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SRS SafeRailSystem: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)




Improved track maintenance decision making;

Increased rail network management profitability due to continuous monitoring;

Cost reductions in track investigation procedures, maintenance and renewal operations;

Easy interpretation of ballast status through the use of automatic tools;

Minimized survey time due to high-speed GPR solution;



SafeRailSystem represents a fast and non-destructive solution for inspecting railway ballast. It allows the user to autonomously inspect railway ballast for renewal and maintenance. This high-speed radar system (more than 300km/h) is made of three or four antennas and can be easily mounted on any rail carriage or locomotive safe rail system. It includes user-friendly post-processing software for interpreting radar data easily and efficiently. Features include:

  • Continuous mapping of ballast thickness;
  • Location of areas with poor bearing capacity (e.g. ballast pockets);
  • Differentiation between clean and fouled ballast;
  • Detection of drainage problems.

IDS' innovative use of its SafeRailSystem means a reduction in the current cost of under track investigation, maintenance and renewal of ballasts, an improvement in the specification of maintenance, so less reworking, a reliable calculation of investments and an improvement of maintenance quality.

SafeRailSystem offers:

  • High speed radar system for the inspection of ballast quality;
  • Continuous mapping of ballast thickness;
  • Location of insufficient bearing capacity areas (e.g. ballast pockets);
  • Differentiation between clean and fouled ballast;
  • Detection of drainage problem sections.
 SRS SafeRailSystem
  • High speed: The SRS ground penetrating radar for ballast inspection can reach more than 300 km/h with 12cm scanning steps.
  • Dedicated post processing platform: Dedicated post processing software will guide the user through the interpretation of the data and detection of subsurface layers in a semi-automatic way.
  • Video camera and GPS: The SRS solution can be integrated with a video camera, GPS and a Doppler radar encoder in order to provide the exact location of a scan and save time in post processing.

SRS Post-Processing Software

SafeRailSystem includes a dedicated post-processing software suite for easy and efficient interpretation of SRS data in order to extract the following characteristics of the railway track:

  • Continuous mapping of ballast thickness
  • Location of areas with insufficient bearing capacity (e.g. ballast pockets)
  • Differentiation between clean and fouled ballast
  • Detection of sections with drainage problems

This software includes advanced automatic "pattern recognition" algorithms which assist the evaluation of ballast status and includes an automatic function for layer interface detection.

The operator can simultaneously view up to 4 parallel radar maps and can view these sections with automatic scrolling. All radar data can be selected in a rapid and efficient way and the user can introduce and analyze drilling information.

SRS-DPA Data Analyzer and Reporting

The data analyzer and reporting module is integrated in the data processing module and has the following functionalities:

  • Layer stratification view for each profile
  • Layer interpretation view for each profile
  • Layer cross-section view
  • Report of layer statistical results for each profile can be output in a text file
  • Data view can be saved as an image file (BMP or JPG format file)










Radar Acquisition Unit DAD SRS PLUS, with interleaved multiplexing 1800 scans/sec
Number of Collected Profiles Up to 4
Antenna Frequency Typical configuration: 400 MHz
Alternate frequencies available upon request
Positioning Doppler Radar GPS (optional)
Collection Speed > 190 km/h (4 profiles simultaneously)
Maximum Scan Length Unlimited collected profile length, no need to stop the train
Power Supply 10 - 15 Volts
Video Camera Synchronized radar and video data
Environmental IP65
Radar Processing Software SRS DPA including:
SRS DP (Data Processor)
SRS DA (Data Analyzer and Reporting)
  • Elimination of disturbances due to the sleepers
  • Automatic data processing according to a predefined macro
  • Management of GPS data and video frames
  • Automatic detection of layer interfaces
  • Automatic calibration of radar propagation velocity with core data
  • Insertion of assets along the track (e.g. switches, crossings, etc.)
  • Assists the operator in evaluating track characteristics:
    • Ballast fouling
    • Ballast bed moisture
    • Moisture distribution within the ballast
    • Evenness of track bed basis
Output Data Immediate visualization of ballast characteristics along the track:
  • Stratigraphy
  • Ballast fouling levels
  • Ballast moisture levels
  • Undulation levels
  • Position of assets
  • Core samples
  • Video data