||This article is incomplete. (October 2011)|
Rail lengths are made as long as possible, as joints between rails are a source of weakness. Over the decades, lengths increased as manufacturing processes improved.
- (the following rails are not welded from shorter lengths)
- (1830) 15 feet (4.57 m) Liverpool and Manchester Railway
- fish-belly rails at 35 lb/yd (17.4 kg/m), laid mostly on stone blocks.
- (1950) 60 feet (18.29 m) British Rail
Welding of rails into longer lengths was first introduced around 1893.
- (1950) 240 feet (73.15 m) welded - (4 x 60 feet or 18.29 metres) 
Newer longer rails tend to be made as simple multiples of older shorter rails, so that old rails can be replaced without cutting. Some cutting would be needed as slightly longer rails are needed on the outside of sharp curves compared to the rails on the inside.
Rails can be supplied pre-drilled with boltholes for fishplates or without where they will be welded into place.
There are usually 2 boltholes or 3 boltholes.
- "Surveys Of New Rail Link.". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 17 June 1953. p. 5. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- "Big Weighing Machines.". Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 4 August 1900. p. 19. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- "Opening Of S.-E. Broad Gauge line.". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 2 February 1950. p. 1. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
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