Old 08-04-2008, 10:23 PM   #1
AmericanAirFan
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Question Train Schedules and Frequencies for trains in Round Rock, Texas on McNeil Road??

I'm not much of a train spotter. Sometimes I bike ride over to the tracks and wait for like an hour in hopes of a train coming sometimes they come sometimes they don't. When they don't I'm pretty upset cause I just wasted an hour and a half waiting then I'll bike home just as I get home I'll hear a train horn.... Frustrates me to no end. I go to the tracks along McNeil Road in Round Rock, TX. For anyone who may not know where that is here's a link to the map.

Map of McNeil Road

Also further up McNeil road where it intersects I-35 there is a track that comes from the north and converges with the other track that comes from the west along McNeil road and it goes to a set of double tracks which is where the trains will generally stop and wait for the other train to pass etc. I know that at sometime in the early evening at an unknown time a rock train comes down from the North track fully loaded and chugging along going really slow as it struggles to gain speed It hits the mainline at the double tracks. next to Park Lane, on the east side of I-35 (McNeil Road being on the west side of I-35). Any one who wants to see where that is too here's a map of there as well...

Map of Park Lane

So all in all I have lived here for like 16 years and I'm a pretty clueless train geek I immerse myself in aviation and plane spotting and that's pretty easy with flight trackers and all these aviation databases but when it comes to trains there is no website that will tell you times at which trains come by and what times etc. because I'm sure the schedule is not as rigid as the aviation industry is. So to sum it up. I'm looking for anyone on these forums that is from Round Rock or knows anything about the trains that run through this part of Round Rock and could tell me if there is a schedule that some trains follow. Also I have an air band radio but I have no clue what frequencies to check how could I find that out? Last but not least that rock train I mentioned it comes from a Quarry up north that is loaded up every day near Georgetown then it goes down south on that line and joins the mainline at McNeil Road and I-35. I'm wondering is there a set time that that train departs? This Friday evening I am planning on spotting on the other side of the tracks by Park Lane and the double tracks but I don't wanna sit and wait endlessly if I know somewhat of a schedule.

Sorry for this unorganized post but I am full of questions and I don't even know if I'll get any answers here but if someone could point me in the right direction that would help too! Thanks for any valuable information that anyone here may be able to provide.

Sincerely, Justin Sutton

Last edited by AmericanAirFan; 08-04-2008 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:05 PM   #2
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What line is it? BNSF? UP? CSX?


Find frequencies for the nearest city or yard, and whatever railroad owns the line. Then you will be set, somewhat at least.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:48 PM   #3
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Well this railroad line is a mainline it is shared by BNSF, UP, NS, CSX, and Amtrak and I do remember seeing on one or two Occasions a FerroMex In a UP Consist. And that rock train that comes from the north line is powered by UP power but I think the company that mines out the lime rock is a private entity. So I wouldn't know. And the nearest train yard is at the west end of McNeil road it's a plant that deals with rocks as well in a different sort. And on one of the rail bridges there is a frequency I forget at the moment but I can drive by and find out.

So still I'm pretty lost for information is there a way to find a solid schedule of times for the trains? There is one I'm sure of actually at around 6:00PM during the weekdays except Friday there usually a train that comes by from the west to the east...
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanAirFan
Sorry for this unorganized post but I am full of questions and I don't even know if I'll get any answers here but if someone could point me in the right direction that would help too! Thanks for any valuable information that anyone here may be able to provide.

Sincerely, Justin Sutton
You need to find a local railfan group. Yahoo has bunches of groups; perhaps there is one for your area or for TX as a whole. So I'd start at groups.yahoo.com
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
You need to find a local railfan group. Yahoo has bunches of groups; perhaps there is one for your area or for TX as a whole. So I'd start at groups.yahoo.com


What Janusz said is very true.


HOWEVER.

From my experience, Yahoo Groupies don't always provide the most 'accurate' info. BUT, on the flipside, they can be very helpful. Prepare for your email inbox to explode .
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanAirFan
I'm not much of a train spotter. Sometimes I bike ride over to the tracks and wait for like an hour in hopes of a train coming sometimes they come sometimes they don't. When they don't I'm pretty upset cause I just wasted an hour and a half waiting then I'll bike home just as I get home I'll hear a train horn.... Frustrates me to no end. I go to the tracks along McNeil Road in Round Rock, TX.
Get a radio scanner, and as pointed out, join a railfan group for your area... but more than that... accept that part of our hobby is waiting. An hour and a half is nothing. I've had a couple eight hour waits without a train in my day. Now, while that's the exception (and something I hope never happens to me again), it is the nature of the beast that a lot of what we do is wait.

I have some good railfan friends who just won't wait. A lot of them are roster shot guys... go to the yard, shoot what they can, go home. I've tried that... but just don't enjoy the end result as much.
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
Get a radio scanner, and as pointed out, join a railfan group for your area... but more than that... accept that part of our hobby is waiting. An hour and a half is nothing. I've had a couple eight hour waits without a train in my day. Now, while that's the exception (and something I hope never happens to me again), it is the nature of the beast that a lot of what we do is wait.

