Railfan Photo Locations

Discussion relating to the FEC operations, past and present. Includes Brightline. Official web site can be found here: FECRWY.COM.

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

Railfan Photo Locations

Postby HarryP » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:34 pm

I am in Florida for the month of April, staying in the Pompano Beach area, actually a stone's throw from the FEC main line. I do have access to a car and could use some good photo locations and any schedule information. From the house I can hear the passing trains blowing for the crossing. I am interested basically in the Broward County area. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Harry P
HarryP
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:59 am

Re: Railfan Photo Locations

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:31 am

Dixie Highway follows the railroad for miles and there are ample good spots for photography from public property. Especially good is the area in Oakland Park between Oakland Park Blvd. and NE 138th Street. Also much area north of Commercial Blvd. Pompano also has some good spots but here the neighborhood is a bit questionable. Boca Raton along Dixie Highway in the area between the County Line and Camino Real is pretty decent especilally in the morning for 121 and 123 and if you're lucky 335 as well. Provide yourself with a good map of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Another good area is farther north at Stuart south of the drawbridge. There is a nice park, water, bridges, food and facilities and other benefits. Get yourself set up with ATCS if possible too.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9331
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: Railfan Photo Locations

Postby HarryP » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:00 am

Noel Weaver wrote:Dixie Highway follows the railroad for miles and there are ample good spots for photography from public property. Especially good is the area in Oakland Park between Oakland Park Blvd. and NE 138th Street. Also much area north of Commercial Blvd. Pompano also has some good spots but here the neighborhood is a bit questionable. Boca Raton along Dixie Highway in the area between the County Line and Camino Real is pretty decent especilally in the morning for 121 and 123 and if you're lucky 335 as well. Provide yourself with a good map of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Another good area is farther north at Stuart south of the drawbridge. There is a nice park, water, bridges, food and facilities and other benefits. Get yourself set up with ATCS if possible too.
Noel Weaver

>
Thanks for your reply. You mentioned train numbers 121, 123 & 335 -- do you have any idea of approximately what time they would pass thru Boca and what are the best days? Also, I'm going to head up to Stuart at your suggestion. I GoogleEarthed it and it looks pretty nice. What are the best days and times for trains to pass that area?

Also, you said to get myself set up with ATCS. Pardon my ignorance, but what is that?
Harry P
HarryP
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:59 am

Re: Railfan Photo Locations

Postby JayBee » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:16 am

ATCS stands for Advanced Train Control System. It is used by the railroads to control signals and switches in CTC territory. Note some areas equipped with CTC use wires or Satellite links to transmit the information and these cannot be monitored. A railfan named Gary Hahn with technical knowledge created a program using a modified radio to receive these signals and translate them into a display similar to what a real Dispatcher sees. There are two ways to use this program, you can buy a modified radio and connect it to a Laptop, Desktop, or Tablet computer running Windows( It must be able to run Windows) and monitor the railroad within the effective range of your radio, this is called "Field Monitoring". Alternatively you can connect to the Internet and connect to servers which aggregate multiple monitoring radios and provide coverage over larger areas. Not all areas which use ATCS are covered by servers, so these areas can only be field monitored. Fortunately except for a few small sections of track that are wired or for which there are no monitors, the majority of the FEC is available on a single server giving a great overview of what is moving on the railroad. Note that ATCS does not tell you anything about the train number, just that there is a train in this location and the Dispatcher has cleared the signals for the train to move further(or not). Also each section on the Display can represent a section of track as short as 2 miles or as long as 20 miles, only local knowledge will help there. To use ATCS Monitor you MUST join the ATCS Mon yahoogroup.

Wiki is here http://atcswiki.greatlakesnetworking.net/bin/view

YouTube video showing someone using ATCS Mon is here(screen visible at about 1:00 mark) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0QDINlcMrA

ATCS Mon Yahoogroup Homepage https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ATC ... s/messages

If you should consider Field Monitoring I would recommend buying a radio from one of the members who is a Radio Tech as a small mistake can render a radio as junk. Their expertise is worth the extra cost. The ATCS decoding software needed for either Field Monitoring or monitoring via Internet accessed servers is free of charge once you join the ATCSMonitor group. Note it sometimes takes a few days to get approved to join if the List Owner is away on business.

John Beaulieu
long time ATCS Monitor user.
JayBee
 
Posts: 353
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:28 pm

Re: Railfan Photo Locations

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:52 pm

Trains 121, 123 and 335 are early AM southbound through Boca Raton. Maybe soon after daybreak. Track runs just west of Dixie Highway south of Palmetto Park Road and the light should be good in a scenic setting. The overhead Bridge on Dixie Highway over the track and Hillsboro Canal is another good spot just south of the above. As i said, I don't do photos anymore at least not very often, I just enjoy watching them pass by at speed or otherwise. ATCS is a huge plus for train activity in these parts and I suggest anybody coming here to provide themselves with the program. Membership in the FECRS is also a big plus, you will get information on anything special in the works through this fine organization and it is only $25.00 a year with a good publication quarterly as well as a great convention. Our convention this year will be in Jacksonville in late September and although the details have not been announced as yet, I suspect there will be various yard visits as well as a lot of opportunities for train watching and photos. I intend to be there. Occasionally through the FECRS somebody will get an opportunity to enjoy a ride on the Florida East Coast and this will be a ride that you won't ever forget.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9331
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: Railfan Photo Locations

Postby HarryP » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:03 am

Noel Weaver wrote:Trains 121, 123 and 335 are early AM southbound through Boca Raton. Maybe soon after daybreak. Track runs just west of Dixie Highway south of Palmetto Park Road and the light should be good in a scenic setting. The overhead Bridge on Dixie Highway over the track and Hillsboro Canal is another good spot just south of the above. As i said, I don't do photos anymore at least not very often, I just enjoy watching them pass by at speed or otherwise. ATCS is a huge plus for train activity in these parts and I suggest anybody coming here to provide themselves with the program. Membership in the FECRS is also a big plus, you will get information on anything special in the works through this fine organization and it is only $25.00 a year with a good publication quarterly as well as a great convention. Our convention this year will be in Jacksonville in late September and although the details have not been announced as yet, I suspect there will be various yard visits as well as a lot of opportunities for train watching and photos. I intend to be there. Occasionally through the FECRS somebody will get an opportunity to enjoy a ride on the Florida East Coast and this will be a ride that you won't ever forget.
Noel Weaver

>
Thanks, Noel, for taking the time out to reply. Unfortunately, I'll be leaving FL at the end of the month, heading back to the Philly area, so it doesn't pay for me to invest in the necessary equipment that you recommend However, I'll keep it in mind for the next trip.
Harry P
HarryP
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:59 am


Return to Florida East Coast Railway

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest