Via Rail Canada

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gary123

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Does anyone know if VIA passenger trains using the PTC 220Mhz freq system. There are a couple of online sites showing the positions of the trains along with their speed. I suspect GPS based tracking but have been unable to find the link from the train to RTC.
 

Saint

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Does anyone know if VIA passenger trains using the PTC 220Mhz freq system. There are a couple of online sites showing the positions of the trains along with their speed. I suspect GPS based tracking but have been unable to find the link from the train to RTC.
Don't no about the PTC 220MHZ system but I have these frequencies in my scanner down here in Fort Erie and have never picked up anything on them,
461.2125
160.7700
160.2000
451.7250
463.9625
Steve
 

gary123

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160.200 is confirmed with a pl of 186.2. That is the VIA passenger crew.
I have checked the trains for HOT(452.9375) and EOT(457.9375). Freights use them but not the VIA trains.

Locally The trains are heard on CN mainline(161.415) and RTC (161.025). I am trying to locate how the train positions are being tracked on the websites. Right now I am thinking GPS to cellular or piggy backing on the WIFI system.
 

mciupa

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Does anyone know if VIA passenger trains using the PTC 220Mhz freq system. There are a couple of online sites showing the positions of the trains along with their speed. I suspect GPS based tracking but have been unable to find the link from the train to RTC.
Which website?
This sounds interesting, lots of Rail activity in and around Toronto, would love to give the online sites a try.
 

mikewazowski

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I tracked my parents trip on the Canadian a few years ago and assumed it was done through satellite or whatever system they use for WiFi.

As far as I know, there isn't any PTC in Canada.
 

gary123

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The tracking site I prefer is VIA Rail Moving Maps this site is accurate to the minute. The only thing I dont like is that it only tracks one train at a time and not all the VIA trains in an area.

As far as active freqs are concerned I do use TAFL and some other more sophisticated apparatus for sweeping the spectrum. Sadly I cant drag this hardware around and have it active when I need it for personal projects like this.
 

gary123

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Had a chance to abuse my seniority. I got several strong hits coming off a VIA train in the 2500Mhz area (specifically (2536.4875) . The train was empty but the hits came regularly about every 50 seconds or so. The packets appeared to be more than just channel idle markers. My guess is this is the outbound data being sent to the system ??

I talked to a trains engineer and was informed that although he did not know anything about the tracking he did say that the train did report back items like engine performance, air pressures etc. My interpretation is more or less its a real time black box system and that VIA just peels off the gps info and supplies that to the tracking web sites.

I did try for other freight trains but got nothing in that band so either they dont have the capabilty or its not being sent.
 

gary123

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That may not be as surprising as it seems. They may be using that band for exactly that reason. They can have the engine?? go anywhere in Canada or certainly Ontario and have a carrier available.

I am assuming that these bursts are the telemetry we have been hunting if not we are back to square one. I was not set to capture or decode the data being sent and that sounds like way too much work to even attempt it. A lot of R&D would be needed to identify the package format of the data before an attempt to identify the contents could be started.

At this point Im prepared to let it sit until we can 100% identify the methods used to send the location/speed data. If that happens we can revisit whats happening and attempt to decode or log it..
 

iceman977th

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The sites are probably using data from the railroads in some form of cellular based GPS tracking for their systems. asm.transitdocs.com is one for Amtrak in the US. Probably used by the RR to determine schedule changes on the fly.

The data wouldn’t be coming from PTC, since that info has been available before the PTC network was even in place. I would guess PTC does relay position info though as a way of tracking in the system, since the purpose of PTC is speed enforcement based on the train’s location.

I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much.

Mike
 
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