A west Oxfordshire firm is bucking the gloomy economic climate by taking on new staff, mainly on the back of a contract to inspect the country's railways.

Zetica, at Hanborough Business Park, could help Network Rail save millions of pounds with a radar system, mounted on survey trains, monitoring the thousands of miles of track in the UK.

It cuts out unnecessary track surveys carried out on foot and pinpoints where ballast needs repairing to ensure safety on the rail system.

The national focus of the contract is another feather in the cap of the firm which only a few months ago was involved in the discovery of a large unexploded bomb on the site of the 2012 London Olympics Park in east London.

Managing director Mike Sainsbury said: "We did advise on that. Part of our operation is mapping unexploded ordinance.

"We use ground penetrating radar (GPR) and it is useful in site investigations, say, for the construction industry. You want to know if there are hazards, bombs, utility pipes and cables before you start digging holes.

"We do geophysical surveys and GPR is good for shallow depth work, which ishow we became involved with Network Rail. The system can show where the ballast is thin or potholed and, therefore, needs maintenance.

"Just as well, it detects where it is thick and cuts out time and labour exploring the track. Perhaps millions of pounds spent on traditional checks was not necessary."

Zetica was set up in 1991 and moved to Long Hanborough last year. It was previously at Bridge Street in Witney and relocated just weeks before the 2007 July floods hit the town, inundating its former premises.

They now have a specialist staff of 35 and, with the Network Rail contract, are taking on a handful more.

Mr Sainsbury added: "We will be taking them on in the next month or so. It is good news because some of our clients and other businesses are struggling in the current recession.

"We are not an enormous company, so just taking on a few more people is significant for us."

Zetica was brought in as consultants to analyse risks in the Olympic area by the London Development Agency because of its expertise in mapping unexploded bombs from World War Two.