NYC Skyline

I remember as a child going on a few summertime vacations with my dad to New York City and Washington D.C. I was so excited about seeing all the sights but I was also excited about how we would be traveling to and from there. When we traveled to Washington or New York City we would take Amtrak. I’ve been on a few trips as an adult on the Northeast Corridor as well. It’s been about 8 years since I’ve rode on an Amtrak train on the Northeast Corridor. I think it’s been too long!Tuesday, January 23, 2018 my dad and I boarded Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train 95 at 6:50 am in downtown Providence. We was able to get seats together on the ocean side of the train giving us a great view as we traveled westerly through Rhode Island and Connecticut. As we made our way to Penn Station I was able to see Hell’s Gate. The ride was smooth and on time.

RIding on the Amtrak NEC

On Wednesday we took our trip back on the 3:30 pm Northeast Regional #176 from NYC Penn Station back to Providence. Since I had my scanner with me I was able to hear what track our train was arriving on before they announced it in the station. My dad and I were lucky again to get two seats next to each other. On the way back we sat on the inland side of the train. I was able to get a few photos of the New York City skyline as we were traveling out the the city. Yet again a relaxing and delay free ride.

Traveling on Amtrak with a Scanner
As I traveled I had out my notepad, pre programmed AnyTone ANILE-8R radio, and Uniden Bearcat BC125AT handheld scanner. Why would I travel with a two radios? Well I’m very thankful I did, since the last time I traveled on the Northeast Corridor there have been some frequency changes. Having the second radio allows me to search for new frequencies while the other radio monitors the known ones. The BC125AT is great for searching out new railroad frequencies with its railroad service search feature. Amtrak has power plugs located below the window so I plugged in rather then draining my scanners batteries. While on board the train I normally use an earpiece so I will not disturb the other passengers.

Who can you hear on the scanner?

  • Road dispatcher
  • Train engineer and conductors
  • Track detectors

Some train crews use the radio more than others. Typically the conductor will use this as a communication tool letting the engineer know it’s clear to depart a station stop. The conductors will use the radios to communicate to one another. Road Dispatcher will communicate with the train about any changes or updates along the route. Track detectors can be heard along part of the Northeast Corridor. These detectors are placed every 30 miles or so. A computer generated voice will come over the radio giving the milepost, current temperature (at most locations), and will report any defects. The detectors can spot dragging equipment, wheel problems, and a few other things.

Northeast Corridor Frequencies
From Boston to Penn Station New York City
160.9200 – Boston, MA to New Haven, CT
160.3550 – New Haven, CT to Stamford, CT
160.5450 – Stamford, CT to New Rochelle, NY
161.0100 – New Rochelle, NY  to Penn Station (New York, NY)