Mobile Radio Access System (BNSF)

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PMJ2kx

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Mobile Radio Access System (MRAS)

I've seen this setup in other states' listings, as well as my own, and I was wondering if this is just a generic list of frequencies used by BNSF in its operational territory, or is it a legitimate setup in my local area.

Some states have them listed, others do not. Since BNSF operates too far away from me to pick up traffic, I can't monitor this myself to figure it out.

From the Oregon DB:
Railroads Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Any insights would be very helpful, as I'm trying to update the Railroads section to the fullest extent. On a side note, if anybody here has both UP and BNSF frequencies written down for the state of Oregon, please feel free to share them with me here or via PM. :)
 

burner50

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Mobile Radio Access System (MRAS)

I've seen this setup in other states' listings, as well as my own, and I was wondering if this is just a generic list of frequencies used by BNSF in its operational territory, or is it a legitimate setup in my local area.

Some states have them listed, others do not. Since BNSF operates too far away from me to pick up traffic, I can't monitor this myself to figure it out.

From the Oregon DB:
Railroads Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Any insights would be very helpful, as I'm trying to update the Railroads section to the fullest extent. On a side note, if anybody here has both UP and BNSF frequencies written down for the state of Oregon, please feel free to share them with me here or via PM. :)
I'm not from the area, but I would say that if it is still in use, it isnt used regularly.

We still had that in Iowa, but nobody remembered how it worked. MRAS is a fancy term for phone patch... I'm sure they have better systems in place now.

Sent from my Transformer TF101 using Tapatalk
 

joekansas

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I think what you're talking about was called "Mobiltel" on the Union Pacific.

They don't use it anymore. They have removed all the equipment that enabled it about a year ago in these parts (this coming right out of our radio mans mouth).

On our portion of the railroad, you dialed in frequency 61-33 on the motorola radio there in the engine. The officials used frequency 94-12.

Then, depending on your physical location, you'd push the buttons * 17 for instance in the northern reaches of the territory or *23 at the south end, and 18 thu 22 in between, and you'd be greeted by a regular telephone dial tone coming over the radio.

Then, you would push the 8 button to get a dial tone for calling railroad phone numbers, or 9 to access the bell system. When I first started, cell phone minutes were expensive and everyone used mobiltel to call for railroad business instead of wasting your expensive cellphone minutes.

It was kinda odd talking on it, because anyone who happened to dial in 61-33 on that part of the system could hear your conversation. Nothing private. I worked for a shortline railroad out of Carthage Missouri for a while, and I could still access UP mobiltel in certain locations- I'd call friends at home over the radio- back when my cell phone plan only had 20 minutes a month and I had to conserve phone time (1988). Kinda neat to be setting on an engine in the middle of missouri, calling a phone in Kansas from a locomitive radio. I did it mostly for a novelty. I had a brand new conductor one trip, we were stopped in a siding in the middle of nowhere and I got on the radio and called a friend back home and talked to him over the radio.... that conductor was like "how in the hell do you do that?" None of the other employees on the railroad there had any idea we could do that, so I kinda kept it to myself.

Used to be, the UP maintenance of way department left their radios monitoring mobiltel and used it for truck to truck communication more often than they used the regular railroad frequency in our area. They could be way out of radio range of each other and still be able to talk to each other. It was kinda like having a long distance intercom....

Like I said, mobiltel is long gone on the UP.....
 
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PMJ2kx

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Yeah, after going through BNSF's licenses for the State of Oregon, I see this system is somewhat broken, although BNSF still retains trackage rights along UP's line from Portland to Albany, OR, and two of the listed MRAS channels are licensed for use along that route. Now that the local shortline Portland & Western (PNWR) picked up their only job down this way (663/664), I doubt they're being used anymore.

Thanks to both of you for your responses.
 

timkilbride

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The BNSF MRAS system is used extensively in Nebraska(Western) and Wyoming. This was from personally observation in November, 2010.

I was in Rock Island, IL last week and heard a PBX system on the BNSF. Southern Iowa(BNSF) probably still uses it as well because of the terrain.

The old C&NW phone system in Iowa was used for phone patch and mobile to mobile for MofW. I remember it being used extensively in the late 90's. Not sure if the equipment is still up today or not.

Tim
 

kd6ptt

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UP Mof W personnel still use the PBX system in the upper reaches of the Feather River Canyon (UP Canyon Sub) in Northern CA due to lack of cell service in certain locations. I hear them use it on 160.605, Ch 33 (161.025, Ch 73 input) off and on during the week. I also monitored a conversation on one of SP's old PBX channels on 160.950, Ch 56 (161.160, Ch 70 input) in the Stockton, CA area about a month ago. It was being used by a train crew. Although UP's PBX system maybe mostly dismantled and/or rarely used, there are still some PBX sites still active in Northern CA.
 

karldotcom

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I havent heard the UP PBX in Los Angeles in a couple years now....it used to be great during big storms when a maintainer would call "Signal Bridge" and be told to wait....and you could hear maintainers from all over talking about their problems. (Like the party lines)
 

KE7JFF

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BNSF uses MRAS like its going out of style in Portland/Vancouver. When I used to work at Rivergate, I could hear the system loud and clear from both sides no problem.
 
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Dead and gone in Houston. SP originally used 160.800 (Dayton), 160.95 (Englewood), and 160.98 (Strang) pre-merger and UP used 160.605. 160.8 and 160.98 went away after the merger, then the remaining two disappeared sometime between 2002 and 2005. At least one of BNSF's are still up on either 160.245 or 160.425 as repeaters but sit unused and silent until skip or intermod opens them up.
 

com501

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UP Mof W personnel still use the PBX system in the upper reaches of the Feather River Canyon (UP Canyon Sub) in Northern CA due to lack of cell service in certain locations. I hear them use it on 160.605, Ch 33 (161.025, Ch 73 input) off and on during the week. I also monitored a conversation on one of SP's old PBX channels on 160.950, Ch 56 (161.160, Ch 70 input) in the Stockton, CA area about a month ago. It was being used by a train crew. Although UP's PBX system maybe mostly dismantled and/or rarely used, there are still some PBX sites still active in Northern CA.
Canyon Sub, Roseville Sub to Sparks, Canyon at least as far as Sand Point, there is a repeater in Gerlach.
 
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