Replacement for Timetable.

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MCtrlSys

New Member
I just came back to railfanning after a 7 year forced hietus and discovered to my horror that Altamont Press had discontinued the Railfan Timetables. I was wondering if anyone knew a similar data source. Thanks.
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
No such luck, the CA timetable is sold out. I will have to find another source. I will try to contact them so I can figure out how they got the data. Thanks for the info.

Also though anyone who wants to give me alternate methods is more than welcome to chime in.
 

mrbbq

New Member
Too bad about Altamont Press

It's indeed sad for many railfans, me included, to see Altamont fold its tent. I have used their Timetables for a number of years, and found them to be very good and filled with useful information.
I do hope that someone will take up the charge/challenge and come up with a new breed of timetables for railfans. It appears that there is a good demand for this type of publication.

Dave Cooley of Sonrisa Pulications puts out great map oriented guides. He has just published one for the Empire Builder route, which includes GPS coordinates.
 

MargaretSPfan

New Member
I am a long-time Altamont Press user, and
will most definitely miss it when it ends.
I remember that, a while ago, David Curlee,
who runs AP and does the railfan timetables,
posted that the reason he stopped publishing
the railfan timetables was that doing them
took up almost all his free time, and that he
wanted his life back. He also said that he
was not able to get anywhere near the help
he needed to keep doing those great timetables.

I also read on AP that doing employee timetables
is a full-time job for some folks at the big railroads.
And David -- and before him, the late Rob Carlson,
who started Altamont Press -- did all that in their
spare time!
 

ES44AC

What is your malfunction?
Our company timetables gets updated every couple of years or so, it keeping up with the updates is time consuming for all divisions on the BNSF.
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
Thanks guys, I appreciate the info. I recieved info back from David Cooley. From what I gathered it was just more than he wanted to continue with and that the information itself was becoming scarce due to the national security thing (the bi-weekly media terrorist scare). Guys, I may be off base here but I have a feeling that the railfans themselves are going to have to take up this job as a group for each area. Being an IT technician for many years I think this is possible. Maybe to put up some sort of database that is changeable on an individual basis. Kinda like wikipedia does but more specific and exclusive. I was already thinking about putting up a website to bring CA railfans into the same place so it might just be something I will have to look into. Again guys thanks for your info. I have been in many hobbies in my life but no one hobby has people who are more helpful than railfans. Its a great thing.

Oh lastly, do we know of any lists of railfan / amateur radio licensees out there?
 

mrbbq

New Member
Thanks guys, I appreciate the info. I recieved info back from David Cooley. From what I gathered it was just more than he wanted to continue with and that the information itself was becoming scarce due to the national security thing (the bi-weekly media terrorist scare). Guys, I may be off base here but I have a feeling that the railfans themselves are going to have to take up this job as a group for each area. Being an IT technician for many years I think this is possible. Maybe to put up some sort of database that is changeable on an individual basis. Kinda like wikipedia does but more specific and exclusive. I was already thinking about putting up a website to bring CA railfans into the same place so it might just be something I will have to look into. Again guys thanks for your info. I have been in many hobbies in my life but no one hobby has people who are more helpful than railfans. Its a great thing.

Oh lastly, do we know of any lists of railfan / amateur radio licensees out there?
It NOT Dave Cooley, It's Dave Curlee who owns Altamont Press. Cooley does the Sonrisa Railroad Maps.
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
Thanks for the info. I know how that is though, I always mix up names like that. Never had a head for it. It usually takes about 15 seconds for me to forget a name. One way or another those timetables for the public are dead. Time to start hitting up the railroads for the employee timetables.
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
Ok, I did some research on the railroad employee timetables for the railroads in my area. It seems like they put them all behind a secure site login and they no longer available to the public. Rather annoying, hostile and unethical on the companies part really. The quoted reason I see coming up over and over says that 9/11 and the Department of Fatherland Security are the reason. So much damage caused by a phantom threat. Geez.
 

KMCCLA

Look, Listen, Learn OLI
Oh lastly, do we know of any lists of railfan / amateur radio licensees out there?
Not sure, but I do know that there are a lot of us who have our "tickets" who are railfans. A few years ago when the UP 3985 came in, I was the de facto (and unofficial) "net control and organizer" here in the Kansas City area. We set up a "daisy-chain" with a lot us at different crossings. We would pass it along as it passed us bye down the line. I was so busy paying attention to the radio, I really did not get much of a chance to get any real good pictures.

