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Old 07-17-2014, 7:26 PM
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Default Rail Monitoring

Hi folks.

My new BC125AT has a service search of the Railroad channels. I had no idea how much activity there was, and I'm just using a portable antenna, not a roof mounted.

Anyway, I've looked in the database and found frequencies listed for CN & CP rail.
I guess both companies run independently and maintain track independently.

So - are there any recent maps of the rail lines of Alberta. The only one I have found so far was published in 1999 (http://www.transportation.alberta.ca...rans_Advan.pdf) and I'm guessing there may have been changes in the last 15 years!

Also - when looking at terms like RTC, I don't down what that means. Rail Traffic Control?
What are the different types of traffic you hear on rail channels? I have certainly heard what sound like clearances and so on.

Is there a controller in Edmonton who can see line users, and who gives clearances? How does the system work here?

Thanks,
Rob
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:38 PM
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AAR Standard Channels discusses some of the term [found by using the Search this Thread]. http://cnebusiness.geomapguide.ca/ does show a map but not sure how up to date it is. Not on the lines shown have rails anymore. And http://www.cpr.ca/en/our-network-and...s/default.aspx

Last edited by robertmac; 07-17-2014 at 11:16 PM..
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Old 07-18-2014, 2:32 PM
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Originally Posted by robertmac View Post
AAR Standard Channels discusses some of the term [found by using the Search this Thread]. CN - Network Map does show a map but not sure how up to date it is. Not on the lines shown have rails anymore. And Canadian Pacific - Our Network & Facilities
Thanks - there was some useful information on that thread.

I am still unclear about how it all works though.

I can see that there appear to be just 2 railway owners in Alberta - CN & CP Rail. Their maps show different lines that they each manage. Does that mean that CN trains can only travel on CN railroads, or do they permit each others trains on their tracks?

When it comes to RTC channels, does each company have its own channels and procedures?

Do the trains mostly use simplex? I imagine the locomotives are often quite a distance away from the Dispatcher. Do they use a repeater system to contact RTC, or do the railway companies have remote located antennas every 5 miles along the track, feeding back to the main RTC building?

And it looks like their radios allow full duplex (channel pairs like 2525 or 2564 for example). Is that the case?

Is there one main dispatch building in each area?

And take a City like Edmonton. I see frequencies listed for Leduc to Edmonton South. Where is the controller for that bit of track? In Leduc? There are no frequencies in the database listed for Edmonton itself. Yet I am hearing lots of comms on the AAR channels.

Lots of questions for a newbie to railroad monitoring in Edmonton.
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Old 07-18-2014, 4:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rabrol View Post

Is there one main dispatch building in each area?

And take a City like Edmonton. I see frequencies listed for Leduc to Edmonton South. Where is the controller for that bit of track? In Leduc? There are no frequencies in the database listed for Edmonton itself. Yet I am hearing lots of comms on the AAR channels.
hello i am a former railroader for CPR in Edmonton. for the RTC Centers. CPR has RTCs in Calgary for west of Sudbury On, Montreal Qu for east of Sudbury On , Saint Paul, Minnesota for the USA network

CNR Edmonton, Toronto or Montreal?, and down the usa?.

do the rest in a few on the desk top
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Last edited by omrail; 07-18-2014 at 5:38 PM..
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Old 07-18-2014, 5:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rabrol View Post
I can see that there appear to be just 2 railway owners in Alberta - CN & CP Rail. Their maps show different lines that they each manage. Does that mean that CN trains can only travel on CN railroads, or do they permit each others trains on their tracks?
Yes CN and CP own and manage there own track. Under agreements with one another the other guy can run on the others line with there own crew or the host railways crew. This is most often done to detour around derailments or washouts ect. CP for many years ran a job that was called the CN transfer (my fav job to work) that would run from CP South Edmonton to CN Clover Bar and back. There is how ever two other railways in Alberta which are Battle River Railway and Alberta Prairie Steam Tours/East Central Alberta Heritage Society.

There are also lots of Industrial Railways in Alberta that are and are not using the AAR/CRA


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Originally Posted by rabrol View Post
When it comes to RTC channels, does each company have its own channels and procedures?
All Railways have there own AAR/CRA Frequencys that are theirs in each area. Edmonton is a busy town for trains.

CPR Edmonton Canadian Pacific Railway Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
CPR Alberta Canadian Pacific Railway Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
CPR Alberta RR Wiki http://wiki.radioreference.com/index...ic_Railway_(AB) (done by my self. if any one can help make it better i hope you do)

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Originally Posted by rabrol View Post
Do the trains mostly use simplex? I imagine the locomotives are often quite a distance away from the Dispatcher. Do they use a repeater system to contact RTC, or do the railway companies have remote located antennas every 5 miles along the track, feeding back to the main RTC building?

