Old 07-27-2007, 03:35 AM   #1
E-diddy!
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I've been doing the aviation photography thing for quite some time and I screen photos over on Jetphotos, being that I've lived very near to a rail yard for almost a year, and there's a track heading into it that runs within a hundred yards of my apartment, I was wondering really how you guys know when a train is coming...or do you just sit there and wait for it? I'm not really game for just sitting and waiting because lets face it, I look bad enough standing by the runway, the train tracks seems a little, well, odd (no offence ).
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:38 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums here. Most of us use a scanner and can hear trains and dispatchers talking so that gives a head's up. Otherwise, looking online or talking to other railfans you can find alot of info on when certain trains run not to mention befriending someone in the industry who can help out...
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:43 AM   #3
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Scanner is my best friend!

On most occasions, I don't leave the vehicle until I hear something calling the block I'm in

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Old 07-27-2007, 03:59 AM   #4
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Holy crap there's somebody else in grand forks...

Well I'm just north of campus about to head down to the railyard right now, I just stand just outside the rail property on campus and UPD has never cared about me being there, as far as scanners go, I have one thats like an all-purpose scanner, what frequency band do the trains use?
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Old 07-27-2007, 04:07 AM   #5
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Welcome to the world of railfanning! Please be sure to leave your sanity by the door after entering...

No, seriously, here are a couple links:
http://www2.fwi.com/~rrradioman/freqs.html
http://zippy.ci.uiuc.edu/~roma/rr-freqs/index-old.html

Most railroad frequencies are roughly between 160.000 and 162.000 Mhz. All are assigned an "AAR Channel" number. Someone from the Grand Forks area can probably give you the actual frequency for that area.
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Old 07-27-2007, 04:29 AM   #6
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There are a few railfans from The Forks that display their work here, some of whom are also UND students. If you want all the info on the area (frequencies, train schedules, etc.), check out the Grand Forks Railfanning Yahoo! Group linked below. That's easier than standing trackside waiting!
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Old 07-27-2007, 04:45 AM   #7
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I sit and wait....
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Old 07-28-2007, 08:23 PM   #8
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I bought a scanner in 99 or 2000. Was a real POS. Most of the times I actually saw the train before I heard anything on the scanner which, of course, defeats the purpose. The exception was the Lancaster and Chester here in SC. Except that back then, they ran mostly one train a day and were pretty easy to find.

One day after missing something I had went out to chase because of the scanner, I rolled down the car window and threw it out. It felt good. Until I looked over in the passenger seat and saw the look on my wife's face that told me I had just done something I should not have done. I did go back and pick it up -- piece by piece -- and took it home to throw it away properly.

Still have not bought a replacement scanner six years later and honestly, I kinda like having to hunt trains down by signals and hunches and, well, sometimes just getting plain lucky. Also, not having a scanner allows for things like actual conversations between people or listening to the radio or CDs.


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Old 07-29-2007, 02:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Still have not bought a replacement scanner six years later and honestly, I kinda like having to hunt trains down by signals and hunches and, well, sometimes just getting plain lucky. Also, not having a scanner allows for things like actual conversations between people or listening to the radio or CDs.
That's like using a wheel chair when you're not crippled! What's next, not using a car and chasing on foot?!?
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Old 07-29-2007, 03:31 PM   #10
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I'd guess about a third of my photos are from lucky timing, a third from knowing a scheduled train was coming, and the other third from hearing something on a scanner (not mine, but a couple of my friends who I often meet up with. And speaking of a scanner, I just bought one for myself for my birthday last week. Should be in the mail sometime in the next few days. My picture taking will increase while my gas wasted will decrease! )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog

Still have not bought a replacement scanner six years later and honestly, I kinda like having to hunt trains down by signals and hunches and, well, sometimes just getting plain lucky. Also, not having a scanner allows for things like actual conversations between people or listening to the radio or CDs.


Joe

I'm kind of with you on that one, Joe. There's nothing like waiting trackside in the middle of nowhere and you suddenly hear a horn off in the distance. Many times I get lucky and a head to a location where I want to get a photo and within minutes a train comes. Other times, nothing and a little wasted gas. Once I get a scanner, I'm going to miss those times where I was out blindly railfanning. Then again, I can always just turn it off. On second thought, NO!

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Originally Posted by Ween
That's like using a wheel chair when you're not crippled! What's next, not using a car and chasing on foot?!?
Hey, I know a couple in their early 20's who can't afford a car and chase trains around town on their bikes!

Last edited by JimThias; 07-29-2007 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:50 PM   #11
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Welcome to the world of Railfanning E-Diddy!...

Funny, I live near McCarron (KLAS) here in Vegas...I just started shooting some images to hopefully post over on Jetphotos! Good luck on your railfanning adventures.
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Old 08-14-2007, 08:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-diddy!
I've been doing the aviation photography thing for quite some time and I screen photos over on Jetphotos, being that I've lived very near to a rail yard for almost a year, and there's a track heading into it that runs within a hundred yards of my apartment, I was wondering really how you guys know when a train is coming...or do you just sit there and wait for it? I'm not really game for just sitting and waiting because lets face it, I look bad enough standing by the runway, the train tracks seems a little, well, odd (no offence ).

Hi and welcome ! We usually use a radio scanner. Sometimes you can track one on the net. But thats usually hard. Sitting around is a surefire way to miss a train.
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Union Pacific Fan
Hi and welcome ! We usually use a radio scanner. Sometimes you can track one on the net. But thats usually hard. Sitting around is a surefire way to miss a train.
Actually, hand held scanners are plentiful on the net. Just do a google search.
I gave in a bought one a couple of weeks ago. I'm definitely going to miss not having a scanner when I'm railfanning. (uhh, not really! )
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Old 08-15-2007, 05:13 PM   #14
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On the BNSF, I know where they are, and on the UP, 95% of the time the line I fan is backed up and there are stopped trains every mile or so, so I just drive to them. All other lines its a crapshoot.

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Old 08-15-2007, 06:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Actually, hand held scanners are plentiful on the net. Just do a google search.
I gave in a bought one a couple of weeks ago. I'm definitely going to miss not having a scanner when I'm railfanning. (uhh, not really! )

I know about getting scanners on the net. But sometimes (sometimes-okay,rarely) you can trace trains on the net.
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