PARIS: Tata Steel's European arm Corus today said it is looking at the European market for supplying longer 108-metre rails to tap the growing demand for high-speed rail lines.
"We are looking at the wider European market for supplying longer rails," Tata Corus Rail (France) Plant Director Colin McGibbon said.
"Currently, we manufacture 80-metre long rails. But being able to produce 108-metre long rails opens up more opportunities not only in France but also in other markets," he said.
Asked if it would be looking at the Indian market, he said, "We may not look at India for long rails currently as transportation requires specialised maritime and railway infrastructure."
To produce longer rails, Tata Corus Rail has already committed 8 million euros out of the proposed investment of 35 million euros in its rail production facility in Hayange in the Moselle province of France. The company secured a major contract from French national rail operator SNCF in December 2009, he said.
The investment is for improving the plant's efficiency and enabling workers to produce 108-metre long rails, he added.
McGibbon further said, "We have got a 350 million euros contract to supply rail tracks to SNCF up to six years. We will begin the supply of 108-metre long rails to it from next year."
The contract is for the renewal and maintenance of the RFF (Réseaux Ferrés de France) tracks including high speed TGV trains tracks of SNCF, he added.
The Hayange plant, which employs 440 people, supplies rails of varying length to railway operators around the world, predominantly in Europe.