Almost every seasoned and hobbyist welder is familiar with MiG welding. It’s ideal for numerous projects, especially for joining different materials with mig welder machine within a snap!

But can you really MiG weld railroad track?

Well, starting from excellent welding speeds to maximum precision, you can get so many benefits by applying MiG welding with special mig welder. But unfortunately, the thickness of railway track metals is different, and chances are it won’t make a perfect match with MiG welding. 

So if you think Mig welding isn’t your cup of tea in terms of welding railroad tracks, then don’t worry since there have some effective methods available for you!

Can You Mig Weld Railroad Track

mig welding railroad track
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You might be the biggest fan of Mig welding, but that doesn’t mean it has to be ideal for welding railroad tracks, right?

As you know, railroads are manufactured with extremely stronger and thicker metals, while Mig welding is only compatible with the thickness of 24 gauge.

Thus, you won’t be able to join two connectors or the 2 metal pieces as firmly as needed, which is why the result can be negative!

What are the Requirements to Mig Weld Railroad Track?

To be frank, Mig welding can’t be your go-to while you’re preparing to work outdoors because of the existing gas involved here. Although you may work with different kinds of metals by using it, a number of materials will need numerous gasses or spool wires.

However, there’s no doubt that Mig welding is a beginner-friendly choice that’s pretty easy to learn and you can bring perfection after practicing just a couple of weeks or months.

Take a look at some of the requirements to Mig weld railroad track:

  • Closely look at the type of materials as Mig welding suits mild steel, magnesium, and aluminum more often. You can also use Mig to weld sheet metal with low thickness.
  • As I’ve said before, Mig welding is able to weld a material that’s 24 gauge thick. So if you’re going to work with something more thicker, Mig welding isn’t the thing that you should go for
  • According to the experts’ opinion, Mig welding should be done only indoors as wind may intervene with the gas, which causes negative results

Checkout Some Mig Welders To Weld Rail Track

lincoln Electric Powermig
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lincoln Electric Powermig Welder

Eastwood 250 AMP MIG Welder
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Eastwood 250 AMP MIG Welder

PrimeWeld MIG180 Mig Welder
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PrimeWeld MIG180 Mig Welder

Different Welding Types for Railroad Track

There might be tons of different types for welding railroad tracks. Among them, I’ve handpicked only 3 which are effective and at the same time safest.

So let’s see what they are:

Flash Butt

This is a pretty common name among welders, especially to those who don’t want to weld railroad tracks by applying any fancy techniques. While utilizing it, all you need to do is set up the 2 metal pieces carefully end-to-end and start welding following the connection!

Thus, it’s suitable to weld any workpieces that are thicker like rails, anchor chains, and pipes.

flash butt welding
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Advantages

  • It ensures excellent welding quality
  • The toughness of each joint will appear to be good enough
  • One of the most versatile and simplest types ever
  • Much better for either base rail or factory rail welding

Disadvantages

  • Flash butt requires heavy-duty power supply and generator to run
  • While welding, rails may burn extensively at times
  • It is slightly expensive

Gas Pressure Welding

As the name suggests, this welding process uses the actual power of heat that’s produced by any gaseous fuel. It usually consists of acetylene cylinders, oxygen, piping, pressure regulators, and something more.

Speaking of the range of temperature, gas pressure welding generates nearly 3600C in order to melt metals way quickly yet maintain a firm bond.

gas pressure weld
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Advantages

  • It only requires a single investment to get the job done
  • Unlike the typical welding processes, it takes less time
  • The burnout of steel rail will be minimal
  • One of the perfect choices for the welding that involves “on-site joint”

Disadvantages

  • Joint sections of each track will seem to be quite strict while welding
  • Not that easy to control, especially to those who are new in gas welding

Also Check

Thermite Rail Welding

According to my experience and personal opinion, thermite rail welding (TW) is the most effective method while welding the tracks of railroad. Also familiar as exothermic welding, it plays a significant role in molten metal in order to join every conductor permanently.

Compared to other choices, it ensures optimal resistance against corrosion.

Thermite Rail Welding
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Advantages

  • Allows you to make a firm joint  at a minimal production cost
  • Ensures optimal mechanical strength and resistance against corrosion
  • Pretty easy and straightforward to operate
  • Ideal for repairing on-site joint, broken rail steel, and massive transportation tasks

Disadvantages

  • Can be uneconomical when you go for welding light parts/cheap metals

Which Type Is Best for Railroad Welding and Why?

As you know, so many welding types or techniques can be found when you look for railroad track welding. But that’s equally true that all those welding methods can’t be the best to choose from, they also have some pros and cons.

After accomplishing brainstorming research, I can confidently say that thermite rail welding is by far the best for railroad welding!

Although some of you may have different options or choices, I think it has something that makes it much better than the other. These are some of the reasons behind it:

  • Easy-Peasy Application

Unlike the mainstreams, thermite railroad welding is easier and less challenging, especially to those who are very new in the field of welding. Many people, especially newbies prefer something that can be operated or utilized easily.

Thus, thermite welding can be the best match ever.

  • Setup Cost is Low

If you can get a job done without spending extra bucks, then why you’ll spend a pretty penny? After all, a penny saved is a penny earned, right?

You might be a fan of flash butt due to their excellent welding quality. But it’s equally true that it’ll hurt your wallet.

In this case, you’re getting done within a low budget by applying thermite welding!

  • Needs No Power Supply

You heard it right! It can be annoying or tiring at times to collect extra power supply or generator for railroad welding. But guess what? Thermite doesn’t even require such things at all.

  • Highly Corrosion-Resistant

The corrosion build-up is a common problem unless you use thermite welding. With the help of excellent mechanical strength, it can give as much protection as possible against corrosion, allowing you to have a safe and effective railway track for a long period.

Wrapping Up

Now you’ve got the complete answer of “can you Mig weld railroad track” in detail. Keep in mind, railroad track welding isn’t child’s play. There can be so many difficult tasks involved, and more importantly, applying the proper welding technique is the key to getting the optimal result. 

So, stay safe and happy welding! 

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Maidul Islam

Maidul Shakil has an extreme love for welding. Welding metals and joining them is his hobby and he has also got a vocational training on welding. He strives to learn and teach welding processes and different gears to beginners and newbies. Cutting metal, fusing them and polishing to a shiny surface seems interesting.