Tetrachloride or Benzene.

2. Lack of fusion—Preheating cycle and time, flashing and butting stroke as standardised shall be strictly maintained during welding to avoid this defect.

3. Poor joints due to defect in rails—Rail ends having cracks and other visible rolling defects should be cropped before welding.

4. Notches and chisel marks adjacent to the weld joints—During stripping by chiseling and finishing by grinding, care should be taken that notches, dents or chisel marks are not formed on the rail surface as such flaws may act as stress raisers in service leading to premature failure.

5. Copper penetration/arcing on rail foot bottom surface—During flash butt welding, the two copper blocks (electrodes) below the rails get worn out and grooved/ dented due to rail movement. Besides this, after the flashing/burning off operations, lot of loose oxides of metal are deposited on the copper blocks. Due to the above reasons, current flow between the rail foot surfaces and the copper block is not continuous resulting in arcing 'and formation of local melting/denting and even copper penetration at the rail foot surface. Such affected area results in premature fracture. Therefore, after each operation loose oxide/metal shall be cleaned by brushing the copper block surfaces and the copper blocks shall be periodically reconditioned or replaced with new ones.

6. Use of treated water for cooling system—The pipes/ tubes for circulation of water for cooling purpose are,  generally, of small diameter. Due to presence of impurities in water, scaling on the inner side of the pipe takes  place resulting in less circulation of cooling water and consequent problems. Therefore, suitably treated water  should be used for cooling system. The welding plant should not be operated if the cooling system is nonfunctional.

(Para 10.1.2)


1. Date, month & year

2. Joint No.

3. Rail section

4 1 m straight edge Top LH RH

5. 10 cm straight edge Top LH RH

6 Remarks

7. Signature

8 Summary — (at the end of the month)

No. of joints welded during the month (Rail section-wise)

No. of  joints checked (Rail section-wise)

No. of joints rejected (Rail section-wise)

Annexure-VI B
(Para 10.1.3)


Date/Month/Year/Name of Operator Welding Machine USPD'

1. Joint No.

2. Rail section & chemistry

3. Day Night shift

4. Result of testing

5. If defective, details of flaw

Defective zone Flaw peak pattern

Head/Web/Foot Probe Trace

6. Remarks

7. Signature

Summary (at the end of the month)

No. of joints welded during; the month (Rail section-wise)

No. of joints tested (Rail section-wise)

No. of joints found defective

(Rail section-wise)

(Para 10.2.1)


1. Date, month and year

2. Joint No.

3. Rail section & UTS

4. Hardness (BHN)

Parent rail

Weld metal

Heat affected zone

5. Remarks

6. Operator's signature

Summary (at the end of the month)

No. of joints welded during the month (Rail section wise)

No. of joints tested (Rail section-wise)

No. of joints rejected (Rail section-wise)

(Para 10.2.


1. Date, month and year

2. Joint No.

3. Rail section & UTS

4. Machine on which welded

5. Load applied (Tonne)

6. Deflection (mm)

7. Span (m)

8. Broken or not

9. Remarks

10. Signature

8. Summary — (at the end of the month)

No. of joints welded during the month

(Rail section-wise)

No. of joints tested (Rail section & UTS-wise)

No. of joints failed (Rail section & UTS-wise)

(Para 10.2.3)


1. Date, month and year

2. Joint No.

3. Rail section

4. Machine on which welded

5. Extent of head affected zone (mm) Head



6. Result of visual examination

7. Remarks

8. Signature

(Para 10.1.3)


1. Synopsis : This procedure has been prepared to test flash butt welded rail joints to examine the presence of weld unsoundness using USK-4 of M/s. Kraut Kramer, UFD 6251 of M/s. ECIL, ESM2MRT of M/s. Electronic Engineering Co., USFD 301R of M/s. Vibrancies Pvt. Ltd and similar kind of ultrasonic flaw detectors.

2. Scope

2.1 This procedure covers the ultrasonic testing technique of flash butt welded rail joints by using pulse-echo, a scan examination method to detect weld discontinuities.

2.2 This practice utilizes only shear wave probe having 45 degree & 70 degree refracted angle in steel, 45 degree probes to test head and 70 degree probe to test web and foot of the welded joint.

3. Significance

3.1 PERSONNEL QUALIFICATION : It is essential that evaluation be performed by properly trained and qualified testing personnel.

