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flight aware

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flight aware
Posted by longjon on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 2:18 PM

I use a web site, www.flightaware.com where you can track any airplane in the air.  It seems that every airplane must report to the FAA every few minutes its lattitude, longitude, direction, speed, and elevation.   You can see every transmission and watch the progress of the plane from liftoff to destination.  Wouldn't that be great for tracking trains?  Anyone know of a site like this for trains?

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Posted by 4merroad4man on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 4:20 PM

Not that I am aware of, and I suspect the reason.

While each airline is an individual business, the control of all aircraft would fall under the control of FAA controllers and therefore, one universal tracking system.

Each railroad is an individual business, but each company's trains fall under their own dispatchers and tracking systems, so there is no universal clearing house for real time info like the FAA.  And each railroad has been ratcheting up security, so any kind of access or info will be harder and harder to obtain.

Serving Los Gatos and The Santa Cruz Mountains with the Legendary Colors of the Espee. "Your train, your train....It's MY train!" Papa Boule to Labische in "The Train"
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Posted by carnej1 on Friday, May 1, 2009 5:14 PM

longjon

I use a web site, www.flightaware.com where you can track any airplane in the air.  It seems that every airplane must report to the FAA every few minutes its lattitude, longitude, direction, speed, and elevation.   You can see every transmission and watch the progress of the plane from liftoff to destination.  Wouldn't that be great for tracking trains?  Anyone know of a site like this for trains?

INM some of the big RR's and RR logistics companies have offered near real time tracking of freight shipments to customers. I know one of the reasons this has not been made available to the railfan communities is security concerns as well as protecting the privacy of shippers. The same situation applies with big trucking companies whose rigs have GPS tracking..

"I Often Dream of Trains"-From the Album of the Same Name by Robyn Hitchcock

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Saturday, May 2, 2009 9:03 AM

The data being used in flight aware is the result of the FAA tracking every plane in its system in real time by radar, except certain over ocean flights which operate on an assumed position basis.  Flights not in its system (VFR flights) are excluded.

The railroads have no need for such precision, nor do they care about the location of a competitor's trains.

 

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Sunday, May 3, 2009 12:44 PM

Dakguy201

The data being used in flight aware is the result of the FAA tracking every plane in its system in real time by radar, except certain over ocean flights which operate on an assumed position basis.  Flights not in its system (VFR flights) are excluded.

The railroads have no need for such precision, nor do they care about the location of a competitor's trains.

Add to that - in the present/ post 9-1-1 climate, NOBODY is going to give would-be and wannabe terrorists any info they might be able to use.  A train can be wrecked using simple, easily portable tools.  The same is not true for an aircraft flying at 30K.

It's the world we live in, folks.  Too bad it's gotten so thoroughly screwed up.

Chuck

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Monday, May 11, 2009 2:11 PM

Per the info for the "Moffat Tunnel CTC" display at:

http://www.coloradorailfan.com/data/atcs/atcs.asp 

it seems as if the ATCS = "Advanced Train Control System" transmissions would fill the bill for what yo'ure looking for (note: I've never used or even seen it live myself, so this is a "blind faith" suggestion).  That site links to:

 http://www.atcsmon.com/ = "ATCS Monitor for Windows, Latest version is 3.8.0, dated 11/29/2008", so it seems to be fairly recent and likely still "live". 

Good luck with it.  If you get involved with this, please let us know how it goes.  Thanks.

- Paul North.

 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:12 PM

Paul_D_North_Jr

Per the info for the "Moffat Tunnel CTC" display at:

http://www.coloradorailfan.com/data/atcs/atcs.asp 

it seems as if the ATCS = "Advanced Train Control System" transmissions would fill the bill for what yo'ure looking for (note: I've never used or even seen it live myself, so this is a "blind faith" suggestion).  That site links to:

 http://www.atcsmon.com/ = "ATCS Monitor for Windows, Latest version is 3.8.0, dated 11/29/2008", so it seems to be fairly recent and likely still "live". 

Good luck with it.  If you get involved with this, please let us know how it goes.  Thanks.

- Paul North.

 

It exists. It works.  But, it is not as extensive or comprehensive as the FAA location reportings.

The basis of the system is RRs using a standard radio-based code line protocol for CTC territory.  The data packets are built and broadcast "in the open" so that anybody with a receiver can receive them and potentailly decode them. 

The ATCS moniker comes from the AAR's "Advanced Train Control System" effort of the late 80s.   They hired ARINC to write specs for what was the forerunner of what is now called CBTC and/or PTC.  The only spec to catch on was the radio-based code line.  Most RRs have some of this in places on their system - but by no means is it universal.

Some bright fellow, somewhere, took the time to write software to decode the data packets and show their information on a dispatcher's "track line" view. He made his software available to others.  Other folk have done the heavy lifting of putting received radio traffic out on the internet.  So, using the combination of the ATCSmon software and the internet radio traffic, you can see a track line view of many RR lines in real time.

The track line view will show switch position, cleared routes, and occupied track at and between control points.  It DOESN'T show ANY train specific information.  In fact, you'll get more precise and detailed train information listening for trains to hit defect detectors than you can get from ATCSmon, so there is no worry about the increased potential for mischief by this being available.

And, since the safety function is still executed locally at the control point, there are no safety implications, even if some genius decide to broadcast ATCS data.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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