Tagged: train

Decoding the ARES Train Protocol with an RTL-SDR

Over on YouTube user JellyImages has uploaded a video demonstrating his Windows based ARESrcvr software. ARES is a railway control communications protocol used by some trains in the USA. His code connects to an RTL-SDR dongle, and demodulates the ARES protocol, providing decoded packets to ATSCMon via UDP on localhost.

ATSCMon allows you to view train telemetry data, and see on a rail map where that control indication came from. It appears that ATSCMon actually already supports ARES decoding via audio piping, but the decoder by JellyImages is a cleaner solution that doesn't require audio piping. In the past we've posted about one other YouTube user whose uploaded videos on using ATSCMon to monitor trains [Post 1][Post 2].

JellyImages also notes that his software only supports the ARES protocol which is used mostly around former Burlington Northern (BN) territory in the USA.

Introducing ARESrcvr

Monitoring Train Railway Lines with an RTL-SDR and ATCS Monitor

Back in June Gus Gorman showed us via a YouTube tutorial and demo how to monitor ATCS (Advanced Train Control System) signals from trains. ATCS is found in the USA and is used for things like communications between trains, rail configuration data, train location data, speed enforcement, fuel monitoring, train diagnostics and general instructions and messages. Gus used an RTL-SDR and the ATCS Monitor software to decode the signals and give us a view of the current state of the railway line.

In his latest video Gus gives a better demonstration of the software by parking outside a train station so that he can receive many more signals from the trains. At the start of the video he shows the track view of BNSF trains, and then later switches over to the Union Pacific track view.

ATCS Monitor RTL-SDR at Omaha Train Station

Tracking Trains: Monitoring Railroad ATCS Control Signals with an RTL-SDR

Over on his YouTube channel GusGorman402 has uploaded a tutorial which shows how he monitors ATCS (Advanced Train Control System) signals from trains. ATCS signals are found in the USA, and is used for things like communications between trains, rail configuration data, train location data, speed enforcement, fuel monitoring, train diagnostics and general instructions and messages.

In the video he first shows how to determine the frequency of trains signals in your area by using the US FCC database. He then shows how to download and install the ATCSMonitor software which is used for decoding the signals, and then walks us through configuring the correct settings within the software. The train signal audio is piped from SDR# to ATCSMonitor via VBCable, and received with an RTL-SDR and simple whip antenna.

Later in the video he shows how to fully set up the software with train databases so that the actual spotted train names show up. He also shows how to set up the dispatcher display which visually shows the current train locations and track configurations.

GusGorman402 has uploaded the tutorial in two videos. The first shows the full tutorial, configuration and demo for trains in the BNSF fleet. The second video shows how to monitor the Union Pacific fleet which uses a different protocol, which requires a slightly different set up in ATCSMonitor.

RTL-SDR Railroad ATCS Monitor BNSF Omaha
RTL-SDR Railroad ATCS Monitor Union Pacific Omaha