4. Code of Procedure


(i) Pulse-Echo type Ultrasonic Flaw Detector.

(ii) Two single crystal 45 degree (steel), one single crystal 70 degree (steel) shear wave/2MHz probes.

(iii) 0 degree-2 or 4 MHz single or double crystal probe-one.

(iv) Battery with specific voltage suitable for the UFD to be used.

(v) Battery Charger,

(vi) Voltmeter.

(vii) Standard rail piece of 2.5M length having standard simulated defects at standard locations.

(viii) Calibration block 50mm x 50mm x 50mm of Class IV steel to IS : 1875-70.

(ix) Steel measuring tape.

(x) IIW-V1 or V2 block.


(i) Battery Power : Before undertaking testing, check the power of the battery to ensure that it is fully charged.

(ii) Check the correct functioning of the ultrasonic flaw detector and all angular probes on II W block.

(iii) Coupling condition/surface preparation : The protruding upset metal around welded joint shall be removed by any suitable mechanical means in such a way that the remaining protruded metal does not produce sharp corner and the finished surface of the protruded metal if any left should merge smoothly into the surfaces of the adjacent base metal. The scanning surfaces must be free from weld spatter, scale, dirt, rust and extreme roughness on each side of the weld for a distance equal to 200mm.

Couplant: The couplant should wet the surface for the probes and the scanning surfaces and eliminate any air space between the two. Depending upon availability and feasibility of the testing, water, oil or grease can be used as couplant.

(iv) Calibrate the depth range of ultrasonic flaw detector with the help of 50mm x 50mm x 50mm Class IV Steel block.

5. Calibration

(i) Calibrate the ultrasonic flaw detector for 250mm range with help of 0 degree probe. If the 0 degree probe to be used is a double crystal rail tester probe, then adjust the onset of surface echo from the perspex wedge of the probe at zero on the screen by using zero shift/delay/X-shift control. In case the gain setting is high, multiple echoes of the surface echo may occur. In case of single crystal probe having no perspex wedge, the onset of the initial echo should be set at zero.

(ii) Place the 0 degree probe on the calibration block.

(iii) Adjust the depth and zero shift/delay/X-shift controls simultaneously so that onset of the following signal ,appears on the screen.

Onset of the surface echo                                    : at 0 main scale divn

„ ,, „ 50mm signal                                                : ,, 1 ,,     ,,    ,,

„ ,, „ 100mm (i.e. 1st multiple)                              : ,, 2 ,,     ,,    ,,

 „ „ „ 150mm (i.e. 2nd „)                                       : ,, 3 ,,     ,,    ,,

 „ „ „ 200mm (i.e. 3rd „)                                       : ,, 4 ,,     ,,    ,,

„ ,, ,, 250mm (i.e. 4th „)                                        : ,,5 ,,     ,,    ,,

(iv) Remove the 0 degree probe and connect a 45 degree probe, turn the probe selector switch to single crystal operation and set the gain of the UFD with the help of 5mm dia drilled hole on the standard rail piece. The flaw signal amplitude should be adjusted to 60% of the screen height.

The equipment is now calibrated for depth range of 50mm per main scale division for longitudinal wave and gain of the UFD is set for conducting the test.

6. Examination of Flash butt welded rail joints: Examination of flash butt welded joints is performed separately for the rail head, web & foot. In case of scanning of weld at rail head, two single crystal 45 degree high angle probes of 2 MHz shall be used, one of which shall act as transmitter and the other as receiver. A 70 degree single crystal high angle probe of 2 MHz frequency shall be employed for examining the welds at web and foot. All the above probes have index marks on their housing to denote the point at which the central beam emerges.

6.1 TESTING OF WELD AT RAIL HEAD : After calibration has done, the 45 degree angle probes shall be connected to the unit by means of two probe rubies one acting as transmitter and other as receiver. The probe selector switch shall be operated in T/R mode in which one works as Transmitter and the other as receiver.

Used machine oil of adequate viscosity shall be applied as couplant along the right and left hand side faces of the rail head, upto 100mm away from the joint on both sides of the weld.

