Rail classification and what it can do for your bottom line

When you’ve got a lot of rail you want gone, selling it all as general scrap may be the easiest choice, but going that route wouldn’t do your company’s pocketbook any favors. Having a rail classification crew come out to properly identify what you have on hand could be just the thing that helps increase your profitability.


A good, solid rail classification crew will inspect your rail scrap thoroughly for the many different types of wear, fractures and distress used-rail acquires over time in order to accurately grade and determine its quality. Once that’s done, it will typically receive one of three general rail classification designations:

Relay Rail classification

The gold star level of used rail classification, Relay Rail fetches the most money on the market. Its value comes from rail lines or other industrial companies’ abiility to “re-lay” it depending on their needs. Always in demand, you’ll get a premium price on the market for this type of rail classification almost every time.

Reroll Rail classification

Second on the value scale is Reroll Rail classification. Here, there are too many flaws or too much wear for the rail to be re-laid. Because more processing is involved, the price you get for this type of rail is lower than Relay Rail, but still better than straight scrap.

Scrap Rail classification

Rail found to be in too much disrepair is deemed scrap, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Usable chunks of scrap rail can still be cut off the original rail for recycling. It may never be used on the railroad again, but it can still be melted down and made into a number of steel-based items.

Transparent, trustworthy reporting

Once the rail classification inspection is completed, you should receive a detailed report listing all of the different quality materials you have. If the company doing the rail identification also handles brokering, they should also give you an estimate telling you how much they can fetch for what you have. Make sure you look over both carefully and discuss any questions you might have with whoever does the work. Remember, it’s still your material. You want to make sure you’re getting the best price possible for it.

At Recycling Consultants, we pride ourselves on complete pricing transparency. Showing our customers all of the steps we take to come to the price we offer assures that they can count on us to get the most money for their scrap. That kind of trust is important to us. After all, our customers have a big enough job already. They shouldn’t have to wonder about our numbers.

The value of rail scrap classification

The result of any thorough rail inspection should always be to make you more on the deal when it’s brokered. It might be a lot or just a little, but every bit helps when it comes to your bottom line. Take the extra step and have your rail materials properly inspected and classified. Otherwise, you may be throwing out a decent amount of profit along with your scrap.

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