In this paper, experimental studies performed for flash butt welded rails used in Turkish railways network having 49E1 and 60E1 rail sections are presented. These studies comprise of full-scale laboratory tests such as four point bending fatigue and three-point slow bending tests, as well as related instrumentation of test specimens and data measurement. Fatigue and bending tests are prepared and carried out in accordance with EN 14587-2 standard. The fracture surfaces of thewelded samples are examined to identify the associated failure modes. The fatigue test results are superimposed on a S-N diagram derived from earlier results reported as a part of the European Commission steel rails research project. A best fit curve following an exponential function is derived to describe the load deflection behavior of the weld under the slow bend testing conditions. It is shown that a single component of the equation defining the best fit curve is the factor controlling the scattering in the non-linear part of the load deflection curve, and hence control of this parameter can also be used to impart consistency to the welding process. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.