NS frequency changes system wide

RadioDitch

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This is all part of Mike Farrell's "Clean Sheeting" program that is focused on reducing perceived inefficiencies and wasteful spending systemwide through all departments by looking at things at a local level, one region at a time. Closing yards, reducing the workforce, selling assets, combining dispatcher territories, and simplifying communications are all among the aspects of it. Of course, he is EHH's former protege for over 30 years...so we'll see how it works out.
 

ai8o

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While looking for the NS website I discovered a "nsrr.com - Domain Name For Sale " sales notice.

WOW!!
I think Mike Farrell's "Clean Sheeting" program of selling assets has gone a little too far.

If I was NS I'd be afraid that some competitor or hacker would buy this Domain Name and start posting derogatory webpages, using it against NS interests.
 

ai8o

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I see that this thread has been made into a sticky.

Good Idea.

The evolution of NS radio systems is going to be a LONG, drawn out process.
The narrow-banding change over took over 10 years, and that process had a clear goal.
These newest radio system changes do not have a clear plan or goal, just a mandate to save money on the NS.
At this time, NO one knows what will be changed or cut.

As I see the NS radio system, NS is ONE corporation; but, operationally, it is three separate systems, even though they connect at various points.

1) The old Southern/N&W Mainline from DC to New Orleans and its' subdivisions,
2) the old CNO&TP mainline from Cincinnati to New Orleans, and its' subdivisions
3) the old Conrail/Pennsy/NYC lines north of the Mason-Dixon line, and its' subdivisions.

Each of these three operating areas have their own separate sets of radio frequencies, and communication networks inherited from their predecessor railroads.

Maybe one day there will be a seamless radio system; but for now, it is three separate radio systems.

As WA4PYR metioned in his posting, requesting additional location data in posts in this thread, discussion of changes on one division, mixed in with discussions about changes on other divisions, is confusing.

Perhaps the " NS frequency changes system wide" sticky thread should be broken into three separate threads.
1) NS South (DC to New Orleans)
2) NS West (Cincinnati to New Orleans),
3) NS North (north of the Mason-Dixon line)
 

W9BU

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Don't forget the former NKP and Wabash lines from Detroit to St. Louis and Buffalo to Kansas City.

BTW, the east and west ends of sidings on the Wabash through Indiana and Illinois got separate names several years ago.
 

wa8pyr

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These newest radio system changes do not have a clear plan or goal, just a mandate to save money on the NS.
At this time, NO one knows what will be changed or cut.
Actually, there is a fairly clear goal, according to my contacts: improve operational efficiency and safety by putting road ops and dispatcher ops on separate channels. This isn't based so much on cost-savings as it is on safety. In the minds of many it's long overdue, as the increase in radio communications means more chances for interference the way things are right now on the former CR and N&W lines.

As I see the NS radio system, NS is ONE corporation; but, operationally, it is three separate systems, even though they connect at various points.

1) The old Southern/N&W Mainline from DC to New Orleans and its' subdivisions,
2) the old CNO&TP mainline from Cincinnati to New Orleans, and its' subdivisions
3) the old Conrail/Pennsy/NYC lines north of the Mason-Dixon line, and its' subdivisions.

Each of these three operating areas have their own separate sets of radio frequencies, and communication networks inherited from their predecessor railroads.

Maybe one day there will be a seamless radio system; but for now, it is three separate radio systems.
Actually I would alter that arrangement as follows:

1. Former Conrail lines
2. Former N&W lines (including NKP/WAB)
3. Former Southern lines (including CNO&TP)

The radio systems on each of these were pretty well established by the time Conrail was (alas) merged mostly out of existence.

In general, Conrail lines use one of four channels for road/dispatcher; N&W lines generally use one of three channels, and Southern lines use one channel for road and another (half-duplex) for dispatcher.

As I see it, all they're doing is 1) moving dispatcher communications off to a separate channel to prevent lengthy chats with the dispatcher from interrupting road communications (and vice-versa), and 2) ensuring that dispatcher desks don't share road and dispatcher channels, to prevent adjacent lines from interfering with each other. Not particularly complicated, just a matter of reconfiguring wayside base stations and putting out a bulletin order.

