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Bedding down

Spotlight - Geophysical testing

Scott Wilson Pavement Engineering (SWPE) has been awarded a contract by Railtrack for the provision of trackbed investigation and interpretation services.

The services offered under the agreement include GPR, automated ballast sampling (ABS) and falling weight deflectometer (FWD) testing.

ABS involves driving a specially designed sample tube into the trackbed to obtain a continuous core sample of the ballast and underlying formation. FWD testing is used to make direct measurements of trackbed stiffness characteristics with the controlled drop of a large weight onto a loading beam placed on an unclipped sleeper.

Not every site will use all three techniques. Depending on the outcome of GPR, a decision will be made as to whether further testing is required.

SWPE director Robert Armitage says: 'The work will be carried out to give a better understanding of trackbed condition and the causes of deterioration, which is only possible using the latest investigation techniques.'

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