6.1.1 Two 45 degree angle probes shall be placed and moved along the two aide faces of the rail head in the longitudinal direction of the rail. Slight twisting movements, with the beam directed towards the weld, shall be imparted mutually to the probes as shown in the Fig. (1) In order to examine the entire width of rail head as well as the height, maximum mutual displacement shall, for a start be 70mm. If, for example, the left-hand probe is 70mm away from the weld, the right hand probe shall be directly over the weld and vice-versa. The probe shall then be advanced from the weld as shown in the Fig. (1). The movement shall be continued until the probes are in reversed positions with respect to the beginning of the test. This operation shall be repeated several times and at the end of each transverse slight horizontal twisting movements shall be given to the probes. Probing may be continued from the other side of the joint also to take care of defects unfavorably oriented to the search beam applied from the other side.

6.1.2 Detection  of defects: The common flash butt welding defects are lack of fusion and oxide inclusions. They are generally transversally oriented. If the rail head is free from the defects, no flaw signal will appear on the screen. If there are flaws, the beam will be reflected at the discontinuities and picked up by the receiver probe. For a particular rail section, the flaw signal shall always appear at a fixed graduation en the horizontal scale. The location of the flaw can be determined by the position of the probes. Invariably the flaw will be on that side of the rail head, which is nearer to the weld. If both the probes are at equal distance from the weld, the flaw will be in the centre of the rail head as shown in Fig. (1). An indication of the flaw size can be made from the amplitude of the flaw signal and the extent of the transverse of the probes. Any welded joint when tested with gain setting specified showing any flaw signal shall be considered as defective.


6.2.1 Checking of Sensitivity: For examining the web and tool locations of flash butt welded rail joins the detector's setting requires no change apart from switching over to T + R mode in which case the probe works both as a transmitter as well as receiver. The 70 degree angle probe shall be connected to the transmitting socket of the instrument and the sensitivity setting of the system shall remain unchanged.

6.2.2 Couplant  Used machine oil of adequate viscosity: shall be applied as couplant along the right and left hand side surfaces of the rail web and foot upto 100mm away from the joint on both sides of the weld.

6.2.3 Testing Procedure: The probe shall be positioned 100mm away from the weld and traversed in a zigzag manner towards the weld. The probing should be done on the web as well as the foot so that entire width is scanned (See Fig. 2).

6.2.4 Detection of defects: To defect flaws in the web, the probe must be twisted slightly in the direction of the Web. No .flaw signal will appear on the screen if the rail foot and web are sound. If there are discontinuities in the weld, moving flaw signals will appear on the screen. When the flaw signal is at its maximum height, the distance of the probe from the weld joint shall be measured, so as to determine the location of the flaw.

Any welded joint when tested with normal gain setting showing any moving signal shall be considered as defective.

Annexure- VIII
(Para 11)


Protection of straightness: Barely visible straightness iations, for example, a deflection of 0.75 mm over 1.5 res span, renders a rail unacceptable and require careful dling and stacking. Therefore,


— Heavy static loading.

— Sudden impact or dynamic loading.

— Localised point or line contact loading in stacking.

— Excessive end drop and flange overlaps while lilting/moving.

— Criss-cross stacking of rails of alternative layers at right angles as far as possible.


— Keep rails horizontal and straight while lifting/ moving.

— Stack rails of same length on firm level base of well-drained platform, preferably of concrete, as per drg. No. RDSO/T-4962 (enclosed).

— Stack subsequent layers on uniformly placed spacers in vertical alignment with base supports.

— Keep rail ends in vertical alignment.

— Place rails of shorter length in upper layers.

2. Protection of rail surface : Surface notches of even less than 0.75 mm in depth are liable to cause rail fracture in service. Therefore,


— Impact abrasion of rails against separators in wagons.

— Round link chain slings for securing the rails.


— Use conventional slings for lifting rails made of Hat link chains.

— Lifting of rails preferably with magnet lifting device.

3 Prevention of metallurgical damage: These rails are thermally very sensitive and are likely to develop metallurgical defects, if exposed to localised heating, which produces very hard, brittle and cracked metallurgical structures which may lead to sudden failures. Therefore,


— Heating, flame cutting, on or adjacent to rails.

— Contact with electric arcs and molten metal splashes, i.e., from loose cables or adjacent welding operations.


— Flame cutting when found essential, after preheating minimum of 10cm of rail length on either side of me cut to about 250—350 degree C by uniform movement of heating torch.

