Railroad Frequencies (Non AAR Channel Band)

There are frequencies that railroads utilize outside of the typical AAR 160-161 MHz channel band plan. Here's a list of some of them...

EOTD (End of Train Devices)

457.9375 These are the boxes that are attached to the coupler of the last car in the train. They transmit data to the head end.

452.9375 This frequency is mostly used on trains in Canada, but it's sometimes used on the head end in America, to "talk" to the EOTD.

VHF Marine Channel 16

156.800 This can sometimes be the calling frequency for lift bridges. Marine Channels 13 (156.650) and 14 (156.7) have also been reported as occasionally used in this way, in some areas.

Advanced Train Control Systems (ATCS)

This is a system that larger railroads are using on upper 800 and 900 MHz frequencies. The frequencies are being registered under the Association of American Railroads, or the Transportation Technology Center, not the individual railroads that use them. These radio systems basically collect information about train movement and other things along the line. This information is sent to computers and is then used to create the real time displays dispatchers have on their screens, showing train movement and so on. The data isn't always sent through the air, but when it is, it's done in a duplex method using two different frequencies. Small high band yagi antennas at various points along the right-of-way are usually used for these transmissions.

Channel - 1 MCP - 896.8875 MHz BCP - MHz 935.8875 Union Pacific
Channel - 2 MCP - 896.9375 MHz BCP - MHz 935.9375 CSX
Channel - 3 MCP - 896.9875 MHz BCP - MHz 935.9875 Shared ATCS Network
Channel - 4 MCP - 897.8875 MHz BCP - MHz 936.8875 BNSF
Channel - 5 MCP - 897.9375 MHz BCP - MHz 936.9375 Norfolk Southern
Channel - 6 MCP - 897.9875 MHz BCP - 936.9875 MHz ???

 

400 Mhz Frequencies

These frequencies are used for various things, including remote train control systems.

 452.900 MHz  457.9000 MHz
 452.90625 MHz  457.90625 MHz
 452.9125 MHz  457.9125 MHz
 452.91875 MHz  457.91875 MHz
 452.9250 MHz  457.9250 MHz
 452.93125 MHz  457.93125 MHz
 452.9375 MHz  457.9375 MHz
 452.94375 MHz  457.94375 MHz
 452.9500 MHz  457.9500 MHz
 452.95625 MHz  457.95625 MHz
 452.9625 MHz  457.9625 MHz
 452.96875 MHz  457.96875 MHz

 

Various Frequencies

The below frequencies are listed as being set aside for rail use in the national FCC database. It's unknown how many of them are being used now, and for what purpose. Some of the 900 MHz frequencies are being used for the above mentioned ATCS.

72.520 MHz
936.9875 MHz
162.4000 MHz
936.9880 MHz
935.8875 MHz
1875.000 MHz
935.8880 MHz
1895.000 MHz
935.9375 MHz
1955.000 MHz
935.9380 MHz
1965.000 MHz
935.9875 MHz
1975.000 MHz
935.9880 MHz
1985.000 MHz
936.8875 MHz
6665.000 MHz
936.8880 MHz
6705.000 MHz
936.9375 MHz
6825.000 MHz
936.9380 MHz
6865.000 MHz
902.000 - 928.000 MHz (AEI Car Tag Systems)

 

Ham Radio

It's been reported that hams have sometimes talked with crew members operating trains, who are also hams. Frequencies to monitor for this are 2 meter simplex...

 146.460 MHz 146.940 MHz
146.490 MHz 147.300 MHz