• Binghamton Railfanning

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by codeguy
So after a bit of research into what I could find on the state of rail traffic and monitoring in the greater Binghamton area, I’ve come up with the following. I’d appreciate if someone would let me know if any of this is in the ballpark:

- There are two main freight railroads, the Norfolk Southern (NS) and New York Susquehanna & Western (NYSW).

- Google Maps shows a few yards: Bevier St., north of the main junction, East Binghamton (the big one along Conklin Ave to the east), an NYSW yard on the west side of the junction (looks like it has a diesel shop), and a small yard on Court St. I haven’t spent much time checking (partly because I recall hearing the local RR guys are very strict about people poking around), but I rarely have seen much traffic at Bevier St., and I assume the E. Binghamton yard is pretty much dead.

- I’m guessing that rail traffic is very light in the area, as in almost non-existent. Though suprisingly I have seen some stack trains in the Bevier St yard and also some grain trains when passing by on the highway. Passenger-wise, there’s nothing. The closest Amtrak station is in Syracuse.

- As far as ATCS Monitor (my real interest), there are no layouts or MCP data or servers available for monitoring. And apparently the laws in NY are very strict about not allowing anyone to have radios that might be able to monitor police (which includes ATCS signals), so even if somone wanted to put together the data it’s very risky (assuming NS and NYSW even use those frequencies and technology). And also even the TrackBuilder software that used to exist for making ATCSMonitor layouts is no longer available. Which is unfortunate, since I was even considering getting some Maxtrac radios and doing the whole thing from scratch (I did similar out west years ago).

- And there aren’t even any webcams that might show rail traffic in the area.

So bottom line, it seems there’s pretty much no hope for getting any ATCSMonitor joy in the Southern Tier, or even for just sitting somewhere and watching? Is it really that bad? Thanks much for any insight.
  by ANDY117
I'll try and answer this question by question.

NS and NYS&W are the only 2 railroads left in town now.

Bevier Street Yard is home to 3 customers for NS. Frac sand unloading (2 bay covered hoppers), Broome County Cold Storage (refrigerated cars), and Sanford Seed (covered hoppers). The yard gets switched usually daily by H01 early in the morning or K84 in the evening. NYSW also unloads frac sand cars across from the yard, and loads contaminated dirt into containers.

That junction is CP-BD.

That yard is called the Middle Yard. The 4 tracks closest to the mains are NS, the farther north tracks are NYSW along with their diesel shop. No yard along Court Street, just a couple interchange tracks for NS and NYSW.

NS East Binghamton Yard in Conklin has yard jobs working around the clock on the north end, and usually a local working the south end or doubling trains.

Stay off railroad property and you should be fine, NS police actively patrol the area. There's plenty of public spots to watch trains, like Terrace Drive in Conklin, or along Court Street in Binghamton.

NS has for daily road trains:
11Z/14R (Binghamton-Enola / Enola-Binghamton manifest)
11R/16R (Binghamton-Pan Am / Pan Am-Binghamton manifest)
22K/23K (Chicago-Ayer, MA / Ayer, MA-Chicago intermodal single stacked)
28N/287 (Fostoria, OH- Ayer, MA / Ayer, MA- Bellevue, OH autoracks and double stacks)
309/310 (Binghamton-Elkhart, IN & Bellevue, OH / Bellevue, OH-Binghamton manifest)
30T/31T (Montreal-Binghamton / Binghamton-Montreal CN manifest)
36T/37T (Buffalo-Allentown /Allentown-Buffalo manifest)
H97 (Binghamton-Taylor, PA turn)

NS locals are H01, K83, and K84. Yard jobs are HX-11, HX-21, HX-41, or HX-61 depending on the day and what shift is working.

NYSW also has various locals that work around Binghamton as well as a road train from New Jersey to Syracuse and back.

No passenger trains, ATCS, or webcams locally.
  by codeguy
Excellent!! Thanks much. BTW, does anyone know if ATCS monitoring is even an option in the area, or do they use a different technology?
  by johnpbarlow
Here are links to a couple more useful on-line resources for Binghamton train watching:

1. Excellent Broadcastify channel that eavesdrops on NS road and yard channels and NYSW channels. Can hear NS trains approaching Binghamton from the west (S Tier), south (D&H Sunbury line), and north (D&H line to Schenectady):

2. NS D&H and Southern Tier Facebook page: very active real time discussions of train movements in the area. Plus in the files area is a handy-dandy detailed map of all the tracks, signals, switches, etc in Binghamton.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/dandhso ... ment_reply

Big picture: there isn't anyone location where you can stand or sit in a car to witness the train activity - that's why the Broadcastify channel is so handy as it will tell you where there trains are moving. Some of the better photographic locations are a few miles out of town.
  by oibu
Not to hijack and maybe or maybe not of any interest to the OP, but this might be a good opportunity to ask for an update on current days/times/symbols for NYS&W between Binghamton and Syracuse (i.e., which days north, which days south, typical crew calls or times in and out of Binghamton, usual symbols/crews (i.e., BH-#, CL-2, etc.)? Thanks.
  by codeguy
Thanks for the link to the FB group, but after 3 days I've never received confirmation that I can join...

Really the thing I was hoping to find is the detailed map you mentioned of the switches, signals, etc., in the Binghamton area. Attached is my first shot at making my own layout diagram in Powerpoint based solely on what I could see in Google Earth. And also the great info from Andy117 here... So I'm guessing it's maybe 80-90% accurate. But of course I can't get the control point names, etc., from Google, so I was hoping to add that info if available. And also any information on whatever can be done ATCS-wise.

Thanks much.
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  by oibu
With "potential" exceptions of a few minor industrial/yard details or other little post-NS "adjustments" that may not spring immediately to mind, those schematics look substantially correct.