4. Protection from contact with injurious substances: These rails can withstand normal degree of rusting but localised corrosion pitting may cause subsequent rail fractures Therefore,


— Contact with injurious substances which produce high corrosion of steel, i.e. acids, alkalis, salts, etc.


— Stack rails on well drained platform preferably of concrete as per drawing No. RDSO/T-4962.

5. Slinging principles : The single point slinging increases risk of excessive- bending and surface damage to the rails. The overhang beyond the outer lifting point should not be greater than one-half the distance between lifting points. Therefore,


— Single point slinging.


— Use two-point slinging for rail length upto 13m.

— Recommended locations of lifting points for various rail lengths are tabulated below :

Rail length metres No. of lifting points Distance between lifting points (m) Max. rail and overhang (m)
12-13 2 6-6.5 3-3.25
26 4 6.5 3.25
35 6 6.5 3.25
130 20 6.5 3.25
260 40 6.5 3.25

— Use of lifting beams fitted with slings is desirable.

6. Safety of Personnel


— Standing under suspended loads.


Use protective gloves and clothing to minimise the risk of skin abrasion.

Wear distinctive coloured helmet and clothing for easy identification by crane and machinery drivers to avoid accidents.

Annexure IX


 Yes No
1.1.1 Rails of same section and UTS are stacked together. . .
1.1.2 Spacers arc provided between successive layers of rails. . .
1.1.3 Rails are stacked in head up position. . .
1.1.4 Numbers of layers in each stack is not exceeding 15. . .
1.2.1 Rail ends have been checked for— . .
(a) Straightness . .
(b) Squareness . .
(c) Width of head and height . .
1.2.2 Fish bolt holes/any other hole drilled are chamfered. . .
1.2.3 Rail ends are cleaned of rust, scales, paint etc. . .
1.2.4 Top of rail head and bottom of rail foot are clear at electrode position. . .
1.2.5 Grease/oil at rail ends, if present, has been removed with Carbon tetra chloride/ Benzene. . .
1.3 WELDING . .
1.3.1 Alignment of rail ends is proper and checked with 1m straight edge . .
1.3.2 Electrodes surfaces are clean (cleaning after every welding operation). . .
1.3.3 Stipulated oil & air pressure is available in the welding machine. . .
1.3.4 Record of each weld is kept in prescribed proforma. . .
1.4.1 Stripping/trimming of entire weld cross section has been done. . .
1.4.2 Notches/undercuts are avoided while stripping with pneumatic chisel. . .
1.4.3 Post weld controlled cooling is done for Cr-Mn/head hardened rails. . .
1.4.4 Joint has been checked for— . .
(a) Straightness on . .
(i) 10 cm st. edge, . .
(ii) 1 m st. edge, . .
(b) Dimensional tolerances. . .
1.4.5 Joint is numbered. . .
1.5.1 Joint is ultrasonically tested using normal, D.E. 70°, 45° and 80° probes. . .
1.5.2 Ultrasonically defective joint is prominently marked. . .
1.5.3 Joint is dimensionally correct (checking with 10 cm & 1 m straight edge). . .
1.5.4 Records of each test are maintained in prescribed proforma. . .
1.6.1. Panels of same rail section and UTS are stacked together.. . .
1.6.2 Spacers are provided between successive layers of panels. . .
1.6.3 Panels are stacked in head up position. . .
1.6.4 Number of layers of panels is not exceeding 15. . .
1.6.5 Rails are placed on rollers without impact. . .
1.6.6 Loading of weided panels in EUR is being done in pairs of equal length. . .

Signature of Shop Supdt./Supervisor

. .
2.1 Electrodes have been machined before formation of 1 mm deep groove. . .
2.2 Standard welding parameters are correctly set for the type and section of rails x. being welded. . .
2.3 Panels with defective joints are separately stacked. . .
2.4 Movement of hoists in lateral and vertical direction is well synchronised. . .
2.5 Work, spot is clean and tidy. . .
2.6 While unloading, the rails are held at two points 6-6.5m apart and overhang of ends does not exceed 3-3.5m. . .
2.7 Rails/Panels are stacked on levelled and well drained platform and they have no contact with soil. . .
2.8 Transverse testing & macro examinations of test welds is done at prescribed frequency and records are maintained. . .
2.9 Transverse testing machine is calibrated. . .
2.10 Workmen are provided with required protective clothing. . .

Signature of XEN/Dy. CB