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Zetica Advanced Rail Radar

Trackbed scanning customised to meet your needs

Zetica Rail offers turnkey solutions for implementing ground penetrating radar (GPR) on train-based and other vehicle platforms. This provides customers with the following major benefits:

  • Identification of sites for renewal by ballast cleaning
  • Major efficiencies and cost savings compared with existing trackbed evaluation methods
  • Reduces risk to staff as removes working near operational trains
  • Monitoring of trackbed deterioration over time
  • Quality control of renewals through pre- and post-renewal scanning.

Zetica Rail is an industry leader in GPR with unparalled experience in nonintrusive ballast evaluation backed by over 25 years in track engineering including ballast and drainage maintenance and renewals.

ZARR allows desktop assessments of the trackbed to be made without exposing staff to the risks of line side working and can reduce the number of sites that need full investigation. By monitoring trackbed deterioration over time, ballast deterioration rates can be modelled leading to timely interventions and the reduced risk of implementing temporary speed restrictions.

Your time is best spent doing what you do best – maintaining and renewing track. ZARR provides you with the tools for early detection of hidden problems, thus minimising the expense of reactive maintenance and ZARR offers you more cost efficient delineation of the extents of renewals.

Expert advice is provided to fit ZARR to existing inspection or passenger trains as well as road rail vehicles or trolleys. Bespoke software provides track engineers with standard layer interpretation output.

Zetica’s innovative train-mounted Zetica Advanced Rail Radar (ZARR) system is currently being used to record over 16,000km of high quality GPR data at speeds of up to 120km/h over ballasted trackbed for Network Rail (UK, 2007).

Trackbed scanning customised to meet your needs

Zetica Rail offers customisable tools to facilitate measurement of ballast quality and automatic recognition of features such as subgrade erosion. Combining this information with track geometry measurements can allow user-defined metrics to be devised to extract maximum benefit from trackbed monitoring.



Ground penetrating radar (GPR) profiling involves scanning the trackbed every 2.5cm - 10cm using microwave (in the range of 200MHz - 1GHz) antennae mounted on measurement trains, road rail vehicles or trolleys.

GPR is capable of providing valuable information on ballast thickness and trackbed condition which uniquely complements the data obtained from existing trackbed evaluation techniques. In addition, GPR offers a means of potentially identifying incipient trackbed problems such as:

  • wet bed formation
  • ballast pumping
  • ballast degradation
  • sub-grade failure

Network Rail uses the results to validate ballast renewal proposals, design site investigations for track renewal programmes, investigate embankments and detect cross-cutting services as well as for several other purposes. This demonstrates the potential value of desktop GPR data for contributing to a track engineer’s understanding of the subsurface conditions.

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