Hi; I live near the CSX River sub qr 8 in Teaneck NJ. I use a Yaesu VX-150 or Yaesu FT-60R, with a Ringo Ranger ARX-2B on the house up about 35ft from the ground. I am about 85ft above sea level here. On most days I can hear action south past Newark, and north to about CP 43 Fort Montgomery. Of course all depends on the radio and antenna on the locomotive, weather conditions, and season. I am able to hear the detectors at Bogota NJ (mp 7.2), Orangeburg NY (mp 20.5) and Stony Point (mp 38.5). The farthest north on the River sub I have ever heard the locomotive crew (readable) was CP45. I can often hear the dispatcher's radio farther north of that, talking to trains at Newburgh to Milton, but never heard a train from that far north.
This evening, listening on my FT-60R, I heard the dispatcher giving a train order to a train I could not hear (although I thought I might have just barely heard an unintelligible signal from that train) and referring to mile points "QG" ( I don't recall the mileposts). Knowing that QG is not the River sub, I looked it up to find that's the Castleton sub, running from the NY/MA line to CPSK. It seems odd that I should be able to pick up anything that far north, and yet on the 2m amateur band there does not appear to be anything going on. When the band is open, I can usually hear the repeater in Albany, and sometimes one in Rhode Island, and another in Massachusetts. In addition, I found nothing on the 2m propagation map that would indicate a band opening. So, I'm wondering whether I might have been hearing the dispatcher's radio from somewhere around Newburgh (which pretty much matches the signal quality I heard tonight), giving the train orders to a northbound train that would be heading onto the Castleton sub. Usually the orders aren't given so far in advance, but who knows. The signal I heard did not flutter like those during a long-distance band opening (tropospheric ducting) do, so I'm thinking that my guess is correct.