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Date: 06/21/06 20:48
Tracking software
Author: johnarensberg

Is there any software packages out there that will track the exact location of trains? If any of you know about flight tracker or flight explorer you'll know what I'm talking about. These systems show exactly where airplanes are in flight...pretty cool.



Date: 06/22/06 13:17
Re: Tracking software
Author: coaststarlight99

I have thought of this before...It deffinetly sounds pretty cool, but I imagine it is not availalbe to the public.

Edit: As for Amtrak, I am sure they keep track off all of there equipment...The only cars I know of with GPS in them are the Amtrak ExpressTrak cars which can provide information for the shipper.



Date: 06/23/06 20:06
Re: Tracking software
Author: sums007

It IS odd that with all the programs out there to track aircraft on the internet, there's zilch for trains. B y the way, my favorite for planes is flightaware.com.



Date: 06/23/06 21:13
Re: Tracking software
Author: coaststarlight99

sums007 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It IS odd that with all the programs out there to
> track aircraft on the internet, there's zilch for
> trains. B y the way, my favorite for planes is
> flightaware.com.


I agree, I would imagine all the different railroads do manage all of there equipment, and a pretty good idea of where every train is...Does the FRA have nearly as much knowledge regarding train locations as the precise detail the FAA has and is so easily available to the public.

Even if it is possible, I doubt this kind of info will ever go public since taking pictures has already been looked at as a concern.



Date: 06/24/06 15:02
Re: Tracking software
Author: drgwfan1

go to http://www.atcsmon.com/

It involves hooking your scanner up to computer and decoding Advanced Train Control System (ATCS) signals. It's pretty cool, but there is a learning curve.

In additon the software provides the capability to connect over the internet to people running ATCS servers in their areas...



Date: 06/24/06 19:26
Re: Tracking software
Author: coaststarlight99

Looks complicated, how long did it take you to learn how to run this?



Date: 06/25/06 13:11
Re: Tracking software
Author: sums007

My understanding of this--which is very limited--is that one cannot tune in, let's say, to the UP's Yuma Sub, and see on your computer screen what's going on there. In other words, not all locations have this capability. And I make my point again: for planes, it's a matter of calling up a website which will take you anywhere you want to go in the US. This is strange, especially after the events of 2001. I live in South Texas, and I can go to a site that will show me planes in the sky nearby, their owner or airline, their speed, and their altitude. Kinda scary, but that's the reality. Too bad we can't do the same for the trains.



Date: 06/26/06 22:21
Re: Tracking software
Author: drgwfan1

I'm still working on understanding all that I see. I modified my scanner and I'm able to get 'messages', but getting meaningful information (at least for my area (Rosamond, CA)) still remains sum what of mystery. I have connected over the Internet to other people's servers, but I would like to be in the field and see the train at the same time.

At this time it's a matter time vs time. My model railroad is taking my spare time.



Date: 06/28/06 05:05
Re: Tracking software
Author: hoydie17

Try to keep in mind that ATCS doesn't "track" a train per-se, but it simply will show how a dispatcher is configuring the RR for movements. It does show occupancy, but the accuracy of that indication is subject to the lag time of the system.

ATCS data is generally transmitted every 60 seconds, and that CAN vary from railroad to railroad. It's not unusual to look at a display and be duped into believing there is a VERY LONG freight trains crossing two or three blocks. But that maybe because a train left and arrived in block between data bursts.

Also note that it will not give you the TRAIN ID, nor the LOCO ID, unless the loco is equipped to report itself via ATCS. And that requires someone to have decoded the mnemonics for a particular locomotive. I also believe that it would require special modification to the ATCSMON software to be able to display that information.

Hope that helps,
Sean



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