Boyce ATCS server

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Tue May 10 04:47:09 EDT 2005

This is most interesting.  I must learn more!  Can anyone enlighten me on what potential this has?  
On the Bristol Line, I can pick up trains on the scanner between the control points of Glade Spring and Marion only.  I can hear the dispatcher if a train is in between these two points, or if they are calling the whole line, thus they transmit off of Marion's transmitter I suppose.
Am I correct in assuming that this allows someone to listen to the entire line?  What else can it do?
Ben Blevins

nw-mailing-list at wrote:
Date: Sun, 08 May 2005 07:06:27 -0400
From: "John Fuller" 
Subject: ATCS demonstration at Train Night?

Reading Mack Muir's interesting account of the AU
(CQ?) dispatcher's codeline woes by monitoring the
ATCS equipment in his car at Alexandria station, plus
Peter Furnee's repeated promotion of this new
technology, reminded me how few of us have any
familiarity with this remarkable new tool.

Is anyone with ATCS in his car coming to Train Night
in Orange next Saturday? Perhaps you'd be willing to
demonstrate your gear for the group.

John Fuller
Date: Sun, 8 May 2005 07:51:06 -0400
From: P. Furnée 

Subject: Re: ATCS demonstration at Train Night?

ATCS Along the Southern is VERY hard to get (receive
signal). Nick, Mack and George have spent hours trying
to perfect it, almost as if it is set at a lower
power... Now, with that said, does anyone know if the
Station is internet equipped? If it is, then anyone
with a laptop and the software is not only capable of
connecting to the various local servers, but likely
capable of demonstrating the concept, at least from an
interpretation standpoint.

Perhaps the best way to do another ATCS demonstration
would be to get the Boyce Server back online, and
prepare for another Train Night there. While thinking,
is there internet at Bob's place in Manassas? The
reason for the internet requirement is that if the
host location is not well positioned for more than two
or three MCP's (Control Points) 
to "listen" to, it results in a boring screen. This is
why it is so important for as many servers online as
possible, as the functionality of ATCS from a Foamer's
standpoint exponentially increases as joining
territories come online. For instance: I get CSX's
signal from Cherry Run to Shen. That is 5 control
points, or interlockings. East of Shen, 
however, my reception drops like a rock, which is why
Ken Mazer has his ATCS server running. It picks up
Shen through Sandy Hook. He is IN the same valley that
prohibits my reception. Railfire will be bringing HIS
server online soon, which will bring in Weverton
through Point of Rocks, and occasionally Pepco and
Buck Lodge, which couples with the Pacerfarm, already
getting Buck Lodge through almost JD, Jessup and
occasionally AF... With the combination, we can watch
a train from Cherry Run, east of Hancock on the B&O,
all the way to Washington, DC!!!

Remember, for more info,, and the
corresponding yahoo group, where all things from
compatible scanners to the description of the
perfectly legal policies regarding reception.

What do we think of that?

May 9, 2005

Hello, all:

Another train night at Boyce station will be arranged
for October or November. If an ATCS monitoring
demonstration is not arranged before then, that will
be a good time for folks to stop by and see what
technology can provide to railfans.

Boyce has several favorable features:

1) trackside location near control points that can be
2) shelter for radio and computer equipment that
facilitates monitoring; and
3) DSL internet connection and wireless network that
can be tapped into by visitors either inside the
station or from the parking lot.

George Paine summarized the ATCS focus: "Think
globally; monitor locally." Peter is right that a
collective effort produces results that no one person
at a single point can accomplish.

Anyone who has time and tenacity, whether or not they
have computer savy, is welcome to help maintain the
ATCS monitoring, DSL connection, and wireless network.
The investment in equipment has been made, the
installation is in place, and the Railway Mail Service
Library is paying for the $40 per month to keep the
DSL connection active as well as the electric bills. 
There is one ingredient missing: someone who can take
the time to work out the wireless connection kinks
that keeps the monitoring off-line. So, if you want
to take an occasional drive to Boyce and provide
volunteer technical support, there's a place for you
in the "radio room."

Good night and good morning,


Dr. Frank R. Scheer, Curator
Railway Mail Service Library, Inc.
f_scheer at
(202) 268-2121 - weekday office
(540) 837-9090 - weekend afternoons 
in the former N&W station on VA rte 723 
117 East Main Street 
Boyce VA 22620-9639

Visit at

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