KC0KM
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
I like that, it is actually what I want to accomplish here. There are alot of individual railfans here but not alot of people who want to cooperate for their advantage. Well one day I will have the website servicing the railfans in the Central Valley but we will see if it is enough. Thanks for that story.
 

KMCCLA

Look, Listen, Learn OLI
You may want to start like this - simply reaching out to other hams in the area. If you have a local net -- or local amateur radio message board or email system, start with them. Here in the Kansas City area we have a email list that goes out to roughly 900 some odd people. It informs us of various of amateur radio events, nets, so forth. When it was sent out that a UP Steam Engine was going to be in town, I simply asked if anyone was going to do anything. No one stepped up, so I kind of took charge, with help from several others (like helping find a local repeater to use). We also have people, who where not chasing, (or sitting at a crossing) but where watching APRS, and relaying the information back to us. It was a loosely organized spare of the moment thing -- like in two days. Later when it they (UP) returned, I did not really want to do it, as a result, no one did (that I know of). Next time I might have to step up again and do attempt to organize it, so at least we all would be on the same frequency.

Here are some "Rail Ham" Frequencies that I have come across.
146.490 Two-meters primary.
146.565 Two-meters secondary.
223.620 1.25 meters band.
446.050 70-cm band.
1294.425 23-cm band

I would also suggest using a local repeater, that offers a wide range of coverage at least in the general area of the line in question.

KC0KM
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
Well first I have to finish my tech test. I studied for it so many times that I could probably pass it in my sleep now. Although I am kind of disappointed about the Novice class being taken away. I kinda wanted to go the HF route first and take the code test. Oh well, my main wants are on 2 meters and 440 anyway. As for the rest, first I have to develop some charisma. It will take some time but it is a good thing to aim for. Thanks for that data. Its nice to have people actually giving me decent info.
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
BTW do those rail frequencies span the country? I know there are a few here, there always are. I only hope that those repeaters have autopatch, it would help me to keep in touch with the RRs (reporting gates and such). I have always been an introvert/aspie (aspergers syndrome) so I am a little clueless when it comes to people. I tend to interface better with machines. Never stopped me from trying though.
 

KMCCLA

Look, Listen, Learn OLI
You will never forget the day you get your first "ticket" (aka license). I got my Tech back in '09, made General ten months later, and made Extra a year ago last May, 2011 (and got my vanity call shortly after). Give me an email, and I can give you all sorts of ham radio stuff that will help, and will not tie up these boards on this.

As for the frequencies, for the most part, yes, these are nationwide, however, they are not "hard set".
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
My email addy is mctrlsys@c-33a.net (my personal domain and also the location of my railfan website railfan.c-33a.net). I am currently doing the Gordon West song and dance for the 8-9th time. It always seemed like something came up each time that I tried to do the ham test. At the moment though I am unemployed for now so it gives me plenty of time to relearn amateur radio and get my Unix-Fu back in order. Besides that I just broke my point and shoot camera so railfanning is sidelined for a bit. I guess the Ham thing might happen this time. Oh well I really felt like I had been demoted ever since my Nikon 35mm went MIA so this is just the universe trying to tell me something. I will contact you after this via email as soon as I wake back up. It is really great to get back into all of this again, the type of people I deal with in these hobbies are so much more intelligent than what I was dealing with running an RC car group. :)
 

stevelton

New Member
As others have stated, there is so much security around railroad operations that the information that used to be available for these publications to make and sell a "Railfan Timetable" is no longer easy to get.
With that said, there is so much technology available for todays modern railfan, that a paper version of a timetable is so obsolete.
Todays way of thinking is Evolve or get left behind.
With your smart phone you can access detailed satellite maps of yards, access roads, and remote main lines. Then there is the scanner apps that allow you to moniter radio scanner feeds from big cities. Then there are hundreds of Facebook pages dedicated to tracking certain railroads, locomotives, or subdivisions.

After that, then you can have your own onboard mobile scanner to listen to railroad activity near by. Just like any launguage, its only a matter of time before you can tell what locations a train might be talking about.
Exactly what do you need a railfan timetable for?

Steven
 




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