EghtesadOnline: Esfahan Steel Company (ESCO) has handed over the first batch of domestically produced 60E1 (UIC60) rails to the Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company.
The event was attended by Roads and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami, Industries, Mining and Trade Minister Reza Rahmani, Isfahan Governor General Abbas Rezaei and a number of parliament members on Saturday.
The rails were loaded for the use of Tabriz-Bostanabad Railroad in East Azarbaijan Province in northwest Iran.
“Tens of specialists have worked on this project for more than 20 years. The research stage for the production of domestic rail has taken years to complete and today efforts by ESCO and the Industries Ministry have borne fruit,” Eslami was quoted as saying by the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, according to Financial Tribune.
The 60E1 (UIC60) rail model is manufactured according to the European standard EN13674-1. It is a type of T section rail, also known as flat bottom rails with a 60.21 kg mass per meter.
“Based on the goals of the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22), Iran is to expand its railroads to 25,000 kilometers, with each 10 kilometers requiring 500 tons of rails,” he said.
The idea of a large-scale domestic rail production was first floated in 2005. It was triggered when the ruling government thwarted a deal to import 100,000 tons of rails from Spain, arguing that imports should be curbed so that domestic production can thrive.
This led to the signing of a deal between ESCO and the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways. The company’s rails, however, received a lukewarm reception due to their limited speed support and low quality compared to the global offerings at the time.
Consequently, IRIR placed no new orders and called on ESCO to produce UIC60 rails, which are capable of supporting higher speed limits.
Fast forward to July 2014, IRIR and ESCO signed another agreement for the production of UIC60 rails, with the deadline for its delivery set for September 2015.
ESCO missed the deadline and no new developments took place until late 2016, when the company launched its new rail production line in cooperation with the German Kuttner Company.
Oon June 17, 2018, ESCO had delivered a first batch of U33 rails to the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways.
The batch contained 500 tons of U33 rails manufactured using the latest technologies and based on Europe's EN13674 standard, according to an ESCO statement.
"Producing rail based on the latest European standards was painstaking and complicated, yet worth the pain to achieve self-sufficiency," said ESCO's Managing Director Mansour Yazdizadeh.
The official emphasized that ESCO is capable of meeting all of IRIR's demands with a rail output capacity of 400,000 tons per year and will export its excess production.
ESCO signed a contract with IRIR to produce 40,000 tons of U33 rail tracks back in October 2016, 10,000 of which were to be delivered by the end of the fiscal 2016-17. The company repeatedly missed the deadline and extended it to date, and mostly put the blame on IRIR for not funding production by pre-purchasing the order.
ESCO was jointly established in 1965 by Iran and the Soviet Union’s Tyazhpromexport Company in Isfahan Province.
The EN13674 standard specifies Vignoles rails (flat-bottomed rail) of 46 kg/m and greater linear mass for conventional and high speed rail track usage.
U33 rail tracks are capable of supporting a speed of up to 160 kilometers per hour.