NS Enhanced Safety RR MP Crossings Project?

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W4UVV

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FYI Only...I made an educated(hopefully) guess this is a closely correct project name. Something in
addition to lots of existing NS licenses are being modified and/or new licenses being issued .

During the past 6 months I noticed a trend of approximately 72 previously licensed NS callsigns modified currently to dedicate 161.1150 mhz. for use either as one part of an enhanced safety RR milepost (MP) crossing system authorized for analog/NXDN emission modes. Most of these call signs were earlier issued and later modified.

During this period I also noticed a pattern of approximately 42 new NS licenses issued currently also to dedicate 161.5650 mhz. for use either as one part of an enhance safety RR milepost (MP) crossing system authorized for analog/NXDN emission modes.

All locations related to the various NS RR mileposts (MP) crossings include both unguarded/guarded.

A few new NS licenses were not for VA. For example, occasionally, mixed in was a NS RR milepost crossing in GA and TN also using 151.5650 mhz. So it's not limited to VA.

Although I have done numerous Google/NS/related industry searches, I cannot locate anything specific which discusses what appears to be a NS system wide project to enhance safety at all their MP crossings in multi-state routes.

All NS modified/new licenses were coordinated prior with the Association of American Railroads.

A few examples are:
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1. A recent license for NS Norfolk/Chesapeake RR milepost crossings which only will use only 161.5650 mhz.: (WQZA599)

ULS License - Industrial/Business Pool, Conventional License - WQZA599 - NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY - Frequencies Summary
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2. A recent license for NS selected SW rural mileposts RR crossings in the Bristol and selected county areas. Notice that both "161.1150" and "161.5650" are licensed either for appropriate control and/or mobile configurations and analog/NXDN emissions. (WPVZ360)

ULS License - Industrial/Business Pool, Conventional License - WPVZ360 - Norfolk Southern Railway Company - Frequencies Summary
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3. An earlier modified NS license for both "161.1150" and "161.5650" for Petersburg/Suffolk RR mileposts crossings. (KNDS979)

ULS License - Industrial/Business Pool, Conventional License - KNDS979 - Norfolk Southern Railway Company - Frequencies Summary
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So either "161.1150" or "161.5650" can be used, as appropriate, control/mobile frequency combinations for selected licensees. However most licenses I sight checked used only one frequency combination grouping.

Possibly "161.1150" with some exceptions (i.e. Manassas), currently, mostly is used in the Roanoke & related /SW/Western areas mileposts crossings for NXDN system control and analog warnings as appropriate.

Possibly "161.5650", with some exceptions currently, mostly will be used in Roanoke & related areas plus North/Central/Southern VA mileposts crossings for NXDN RR system control and analog warnings as appropriate.

If anyone has any specific information regarding this project focused on NS VA MP sites, or new confirmed NS RR project frequencies, please post to this thread.

For those with equipment for NXDN decoding capability, adding these two frequencies for a separate scanning file may get a "hit" whenever the enhanced system is testing or operational.

As this project evolves and progresses, I suspect a few more NS 160/161mhz. frequencies may be dedicated to this project only and licensed as necessary.

John
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Bote

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161.115MHz used to be Norfolk Southern's E.O.T. (end of train) device channel. It signals brake pipe pressure at the rear of the train to the head-end. But as far as I know everything has been converted to the UHF frequency pair.

So perhaps NS is simply refarming this freq that they have had for so long for data use into voice use and licensing it for digital use while they're at it.

The crossing gates don't talk to anything. The control points where switches can be lined by the dispatcher communicate via ATCS (Automatic Train Control System) with data bursts in the 900MHz ISM band.

The railroads have settled on NXDN or whatever the proper term is for the digital mode shared by Kenwood and Icom because they must interoperate with each other. Analog makes this a piece of cake, but with digital modes it matters. I can't imagine what NS would be doing special with this one frequency, so they're probably just bringing it into the fold of all their other voice allocations.
 

W4UVV

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NS 161.1150 mhz. & 161.5650 mhz.

161.115MHz used to be Norfolk Southern's E.O.T. (end of train) device channel. It signals brake pipe pressure at the rear of the train to the head-end. But as far as I know everything has been converted to the UHF frequency pair.

So perhaps NS is simply refarming this freq that they have had for so long for data use into voice use and licensing it for digital use while they're at it.

The crossing gates don't talk to anything. The control points where switches can be lined by the dispatcher communicate via ATCS (Automatic Train Control System) with data bursts in the 900MHz ISM band.

