Stainless steel makes for the best passenger railcars. Alstom relies on Outokumpu’s custom-developed high-strength steel in the shells of metro railcars to stay ahead. Alstom is at ease with a key material used to manufacture world-leading metro railcars at their Lapa site in Brazil. Since 2008 they have used Outokumpu’s high-strength stainless steel in the car shells.
No more challenges with unreliable coils, resulting in continual new setups, cracking and waste of time. Importantly, in the fiercely competitive railway business, Alstom has found a partner who takes worries away from them in ensuring that they use the most technically innovative product.
“We have appreciated good support from Outokumpu,” a representative of Alstom at Lapa says, affirming that they expect close cooperation from their suppliers in identifying optimal solutions. “Outokumpu has shown good performance in technical issues.”
The optimal solution for Alstom in the shells of metro railcar bodies is Outokumpu’s temper rolled austenitic grade ASTM 301LN (EN 1.4318), which provides the unique combination of very high strength and good formability. The grade has been developed especially for structural railcar body components where strength and toughness are required.
Sustainable railcar bodies
Leading railway equipment manufacturers have embraced 301LN as the best product on the market for railcar bodies to boost their competitiveness. The grade’s list of benefits explains why.
The high strength allows for use of thinner gauges and so helps to reduce weight. It can also lower maintenance costs compared to other materials. Temper rolling not only hardens the steel but also gives the surface an aesthetically pleasing look – important when railcar bodies are not coated. Leaving the surfaces uncoated markedly increases sustainability in railcars.
The corrosion resistance of 301LN is the same as that of the most widely used stainless steel (ASTM 304 / EN 1.4301) and, important for passenger transport equipment, the grade features excellent fire resistance. Manufacturers commend the grade for ease of fabrication.
Increasingly the choice by transportation authorities
Stainless steel is embraced by an increasing number of public transportation authorities as the solution that gives them vastly longer service lives of equipment compared to other railcar shell materials. Lighter and stronger than the alternatives, stainless contributes to environmentally friendly transportation.
Today Outokumpu stainless steel helps to transport passengers in major cities of the world from Melbourne to Vienna to Los Angeles.
Among the many satisfied customers, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority lauds their stainless steel metro railcars. “There is no need to repaint every two to three years, as there is with other materials. Stainless steel increases the lifespan of cars. Normally we’d expect a 30-year life, but stainless gives us 40 years,” explains Metro spokesman Rick Jager (in an interview to Outokumpu unrelated to Alstom).