Listening In

Listening to railroad communication can be fun and enjoyable. But like all things, there are a few things you need to know before you get started.  A good scanner will be needed to receive their radio signals and you will need a good antenna connected to the scanner. And another thing, your location is a key factor.  Railroads use the VHF radio spectrum which means there radio signals are line-of-sight.  You most likely will hear their dispatchers but you have to be pretty close to the mobile units (Locomotives and MOW vehicles) to hear their transmissions.   Also, if you are tuned to their frequency and you don’t hear anyone talking, don’t get discourged.  There radio system is not like a broadcast radio station. They talk  only when they have to.

Another very important thing to consider is the Laws in your area.  Some states frown on mobile radios capable of receiving public safety frequencies even though you may not have them programmed  in your radio.  Just something to consider…


Sand Springs Railway – Locomotives   160.230 MHz   Channel 8

South Kansas & Oklahoma – Locomotives   160.785 MHz   Channel 45

BNSF – Dispatcher to locomotives and MOW   160.920 MHz   Channel 54

Tulsa Sapulpa Union  – Locomotives   161.070 MHz   Channel 64

Union Pacific – Dispatcher- Locomotives- MOW   161.220 MHz  Channel 74

FRED (Flashing rear end device)  161.115 MHz and 452.9375 MHz – No Voice transmissions (quick burps of noise when the engineer makes a power change to the rear engine or FRED sends a messge to the front engine).

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