Railfanning Freight Question

ratboy

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 3, 2004
Messages
873
Location
Toledo,Ohio
If you are serious about rail listening, you need to move near busy tracks like the NS Chicago line, and you don't really need to worry much about if there will be trains or not. Unless there is a wreck someplace blocking both tracks, there will be a train soon. My biggest hit nights all but one came after the tracks were opened after wrecks West or East of Toledo, and as soon as the dispatcher said, "They are about ready to open one of the tracks and get things going", I was grabbing my keys and loading up my dogs. The oddball night was when a friend of mine wanted to try watching trains and we hit the jackpot with Eastbound after Eastbound, with over a dozen in less than an hour, then the Westbounds started and they didn't stop even after we left, as we both had to work that night. He had a good time, but close to where he lives in Columbus, he was disappointed when he took his son to watch and saw like 3 in 2 hours. He said that first time in Holland spoiled him. I told him I had rarely seen as many trains as we did in a lifetime of train watching, which I was doing almost from birth with Toledo Terminal RR tracks behind our house. I told him he had seen an entire normal day's worth of trains in about 4 hours. I've only seen traffic like that a half dozen times in my life, and a couple of those times were in Chicago, which is insanely busy, but with too many commuter trains, which I don't care about at all. Freights for me, the TTRR got me hooked before I could talk.
 

N8FNR

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
54
Location
Royal Oak Michigan USA
What you can do to give you some advance warning is get scanner or receiver that can receive the road frequency for the rail line in question. As you gain experience with monitoring the railroad, you'll figure out where the automatic defect detectors are located. When you hear the detectors, you'll know where the trains are. You can also monitor the rear-end devices on 452.9375 and 457.9375 MHz. When you hear the data burst on those frequencies, a train will be close.
Listening for EOT data bursts are a great way to tell when trains are nearby.
 
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