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European Railroad Discussion > White painted rail in Italy

Date: 07/30/19 18:46
White painted rail in Italy
Author: kk5ol

From a friend travelling in Italy:Here's my major takeaway:  From Venice to Florence the rail was painted white.  I kid you not.  The sides of the rail and the bottom are painted white.   I have no clue as to why, and it must have cost a ton of money to buy all that white paint.  It appears to have been painted before it was laid as the clips holding the rail to the concrete ties was not painted. Now when we got on the local in Florence some of the rail was white and some was normal rust color.  So here's my thoughts, and I have no reason to believe this:  Any track that has an overhead electric wire gets painted white, and if no overhead wire, just normal rail.  I have never run across this before and would like to hear what the real reason is.  I'm clueless.

Date: 07/30/19 19:38
Re: White painted rail in Italy
Author: PHall

According to the BBC they painted it white to reflect some of the heat they've had lately. They're getting sun kinks, something they never had to deal with before.

Date: 07/31/19 02:32
Re: White painted rail in Italy
Author: wpamtk

I wondered why the rail on the narrow-gauge "interurban" whose terminal is near Roma Termini was painted white. Guess that's why.

Date: 07/31/19 09:49
Re: White painted rail in Italy
Author: mile250

Date: 07/31/19 09:52
Re: White painted rail in Italy
Author: mile250

And this.

Date: 08/06/19 01:14
Re: White painted rail in Italy
Author: Bunny218

This topic has come up before, and is nothing new that has to do only with this summer's high heat. Italy has had some rail painted white for a long time already, in fact, I've seen shots taken back in the 1980's with the white rails. Previous discussions have never found any "official" reason or proof as to why it's done, but the general conclusion has always been that it's to keep the rail at a cooler temperature. The link posted above by mile250 seems to provide the same conclusion. The only place I've ever noticed this really done (in pictures)is Italy, so it seems something peculiar to that country and not practiced by railroads operating in places with much higher temperatures.

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