Changing frequencies and adding a channel 2 (if it isn't there already) are pretty much just a matter of programming. I suspect it will mostly happen on Southern lines first, as the wayside base stations are already set up to do Channel 2. As long as there are no filters involved (requiring tuning), reconfiguring a wayside base station would probably take no more than an hour.

Perhaps the " NS frequency changes system wide" sticky thread should be broken into three separate threads.
1) NS South (DC to New Orleans)
2) NS West (Cincinnati to New Orleans),
3) NS North (north of the Mason-Dixon line)
Let's leave it in one thread for right now; if things get hectic consideration can be made toward splitting it out. However, if we do split them out, it would probably be based more on separate "Conrail / N&W / Southern" threads, or perhaps making it division-based.
 
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iceman977th

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The big question is.. when are they going to give PTC their own channel? Everytime I turn around, someone is toning up PTC..

Mike
 

wa8pyr

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The big question is.. when are they going to give PTC their own channel? Everytime I turn around, someone is toning up PTC.
Yeah, usually because the dang PTC isn't working again.

But I completely agree; between normal road ops, the Kenova and Sandusky dispatchers and PTC, the road channel here is generally pretty busy on weekdays.

If they do it like CSX did their Mechanical Desk, they would start using the ARN repeaters for calling the PTC desk; at the very least use the dispatcher channel once it's separated.
 

iceman977th

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Yeah, usually because the dang PTC isn't working again.

But I completely agree; between normal road ops, the Kenova and Sandusky dispatchers and PTC, the road channel here is generally pretty busy on weekdays.

If they do it like CSX did their Mechanical Desk, they would start using the ARN repeaters for calling the PTC desk; at the very least use the dispatcher channel once it's separated.
Nice thing about NS is, if PTC doesn't work, they just say they don't need it. If it doesn't work on CSX, it requires 78 forms in triplicate, a printed letter from the CEO, a blessing from God, and everything short of buying a new locomotive to run without it. In otherwards.. they don't let it happen, period. ACE (the NRT replacement) was delayed for 45 minutes departing Huntington because of PTC.. then it went out again at Cotton Hill, so we had to stop at Hawks Nest to get it reset. It was ridiculous..

Mike
 

ai8o

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<<<Changing frequencies and adding a channel 2 (if it isn't there already) are pretty much just a matter of programming.

<<<<I suspect it will mostly happen on Southern lines first,as the wayside base stations are already set up to do Channel 2.


This is already the case on the ex Southern lines.
They are already setup as Channel 1( road ops), Channel 2 ( dispatch ).

The only change on the ex southern mainlines, is channel two (Dispatch) is going from (160.245/160.830 semi duplex) to 161.310 Simplex.

They have been for years this way for years,
<<<<As long as there are no filters involved (requiring tuning), reconfiguring a wayside base station would probably take no more than an hour.
The only reconfiguration needed on the ex Southern lines, is switching from (160.245/160.830 semi duplex) to 161.310 Simplex.

Many of the on the ex Southern lines wayside base stations have multiple channels installed.
Channel 1 (road),
Channel 2 (dispatch),
MoW,
ARN,
161.490.

Not all base stations are setup like this, but on the ex Southern lines, many are.
 
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ai8o

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Well it appears that NS Piedmont Div has totally gone over to 161.310.

I haven't heard a peep on 160.245/160.83 (channel two) in over a week.

Still hearing activity on 160.95 (Road channel).

I haven't heard anything on 160.515 (K line).
I don't know if I am just too far away, or what.
 

wa8pyr

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Well it appears that NS Piedmont Div has totally gone over to 161.310.

I haven't heard a peep on 160.245/160.83 (channel two) in over a week.

Still hearing activity on 160.95 (Road channel).

I haven't heard anything on 160.515 (K line).
I don't know if I am just too far away, or what.
Has the entire division switched to 161.310 for dispatcher? More to the point, how many desks handle the Piedmont Division, and what are the names?
 

N4DJC

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I heard some traffic on 160.245. Fair amount on 161.310.

Is 160.830 no longer being used?
 

ai8o

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I heard some traffic on 160.245. Fair amount on 161.310.

Is 160.830 no longer being used?
On the NS lines between DC and New Orleans , the hemi duplex Channel Two (160.245/160.830) is being phased out.

This all division/everywhere Dispatch channel is being replaced with each division having its own unique, divisional channel two.

