Author Topic: ATCS basics  (Read 2666 times)

Kelthomp

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ATCS basics
« on: April 08, 2014, 04:12:46 PM »
I know it has probably been talked about but can somebody help me with ATCS please. I'm new to all the technology and it confuses the heck out of me. What is it? What does it do? How can I set it up? I just need the basics.

arcticrail

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2014, 04:40:53 PM »
ATCS from a railfans point of view:

We grab radio signals transmitted from various RR control & indication devices, interpret them and put it on a graphic display that resembles a dispatchers board.  This enables you to view what's going on on the RR....assuming they transmit the data in a way that can be managed.

The longer version:

Things likes switches and signals receive instructions on what to do and transmit information on current status.  This info is transmitted via radio at about 900MHz.  Those signals can be received using the appropriate radios and sent to a PC.  There is a program called ATCS monitor that listens to the signals and interprets them based on someone in the field watching what changes when a signal is sent.  It displays those interpretations for you so you can watch the railroad "work".

All the radios, PC, antennas and other little goodies are installed by friendly people who invest time and money to be able to monitor the signals.  Anyone with an ATCS program can watch any RR that is being broadcast to the web.  Not every RR has it, not every system  is accessible.

Take a look under this header....you'll find plenty of information about it...like the link to this thread: 

Received a question tonight about ATCS and what it looks like.  The screen shot here is from the NCD this evening.  This is what we're looking at all the time...very cool!

That's the short version....

Kenny
One of the New Castle District ATCS Squirrels.  (the one with no attention span).

 
If it moves or makes noise...I'm interested!

Kelthomp

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 04:47:40 PM »
Thank you very much!

RailfanJ-Ro22

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2014, 02:41:46 AM »
A few pointers for more people that are new to this:

When viewing the Dispatcher Display you will see green lines, red, lines, and blue lines. I believe blue means that a specific area between two signals is out of service due to a track authority. Red lines are actual trains or equipment that's large enough to complete the track circuit. (They can also be a bad circuit that is indicating something's there when it's really not. Green is how far a train can go or is "lined" as some say, before it hits a red signal. For instance: if you see a red line at West Seven mile on the NS New Castle District, and a green line to the west of it that ends at west Campbellstown, that likely means there is an approach at east Campbellstown, and a stop indication (red signal) at West Campbellstown.

If you see something goimg past a signal on the DP display and it doesn't appear to be lined anywhere but is still moving, that is usually a piece of equipment, a railgrinder, or something else that needs a track authority to work the line.

The snowflakes in winter time indicate that the switvh heaters are working.

This REALLY helps when you want to go eat but want to make sure you aren't going to miss anything if you leave BUT, if you are going some distance away, it helps to memorize how fast trains get to different points on the line so you can give yourself plenty of time to get back. In the old days, before ATCS, if you were hungry, you just had to risk it and use the HAPT. (The Hope And Pray Technique).

I know this thread is several months old but I thought some useful tips would be best posted here. Even I still don't know everything I would like to about ATCS. Someday I really need to sit down and read more in depth on it.
Jeremy Rose - Check out my railroad videos at www.youtube.com/railfantube

trafficcritic

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 12:23:54 PM »
I'm an ATCS n00b myself. Last weekend I was in Rochelle Railpark in IL and they had an ATCS for the UP/BNSF in their visitor center.

My question is..Why am I only able to find ATCS info for NS/New Castle District? Where are the CSX/Indianapolis ATCS's?

indyspy

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2015, 01:03:40 PM »
CSX has never installed the equipment compatible with the program. They have went a different direction then anyone else.
If in doubt, Notch it out!

arcticrail

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2015, 12:42:31 PM »
CSX has never installed the equipment compatible with the program. They have went a different direction then anyone else.

Thank goodness they did...or we'd be broke!
If it moves or makes noise...I'm interested!

James K9APR

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2015, 06:39:40 PM »
Thank goodness they did...or we'd be broke!

You can say that again.

CIOR

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2015, 09:43:06 AM »
Thank Goodness no one in the group is keeping track ;)

T Alan

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2015, 01:04:10 PM »
Thank Goodness no one in the group is keeping track ;)

ATCS keeps track of track

CIOR

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Re: ATCS basics
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2015, 08:59:20 PM »
You punny...yet not to Christian level punny.