An NS local passes through the interlocking at Decatur
Listen to a live scanner audio feed from Decatur, AL! See below for a
map of Decatur and the surrounding areas so that you can follow the action as it unfolds!
Normally rivals, the Norfolk Southern and CSX join forces in Decatur to cross the mighty
Tennessee River. Although the bridge is owned by NS, it actually sees more CSX traffic per day
than it does Thoroughbred traffic. Decatur is on the Memphis to Chattanooga NS route and
the Nashville to Birmingham CSX route. Both CSX and NS have medium sized yards here for
interchange traffic and local industry. Local industries served by rail in Decatur vary from
chemical plants to pet food manufacturing, almost all of which are located along the river.
The feed is set up with two monitoring radios: one for CSX road channels and one for NS road channels (See below for channels/frequencies monitored by each radio). Each radio is fed to one of a pair of channels that comprise a stereo feed. This
way, both railroads can be monitored via a single feed, which drastically simplifies
PC hardware/software configuration. Let me know how this works out for you!
I would like to extend a special thanks to the following people who helped make this live
feed as good as it is: Steve Passmore, Rob Jordan, Dave D. and especially Jim Groenke. Be sure to
check out http://www.railroadradio.net
and http://www.radioreference.com for the best feeds on the 'net!
Live Feed Coverage Area Map:
Listen to the Decatur Live Railroad Scanner Feed via your favorite media player at RadioReference.com:
Frequencies monitored by the live feed:
CSX Road Radio (Left Channel)
Norfolk Southern Road Radio (Right Channel)
161.370 MHz, AAR Ch 84: CSX Road
160.410 MHz, AAR Ch 20: CSX Dispatcher
160.845 MHz, AAR Ch 49: NS Road (Channel 1)
160.290 MHz, AAR Ch 12: NS Dispatcher (Channel 2)
Here is a basic diagram of how the two stream radios are connected and feed to the
encoding computer. The encoding computer then sends the audio to the RadioReference.com servers to be distributed
If you would like to listen to just one radio, you can simply slide your
right/left panning control to one channel or another as shown above (left for the CSX channels and right for the NS channels).
Equipment Defect Detectors Heard:NS Milepost 372.0
NS Milepost 356.5 - Includes high/wide detection
NS Milepost 338.0
CSX Milepost 299.7 - Includes high/wide detection
CSX Milepost 313.5 - Includes high/wide detection
CSX Milepost 326.5
Red text indicates intermittent reception. The time of day and weather conditions will have an impact on how far you can hear the EDDs. I have, however, logged
"hits" from all of the above EDDs during the right conditions.
NS uses TWC (track warrant control) through this area with remote control used through the
interlocking with CSX over the Tennessee River. You will often be able to hear NS trains
copying track warrants with limits typically anywhere from Wheeler siding to Elko siding.
"Birmingham Dispatcher" is the NS Alabama
Division dispatcher and controls the NS line from Memphis, TN to Stevenson, AL as well as the
interlocking at Decatur. Norfolk Southern operates about 12-15 through-freights per day plus 3 locals and number of yard jobs in and around Decatur.
CSX's operations are standard CTC (centralized traffic control) between Birmingham, AL and Nashville, TN.
However, you will still hear conversations between trains and the CSX "AH" dispatcher (CSX Dispatcher Desk Codes)
related to speed restrictions, signal permissions, etc. CSX trains will contact the NS "Birmingham Dispatcher" to get permission
to proceed through the interlocking and cross the Tennessee River bridge.
CSX normally operates about 30 trains per day not counting locals, foreign railroad moves and yard jobs. There are typically
3 CSX yard jobs per day and 1 local freight in and around Decatur.
Update 2022: Since the use of PSR or Precision Scheduled Railroading, the number of trains through the area has dropped to about half to two-thirds of previous levels
on both CSX and NS.
Live Audio Feed Hardware:
The feed radios are located in our garage on a home-built shelf. The radio shelf slides out to
allow work on any of the radios, pre-amps, etc. The radios are powered by a DuraComm 13.8VDC power supply and the pre-amps (3 total, 2 for ATCS and
1 for audio) are powered by a 24VDC "wall-wart". From left to right, the radios are:
- Uniden BCT8: Public safety feed
- Motorola VHF Maxtrac: Railroad yard audio feed
- Motorola VHF Maxtrac: Railroad road audio feed
- Motorola UHF Maxtrac: Railroad EOT monitoring
- Motorola 800MHz Maxtrac: Railroad ATCS monitoring
- Motorola 900MHz Maxtrac: Railroad ATCS monitoring
The bottom shelf is spare parts (radios/antennas/power supply) and an uninterruptible power supply.
The server is an Intel D410PT Mini-ITX motherboard with an Atom processor at 1.6 GHz with
1.5GB of DDR2 RAM and a 160GB 2.5" SATA hard disk. It is mounted in an embedded type case and mounted at the top of the wall in our den. The opposite
side of this wall is in the garage where the radio equipment is located. The power and USB wiring (for the Griffin iMic USB sound cards) runs through two
small holes hidden behind the crown moulding. The cable running along the wall is Ethernet.
Here is a "fall-ish" shot of some of the antennas. They are
mounted on 30' of Rohn 20 type tower. With a 10' pole installed at the top of the tower, the base of the top antenna is at about 37' above the ground.
The top antenna
is a dual-band VHF/UHF Jetstream JTB1 that is used for the
Decatur/Morgan County Public Safety Feed as well as the railroad audio feed.
Here is another shot of the antennas at the top of the tower.
The two antennas below the dual-bander are a pair of
Antenex FG8963 omni-directional antennas in a co-phased configuration spaced 2 wave-lengths apart. These are used for ATCS monitoring.
At about 15' above the ground is this Celwave PD10108-2 yagi. This antenna is also used for ATCS monitoring.
This shot shows where the WBC-400 cables are tied to RG58 cables to come in
the house via a hole originally drilled by the cable TV installer. The tower makes a handy place to hang your plants also! :-)
Current Shack Schematic:
Interested in running your own live audio stream on the Internet? Check out the new tutorial on setting up your own live scanner feed on the Internet!