Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Railway Ballast Monitoring by GPR: A Test Site Investigation

Version 1 : Received: 19 September 2019 / Approved: 20 September 2019 / Online: 20 September 2019 (10:45:43 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 11 October 2019 / Approved: 14 October 2019 / Online: 14 October 2019 (09:48:16 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Bianchini Ciampoli, L.; Calvi, A.; D’Amico, F. Railway Ballast Monitoring by Gpr: A Test Site Investigation. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2381. Bianchini Ciampoli, L.; Calvi, A.; D’Amico, F. Railway Ballast Monitoring by Gpr: A Test Site Investigation. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2381.


Effective maintenance of railways requires a comprehensive assessment of the actual condition of the construction materials involved. In this regard, Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) stands as a viable alternative to the invasive and time-consuming traditional techniques for the inspection of these infrastructures. This work reports the experimental activities carried out on a test-site area within a railway depot in Rome, Italy. Specifically, a 30 m-long railway section was divided into 10 sub-sections reproducing different various physical and structural conditions of the track-bed. In more detail, combinations of varying scenarios of fragmentation and fouling of the ballast were reproduced. The set-up was then investigated using different multi-frequency GPR horn antenna systems. The effects of the different physical conditions of ballast on the electromagnetic response of the material were analysed for each scenario using time- and frequency-domain signal processing techniques. Parallel to this, modelling was provided to estimate fouling content. Interpretation of results has proven the viability of the GPR method in detecting signs of decay at the network level, thereby proving this technique to be worthy for implementation in asset management systems.


GPR; NDT; railway; ballast fouling; ballast fragmentation; railway maintenance; transport infrastructure monitoring


Engineering, Civil Engineering

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 14 October 2019
Commenter: Luca Bianchini Ciampoli
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: Introduction and conclusions have been shortened. Language has been reviewed. Fonts in plots have been increased.
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