I have some good railfan friends who just won't wait. A lot of them are roster shot guys... go to the yard, shoot what they can, go home. I've tried that... but just don't enjoy the end result as much.
I already have a radio scanner I just need the frequency that is used in the area. Anyways I have started the process of joining a group I'm simply waiting to get accepted. And yeah waiting is a pain but I agree that it's much more enjoyable to wait. Roster shots sound rather bland. I know when I plane spot sometimes I regret not taking photos of everything I see but I mean it's not worth taking a shot of if you can't get a good shot to upload. Thanks for the advice guys. If there are any Austin Area Rail Fanners please come forth I know there must be at least 1 or 2 that lurk around these forums time to time....
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:04 AM   #8
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Sadly, this list is no longer updated... but it's still tremendously valuable.

http://zippy.ci.uiuc.edu/~roma/rr-freqs/index-old.html
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:23 PM   #9
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Freericks reminded me of another site, which is also not updated anymore. It's called:


www.bullsheet.com
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by River Rails Photography
Freericks reminded me of another site, which is also not updated anymore. It's called:


www.bullsheet.com

It looks fairly up to date to me, the most recent updates were dated only a month ago. Awesome site, btw, wish there was something similar for UP and BNSF.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
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It looks fairly up to date to me, the most recent updates were dated only a month ago. Awesome site, btw, wish there was something similar for UP and BNSF.

Really? I hadn't noticed that, and had heard from several sources that the guy didn't update it. Awesome if they are updating it again!
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanAirFan
I already have a radio scanner I just need the frequency that is used in the area. Anyways I have started the process of joining a group I'm simply waiting to get accepted. And yeah waiting is a pain but I agree that it's much more enjoyable to wait. Roster shots sound rather bland. I know when I plane spot sometimes I regret not taking photos of everything I see but I mean it's not worth taking a shot of if you can't get a good shot to upload. Thanks for the advice guys. If there are any Austin Area Rail Fanners please come forth I know there must be at least 1 or 2 that lurk around these forums time to time....
http://www.railfanswelcome.com/
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by River Rails Photography
Really? I hadn't noticed that, and had heard from several sources that the guy didn't update it. Awesome if they are updating it again!
He's a retired railroader who used to do a regular simple printed sheet of information, eventually switching to web. The regular info stuff is stopped but the roster and train id tables are still maintained. I believe he gets some help now. Also, I think that he still does or did drive in a van service that delivers/picks up crews for CSX trains from the home base to wherever a train is sitting.

But it is CSX only, and the OP is in Austin TX...
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
He's a retired railroader who used to do a regular simple printed sheet of information, eventually switching to web. The regular info stuff is stopped but the roster and train id tables are still maintained. I believe he gets some help now. Also, I think that he still does or did drive in a van service that delivers/picks up crews for CSX trains from the home base to wherever a train is sitting.

But it is CSX only, and the OP is in Austin TX...

OP???????????



(those extra question marks are because I have to lengthen my answer)
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:13 PM   #15
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Here's another really great site for you CSX guys.

http://www.pacerfarm.org/
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:29 PM   #16
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And an even better one:

http://csx-sucks.com/

Some might remember my thread created a while back about this site.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:43 PM   #17
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OP???????????
Original Poster; in this case, Justin Sutton. I was too much of a bum previously to scroll up and find the name. Or I had forgotten he had given one.
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Original Poster; in this case, Justin Sutton. I was too much of a bum previously to scroll up and find the name. Or I had forgotten he had given one.


Oh, okay, thanks.
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:23 PM   #19
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Thanks for the tips guys. I'll let you know how it goes this Friday...
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:10 AM   #20
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[quote=AmericanAirFan]
Also I have an air band radio but I have no clue what frequencies to check how could I find that out?


Justin -
Try monitoring 160.74

Last but not least that rock train I mentioned it comes from a Quarry up north that is loaded up every day near Georgetown then it goes down south on that line and joins the mainline at McNeil Road and I-35. I'm wondering is there a set time that that train departs? This Friday evening I am planning on spotting on the other side of the tracks by Park Lane and the double tracks but I don't wanna sit and wait endlessly if I know somewhat of a schedule.

Justin -
Those rock trains come down from Texas Crushed Stone between Round Rock and Georgetown. There is no set/fixed schedule to best of my knowledge. The UP or BNSF crews show up when there's a rock train loaded and ready. I worked at TCS as a security guard for a couple of years and watched for many a night as the BNSF or UP crews hooked up in the GRR yard to pull down thru Round Rock. They try to pull most of those rock train loads out in the wee hours of the mornings during weekdays to minimize the traffic backups at the Round Rock grade crossings.
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:38 AM   #21
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There is not a schedule for most of the trains on this line. Amtrak has a schedule, but nothing else does.

BNSF's local to McNeil usually runs in the middle of the night, and rock trains to Georgetown and McNeil can run any time of the day. UP's local from McNeil to Taylor runs in the middle of the day, and meets the northbound Amtrak at Round Rock. Also, FWSA and SAFW meet sometime during the early afternoon at Round Rock, and there is a northbound stack train mid afternoon. Keep in mind these are guidelines, and there are no guarantees.

The other manifest trains, stack trains and auto racks can run at anytime. Unfortunately, most of the traffic runs at night.
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