• I need help understanding parts of the transmitions

  • Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.
Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by haidan
I was wondering if someone could give me some help in understanding the format that dispatcher/head use in comunicating time of departure and destination and cargo. Please if an engineer could run me though this it would make spotting the nice trains a lot easier. thanks

  by jmp883
Each railroad is different. I worked in the NJ Transit dispatch office during 2002. Obviously NJT's trains run on a published schedule at the same times everday. However we still needed to know what the train consists were, and who the crews were, each day. On the desk I worked (the Mainline) the conductor or engineer called us via telephone and 'marked up'. The 'mark up' consisted of engineer's name, conductor's name, train #, engine #, cab car #, and number of cars in the train. We would then advise them of the current bulletin orders in effect, whether or not there were any Form D's they would need to copy, and that they were clear to depart as scheduled (all other things being in order).

I didn't work on the NJT's M&E line but their desks were right next to the Mainline, so we could hear them. I do believe the crews would mark up via phone they same way they did on the Mainline, but then they would also do a radio check with the M&E dispatcher. During the radio check they would also give the loco #, cab car #, and number of cars in the train. Often the dispatcher would answer the radio check and end it with all the information that we would give over the phone.

The other desks in the office were the North Jersey Coast Line, Atlantic City Line, and the Raritan Valley Line. I believe they marked up the same way the Mainline did.

The freights and the NJT specials would also mark up via telephone. On the radio we would advise them when they would be moving and to look for a signal giving them that authority.

Obviously I've been out of NJT for a few years now, and maybe I don't have it remembered correctly. If anyone can update, correct it, or let me know I got it basically right I'd appreciate it. Old age is a bitch (40 is old?)!!

  by EdM
yeh, so do I. Problem is that the guys know what is going to be said, cause they said the same thing to each other yesterday, and last week and last year... Ed

  by Otto Vondrak
What kind of "nice trains" are you looking for anyway? What do you care what's in them? Talk like that is only going to make us look at you with suspicious eyes. Railroad dispatchers are only concerned with moving the trains over the road safely, not their contents.

If you listen to the same railroad channel, you'll start to recognize landmarks and train schedules on your own. Freight trains don't run on set schedules so much as passenger trains. However, you'll probably notice a pattern of movements over the same stretch of track.

  by Mark
With regards to the individual seeking information regarding how to determine train schedules as well as the contents of the railcar shipments - be advised that the TSA requires a) that all railroad personnel involved in the handling of trains receive specialized training in security awareness and response; b) that all such inquiries be regarded as suspicious; c) that reporting such suspicious activity to company and/or federal authorities is, without exception, mandatory. I am with CSX. I am more than a little alarmed at the confidential information I am seeing requested in this particular posting. Rest assured that this site and others like it are monitored very carefully by Homeland Security through the auspices of the TSA. Now, no one wants to hurt those many, well-intended, innocent folks who are indulging a harmless hobby. You must understand however, that it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the level of security necessary to protect the general public from terrorist attacks on railroads and at the same time accurately discern potential terrorists from those who pursue train watching merely as a harmless hobby. My advice to all those involved in posting to this site, and to those who administrate it is simple. Police yourselves and no one will be forced to do it for you. Don't ruin it for everybody, or we may not have fine sites such as this any longer.

  by slchub
Well stated Mark!