And it looks like their radios allow full duplex (channel pairs like 2525 or 2564 for example). Is that the case?
On the CPR towers or about every 30 Miles or so and use a repeater. to talk to the RTC (Rail traffic controller) the train crew has to dial the number for the closes tower on the RTC Call in and that rings to the RTCs computer and you sit back on the Train Standby for the RTC to answer the tower. That goes for all parts of the railway, OCS, OCS/ABS, CTC. so for any one to talk to the RTC or RTC to talk to train crews or others he/she must open the tower in the area.

So yes on the mail line you need the big radio in the unit or the ES trucks to talk to the RTC most of the time.

Some Channels are made up of 2 frequency. yes




Quote:
Originally Posted by rabrol View Post
Is there one main dispatch building in each area?

And take a City like Edmonton. I see frequencies listed for Leduc to Edmonton South. Where is the controller for that bit of track? In Leduc? There are no frequencies in the database listed for Edmonton itself. Yet I am hearing lots of comms on the AAR channels.
as above.

OTHER INFO At ever Terminal you will have a person that is local that may be a manager(CP) or a yard master or some other name(CN) that runs the Terminal/yard ops.




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Lots of questions for a newbie to railroad monitoring in Edmonton.
Here to help

I hope i did help you in the questions asked. the answer to you first question can be a very long one if one was to dive right in to it and if you would like PM me rabrol
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:54 AM
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Yes CN and CP own and manage there own track. Under agreements with one another the other guy can run on the others line with there own crew or the host railways crew.
Good to know. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by omrail View Post
There are also lots of Industrial Railways in Alberta that are and are not using the AAR/CRA
Are there any maps of these? How long do such lines run? Are they basically lines owned by companies that link to the CPR or CN tracks?


Quote:
Originally Posted by omrail View Post
On the CPR towers or about every 30 Miles or so and use a repeater. to talk to the RTC (Rail traffic controller) the train crew has to dial the number for the closes tower on the RTC Call in and that rings to the RTCs computer and you sit back on the Train Standby for the RTC to answer the tower. That goes for all parts of the railway, OCS, OCS/ABS, CTC. so for any one to talk to the RTC or RTC to talk to train crews or others he/she must open the tower in the area.
OK - so CPR have a bunch of towers. I didn't know that! I'm guessing it is the same for CPR. Do they use telephone backlinks from the towers, or a system of microwave links to RTC?

And what does this mean for monitoring? Does this mean we will often hear the RTC but not the train, or are the repeaters like normal repeaters where we can hear both sides of the conversation?

So yes on the mail line you need the big radio in the unit or the ES trucks to talk to the RTC most of the time.

Lastly, I know what RTC means now, but am not familiar with OCS, ABS, CTC. What do those abbreviations mean?

Once again, thanks for the help!
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Old 07-19-2014, 1:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rabrol View Post
Are there any maps of these? How long do such lines run? Are they basically lines owned by companies that link to the CPR or CN tracks?
there are maps that show all but the Industrial Railways as there just in plant such as Imperial oil here in Edmonton that has a contract with Cando for in plant swiching.

For just alberta there is https://www.transportation.alberta.c...%20Alberta.pdf

also for Canada and even North America there is RAC Rail Atlas
Last time i was at the fort mall in Fort Saskatchewan the train clubs in the north end of the mall had the maps and atlas (Late January). There open 10-4 on Saturdays.

You could also try to call the railways and see if you can get a map from them. It will be almost the same map as the RACs map but more to that railways interest. May till you to pond sand.

CPR Canadian Pacific - Community Connect

CNR Public Inquiries
1-888-888-5909
Email Public Inquiries
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabrol View Post
OK - so CPR have a bunch of towers. I didn't know that! I'm guessing it is the same for CPR. Do they use telephone backlinks from the towers, or a system of microwave links to RTC?

And what does this mean for monitoring? Does this mean we will often hear the RTC but not the train, or are the repeaters like normal repeaters where we can hear both sides of the conversation?
I feel good saying CNR is the same. From what i know it is done by telephone as when time there Network Management Centres (NMC) phone system went down and the radios went with them.

Yes you will her the RTC and most of the time not the person on the ground.

The Map below is an example of the RAC Map
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Last edited by omrail; 07-19-2014 at 1:21 PM..
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