Palmer Railroad Radio
|Palmer Railroad Radio||Rail
This Bearcat BCT-8 with east-facing Yagi antenna and dedicated PC are located at and sponsored by the Steaming Tender Restaurant, and we thank Robin and Blake for making this audio feed possible. Watch and listen at the same time; the Palmer railroad video feed can be found HERE.
Alpha tags showing which channel is active and being heard are provided; these display in place of the album or song titles you'd see if lstening to internet radio or MP3 files. The following frequencies are monitored;
160.770 NEC dispatcher
160.800 CSX road
161.070 CSX yard
160.680 CSX NC dispatcher Boston Sub
161.160 PanAm district 3 dispatcher
160.470 Mass Central road and yard
160.575 Mass Central
160.935 NEC yard
161.205 NEC yard
161.415 NEC yard
Several things worth noting;
- On weekends there may be little to hear. Operations on both Mass Central and New England Central are uncommon, and CSX crews do not reliably call the few wayside signals here. Conversely, on weekdays it can be difficult keeping the conversations separate when two NEC crews and and the Mass Central are all making up trains and the CSX local is in town at the same time (usually midmorning). The alpha tags (showing frequency and railroad) which most media and audio players display help clarify what and who is being heard at any given moment.
- Multiple NEC crews may work the yard at once, using different radio frequencies. Common train numbers heard include 603, 604 and 606 (Palmer switcher), 608 (Willimantic-Palmer turn) and 611 (Brattleboro-Palmer turn), although rngine numbers may be used instead when switching. Mass Central uses one channel for most train operations, and their transmissions can be heard even when quite far out of town. Much of the MC switching activity you'll hear is NOT in Palmer, but further north at the Gibbs Crossing transload facility at the south edge of Ware. CSX weekday local B740 sticks to its own yard, with the other two railroads transferring their interchange cuts to and from CSX. The local radio traffic may be near constant at times, interfering with the listener's ability to also monitor the (arguably) more important and interesting dispatcher's channels. In the near future this feed will be divided so that yard activity is on one stereo channel while road and dispatcher activity appears on the other channel, allowing listeners to choose their priority.
- NEC yard limits are at mileposts 63 and 70; the latter is well north of Palmer. A departing northbound 611 waiting to obtain track authority beyond MP70 can be standing right in Palmer center (often on the CSX connection track so as to avoid blocking the diamond), or it can already be several miles out of town up in Three Rivers, especially if held awaiting a track crew or inspector further north to clear up. Location can be inferred from the quality of the train's radio; noisy means it's likely in Three Rivers. Likewise, an arriving 611 giving up its track permit after passing MP70 may do so anywhere between the yard limits sign and the diamond, and will often also advise the yard crews of its impending arrival.
- We included the PanAm district 3 dispatcher channel despite its seeming irrelevance because A) it's quite audible in Palmer and B) it has no internet coverage elsewhere. This is something we'd like to change; if you own property or a business with power and internet access in the Ayer, Shirley, Gardner, Fitchburg, Millers Falls, or Greenfield areas and are interested in hosting a feed, use the CONTACT BROADCASTER link to get in touch with us. We'll supply the labor and equipment, and other railfans will get to hear what's going on in your neck of the woods! Our other RR radio feeds covering nearby areas are linked below.
Be sure to visit and eat at the Steaming Tender, the best train-watching spot in New England featuring truly great food, frequent trains with safe watching and photography from the parking lot, and plenty of other railfans to kibbitz with. Come often, eat well, make friends and enjoy the show!