Zetica Rail and Balfour Beatty Rail (BBRI) have commenced a 1,000 mile rail ground penetrating radar survey to characterise ballast quality for the BNSF railroad company in the US. The works are designed to optimise maintenance planning by targeting the most contaminated ballast.

Zetica Rail and BBRI also recently completed a proving survey at the high tonnage loop at TTCI in Pueblo, Colorado. The object of this survey was to demonstrate the application of ground penetrating radar to mapping ballast quality and changes in formation as well as to detect buried structures.

RT Swindall, director of track operations at BBRI, says: “The use of GPR to map many hundreds of route miles per week will help to bring about a step change in the planning of trackbed maintenance by railroad companies in the US. The savings potential of targeting only the highest priority ballast with confirmed quality issues will pay for the GPR survey many times over in just a single campaign. The partnership with Zetica Rail offers us the possibility to fast-track implementation of the tool based on their unrivalled experience of rail GPR.”