Generally about 80 percent of railway tracks are welded by flash-butt welding that consists of electrical heating and hydraulic forging. Fracture of rails specially weld zone fractures are of main concern because of potential risk of a catastrophic derailment. In this paper, surface defects associated with flash butt welding process are examined. Metallographic and fractographic studies show various defects can be formed at the surface of weld zone. Formation mechanism of these defects and their contribution to the observed fatigue and overload weld failures are discussed. Fracture mechanics is also utilized to clarify the role of these defects in fatigue and overload failures.