Reinforced Scarf Joint – JIL ESSO

In 2005-2006 at the Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest was designed for SUDAREC a special insulated scarf joint (IBJ), to be installed and used on the Romanian railway   sections of the Fourth Pan-European Corridor.

The project included:
– geometrical design of all the joint elements for 4 types of rail and 3 sectioning angles

– finite element analysis of the joint behaviour under loading
– development of joint prototypes together with SUDAREC staff and preparing them for the specific tests required by the European and Romanian standards.

Here is a 3D rendering of the joint:

And here is a video describing the scanning procedure for the scarf joints installed by Network Rail in UK on some high tonnage sites where conventional joints have suffered excessive wear:

(updated on 21.07.2015)

Nota bene:

The idea wasn’t new around the world, it was just new in Romania. At the time only limited information was available about reinforced joints. Both Vossloh and Voestalpine  have very similar sectioning philosophy.

It was a pleasant surprise to discover that this idea is as old as the railway:


Andrew Dow in “The Railway – British Track since 1804” mentions a scarf joint invented by Isambard Brunel in 1835.

(The image above is from the Google Books preview of the book, available online)

The book is available on both in e-book and textbook version.


The thing was invented again in USA in 1923 and 1949 – above is a image from US patent US 2472446 A – Railway rail joint .

Although at the moment when we developed this joint we thought we are pioneers, I realised in time we rediscovered and reinvented the wheel … but happy and proud with the idea and the hard work.

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