Innovative solution: representatives of British Steel, CBG, Trackwork and Pandrol on British Steel’s Scunthorpe site
08 Mar 2023

British Steel secures major export deal with largest ever order for rail sleepers

British Steel has won its largest ever order for rail sleepers with a major export deal for West Africa. 

  • Steel manufacturer will export 244,000 of its steel sleepers to Guinea
  • Sleepers will be used to upgrade the railway line at a bauxite mine in the mineral-rich country
  • Steel sleepers are 100% recyclable and provide a more durable, low-carbon and cost-effective solution for track operators

British Steel’s Export Sales Manager, Rail, Jérôme Bonef said: “This is fantastic news for our business, particularly given the high level of competition we faced to secure this contract.

“Our steel sleepers provide the perfect technical solution to the challenges facing rail operators in this region and we’re proud to have been chosen to support such a major project.”

Guinea is estimated to possess more than a quarter of the world’s supply of bauxite and as it continues to increase its export capacity, it needs to upgrade existing freight lines.

British Steel’s contract with the Guinea Bauxite Company (Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée, CBG) will see it deliver 20,000 tonnes of its 436 profile steel sleepers over the next year.

The UK manufacturer has partnered on the project with Trackwork, which processes the rolled sleeper into its finished form, and Pandrol, which is providing the railway fastenings to secure the sleepers.

Jérôme said: “We have long-term partnerships with Trackwork and Pandrol. Together we’re able to provide a complete global supply chain solution involving processed steel sleepers and railway fastenings. This enables us to meet all heavy-haul technical requirements and deliver a cost-effective and timely solution to our customer.”

Steel sleepers are stronger and more durable than wooden sleepers, which have been traditionally used in African regions. Steel sleepers are also 100% recyclable.

Additionally, the transportation of steel sleepers is much more efficient than the transportation of their concrete equivalents as they are lighter and easily stacked – road vehicles can carry 3 times more steel sleepers than concrete, meaning lower transportation costs.

Trackwork Sales Manager Dave Roberts said: “We are absolutely delighted to be part of securing this contract; the most significant single order for steel railway sleepers in the long history of our partnership with British Steel. Succeeding in the face of such high-level competition bears full testament to the expertise, competence and quality within our long-established global supply chain.”

Pandrol Sales and Commercial Director UK Iqbal Chadda said: “Pandrol are proud to have collaborated in this unique project, which brings together the finest range of British products and expertise in order to provide a complete sleeper and rail package for West Africa. The Pandrol team worked alongside British Steel to design a bespoke cast steel shoulder with an E-Clip, that together provide an anti-vandal feature.”