Buffer rails can also be used at the end of LWRs instead of switch expansion joints. Buffer rails are ordinary rails but of a much higher standard with respect to proper alignment at the fish-plated joints and proper gaps between the rail ends. A gap of 7.5 mm is left at the end of each buffer rail; the ends of these buffer rails should butt evenly against each other with thermal expansion. To permit free expansion and contraction, buffer rails are laid on wooden sleepers with MS canted bearing plates and 22-mm-diameter rail screws. The portion of the LWR that bears the buffer rail should be maintained by measured shovel packing only. The buffer rails should be used at the end of an LWR only when an SEJ is not readily available.
The use of buffer rails has been discontinued on Indian Railways because the difficulties encountered in their maintenance were adversely affecting the safety of the trains.