The new divisional channel two will all be simplex.
That means 160.830 will not be needed all over the NS territories and can be reassigned.

In the RR database for NC, I read that this frequency has been reassigned for use as a Road Channel in subdivisions K,L,N and O.
All these are subs off the NS mainline in NC.

I'm sure similar changes will be happening sooner or later in SC,GA,MS.AL, and LA.
 

ai8o

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On the NS lines between DC and New Orleans , the hemi duplex Channel Two (160.245/160.830) is being phased out.

This all division/everywhere dispatch channel two is being replaced with each division having its own unique, divisional channel two.

I am located near Spencer Yard in NC, and regularly heard NS dispatchers in Danville, Charlotte, Atlanta, and more rarely, PTC Support,
using remote bases at Spencer Yard, Salisbury, and Winston-Salem.

As they were talking, they were being carried on all three remote bases simultaneously.

ALL this radio traffic was funneled into one channel.
Because of the Hemi-Duplex nature of this channel two, dispatchers were not aware of others trying to talk on the same channel.

I often heard them mutually interfering with each other.
Train crews would have to say "repeat, again, again you got stepped on".


I think the reason for this was that the dispatchers and PTC Support people were hundreds of miles away, didn't have clear idea of what remote base served what area, so rather than trying to figure out which remote base served the area they were interested in, they would just turn on all the remote bases in an area.

Each division having its own unique channel two will mean more radio channels, consequently less interference, and dispatchers will not have to listen to radio traffic from areas they don't control.
 

wa8pyr

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On the NS lines between DC and New Orleans , the hemi duplex Channel Two (160.245/160.830) is being phased out.

This all division/everywhere dispatch channel two is being replaced with each division having its own unique, divisional channel two.
As I understand it from multiple sources, each dispatcher desk will have a separate dispatcher radio channel so as not to interfere with other desks. This extends to the road channels as well, to avoid adjacent districts interfering with each other.

We've already seen it in Ohio; the Dayton District (former CR Cincinnati Line) has been set up to use 160.980 (the former combined road/DS channel) as Road, and 161.475 as Dispatcher for the Cincinnati desk. It's been used by the DS a couple of times but they haven't phased it in yet, so officially everything is still on the 160.980 channel.

Time will tell how this all plays out, but anything has got to be better than the status quo; around me, the Kenova and Sandusky dispatchers are constantly competing for airtime on 161.190 with each other, the dang PTC desk, train crews and defect detectors. It's a complete Charlie Foxtrot.
 

milf

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Finally catching on to what has worked for all these years with CSXT, CN/IC, and everyone else. Break it down into simpler zones etc.
 

ai8o

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As I understand it from multiple sources, each dispatcher desk will have a separate dispatcher radio channel so as not to interfere with other desks. This extends to the road channels as well, to avoid adjacent districts interfering with each other.
Yes! Exactly.

This will keep interference down.
There will be less distractions for dispatchers.
They won't have to stop what they are doing, every time the radio squawks. .

It will also allow dispatchers to pay more attention to planning moves.
Now that there will be less traffic on their dispatch desk radio.

Now with less traffic, every time the radio squawks, they will know that they need to pay attention to the radio.
 

RadioDitch

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As I understand it from multiple sources, each dispatcher desk will have a separate dispatcher radio channel so as not to interfere with other desks. This extends to the road channels as well, to avoid adjacent districts interfering with each other.
Already in effect for the Allegheny Dispatcher and Harrisburg Terminal Dispatcher (west of Cannon) in Pennsylvania. Hagerstown Dispatcher starts after January 1st I think, but I might be wrong. Basically the same idea as CSX, to get forms and authorities off the road channel.
 

wa8pyr

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Already in effect for the Allegheny Dispatcher and Harrisburg Terminal Dispatcher (west of Cannon) in Pennsylvania. Hagerstown Dispatcher starts after January 1st I think, but I might be wrong. Basically the same idea as CSX, to get forms and authorities off the road channel.
Have you got the frequencies? I'm working on a spreadsheet to list out all the changes systemwide.
 

RadioDitch

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Have you got the frequencies? I'm working on a spreadsheet to list out all the changes systemwide.
For Allegheny Dispatcher, I don't off the top of my head. For Harrisburg Terminal (Cannon to McVey only) the secondary is 160.350, with 160.860 as the road channel effective 10/13/19.
 
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