The railroads have settled on NXDN or whatever the proper term is for the digital mode shared by Kenwood and Icom because they must interoperate with each other. Analog makes this a piece of cake, but with digital modes it matters. I can't imagine what NS would be doing special with this one frequency, so they're probably just bringing it into the fold of all their other voice allocations.
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Your comment regarding 161.1150 mhz. for E. O. T. use is correct. My database shows five 161.1150 mhz. active licenses statewide for NS but most E.O.T's used in VA are selected frequencies in the 452 mhz. range.

Regarding 161.5650 mhz,. NS has been using it for locomotive control for which the numbers statewide are relatively small.

Time will tell what NS enhanced mileposts crossing signal system will be used. Apparently the present system controllers for the enhanced system will not change.

The NS Locomotive Repair facility in Roanoke, VA. has been testing NXDN comms for the past 5+ years. Beginning approximately two years ago NS started modifying and/or issuing new licenses for adding NXDN emission mode operation for ALL of their site licenses which continues almost averaging on a weekly basis.

I heard NXDN has been used at the NS coal loading pier in Norfolk over a year now.

John
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Bote

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Time will tell what NS enhanced mileposts crossing signal system will be used. Apparently the present system controllers for the enhanced system will not change.
Who came up with that phrase? I have never seen it and it is not just a little bit cumbersome. It isn't even clear from reading it what it means.

The railroads are slowly installing PTC (Positive Train Control) to keep the F.R.A. happy for passenger rail, but that operates on the 220MHz band.

Thanks.
 
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W4UVV

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If you can do better other than complaining do it!

Who came up with that phrase? I have never seen it and it is not just a little bit cumbersome. It isn't even clear from reading it what it means.

The railroads are slowly installing PTC (Positive Train Control) to keep the F.R.A. happy for passenger rail, but that operates on the 220MHz band.

Thanks.
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Bote:

First, reread the title of my first post on this subject. Notice there is a question mark after it! That means I didn't know for sure after researching what the exact "project" or subject name was, if any. I created that name only for the purpose as an initial attempt to better reflect a trend of what I have noticed occurring in NS Virginia licensing during the past 18+ month period.

Secondly, FYI I didn't not have to post anything on this subject. I did it as info to interested members of the Virginia RR forum who monitor different radio systems with "railroads" being one of the popular radio services in state. These NS modified and/or new licenses reflect trends for dedicated uses for 161.1150 mhz. and 161.5650 mhz. to NS RR mileposts crossings in state and as of yesterday, still continues with another new NS VA license adding a few more VA RR milepost crossings.

That's just too bad you don't like my posted subject's title. I don't take any pride in ownership of a title name. Therefore I highly recommend If you have specific NS in depth knowledge for this Virginia "project" or whatever and if you have a better descriptive title, post it; otherwise stop complaining!

Bote.....FYI NS also has routes in Florida where you live and probably will install the same "project" on their RR mileposts crossings in state there also. It may be a more productive use of your time and certainly will be for mine.

John
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n4jri

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If anyone has any specific information regarding this project focused on NS VA MP sites, or new confirmed NS RR project frequencies, please post to this thread.

For those with equipment for NXDN decoding capability, adding these two frequencies for a separate scanning file may get a "hit" whenever the enhanced system is testing or operational.

As this project evolves and progresses, I suspect a few more NS 160/161mhz. frequencies may be dedicated to this project only and licensed as necessary.

John
W4UVV
I believe I'm hearing digital data bursts on 161.565, primarily in Chesapeake around the Southern Branch and possibly Portlock. Nothing so far on 161.115. Nothing sounding like NXDN at this time.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 

W4UVV

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More monitoring is needed

I believe I'm hearing digital data bursts on 161.565, primarily in Chesapeake around the Southern Branch and possibly Portlock. Nothing so far on 161.115. Nothing sounding like NXDN at this time.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
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Allen,

Absent of a formal notification to the public by NS or CSX, monitoring both frequencies such as you are doing is the only way I can think of to eventually determine their use in what I call the NS/CSX enhanced RR MP safety crossing efforts. I can be 100% wrong in my conclusion as to their use.

NS and to a lesser extent CSX, obviously have some system wide plan to use these two plus possible additional vhf RR frequencies to have been modifying their existing FCC licenses or issuing new ones for over 9 plus months now and continue to do so.

When such an effort is tested, operational and functioning in the future, regardless of these two frequencies or others, both railroads will promote to the public how RR safety has been enhanced along their multi-state routes. No doubt there will be press releases whenever it is operational at some time in the future. But at this time everything is speculative guessing.

John
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