ATCSMon on the Kootenai Sub is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.


New Member
Hi All!

If you like watching trains - ya who doesn't? If you don't know about it; think about ATCSMon. I am doing Libby on my base antenna, and take a radio and laptop out with me when ima chasing trains. Allows me to move along trackside until I see some activity, then I can setup to watch and/or take pix -vs- just going somewhere and waiting.

You may be able to help. I need locations to monitor the sub. You need Internet and be on/near trackside. ATCSMon uses a tiny amount of bandwidth to send data received via radio to a server that aggregates others doing the same thing. Bandwidth is less than 100KB per month and is outgoing from your location; in other words it barely dents your bandwidth.

We have Sandpoint covered, E.Algoma -> E.Colburn ( UP Crossing, Sandpoint Jct )
I live in Libby and get ( E/W Libby, E/W Kootenai Falls, sometimes West Ripley
Think that I have a location just West of Troy ( E/W Troy, E/W Yakt, possibly Leonia )
The Fish is covered, W.Whitefish -> W.Radnor

Which means if you live in-between any of those areas and want to lend a hand, let me know. Sure, population is pretty sparse AND lineside is pretty rugged; I just figured that I would ask.

Tapped Scanner ( Bearcat or the like ) we pick audio out at the discriminator.
Antenna ( beam or ground plane )
WinTerm - or the like. You could even use that old computer/laptop that is sitting in the back of your closet! Needs at least XP with Ethernet/Wifi.
iMic to get audio into the computer

If needed, I have a couple of scanners and a few winterms that I can help with. If you are so inclined, you can build a J-pole antenna out of copper pipe. I did that years ago and it worked great until my local utility pole fell over - nother story.

MRL from Sandpoint East also needs some help. I can forward your request or questions to the proper server op.

Questions? Let me know - hogger at s oundr ( fix those spaces )

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Railfanning in the 21st century looks like a military reconnaissance operation. I have seen railfans on Sunset Ave. with their scanners, laptops, and cell phones that they use to communicate train movements to each other.

To think that "back in the day" I felt really high tech with a four channel hand held scanner from Radio Shack that used crystals. I later purchased a ten channel programmable desk top model that I still have.
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Forum Host
Staff member
I was going to joke about just go down to the depot and ask the agent for a lineup, but I'm guessing the vast majority of forum members have never had the chance to do that.

Back when I first started railfanning, there were still places you could walk into, and if you were lucky, and respectful, you could get some info. I recall walking into a few manned towers and asking what was coming. Sometimes they'd tell you everything they knew and offer you an out of date employee timetable. Others would ask you to leave, or on a real bad day snarl "Get outta here before I call the bulls!"

Even at my age, I was never able to walk into a small town station and talk to the agent. I'v done it in a few Amtrak stations, but that isn't quite the same thing.


New Member
Ya, used to go to the Parkwater yard office and ask for a lineup. There usually would be a TT there also. When I lived in the Everett, Wa area, I found that you could go online for a line up. BNSF squashed that pretty quick. Over the years I have found some employees that would be willing to chat and we would update each other. Some actually used ATCSMon because it was easier than the BNSF dispatch thingie. I have been to some of the local yard office's telling them about an open door on a CP hut, or broken rail. I actually called dispatch in Fort Worth one afternoon as a west bound went by Libby dragging a pretty hefty chain about mid train. It was catching on lineside stuff then snapping back and hitting the next car back. Guess that the chain was 20 to 30 feet. I could have pulled stuff by the roots!
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