Pacific’s growing reputation as a railroad tourism venue has resulted in a unique benefit for rail fans.
In a program to assist railroad aficionados, Pacific was selected as the location of a public electronic monitor that displays train movements near the city.
It’s unusual that a local community would have a live display showing train movements, similar to equipment in railroad dispatching centers, according to Jim Schwinkendorf, who helped arrange for the monitor.
A group of rail fan enthusiasts, who monitor train traffic via radio and Internet to help their members know where they can watch moving trains, contacted the Pacific Partnership about placing a radio relay antenna on the Pacific Station Plaza pavilion.
Schwinkendorf, past Partnership president and a retired BNSF executive, said he would help if Pacific could have a monitor to receive signals from the antenna and display train movements near the First Street Crossing.
“This is a real asset for people who come here to see the trains,” he said.
The electronic project uses the Advance Train Control System (ATCS), the same used by the railroad to monitor and control train movements. Both the rails and the railroad dispatch center transmit data into the ATCS.
Now rail fans in Pacific can see what railroad dispatchers see relating to train movements near Pacific.
Posted on an interior wall of the Pacific Station Plaza pavilion is a monitor that looks like a large screen television. But it is part of the ATCS being transmitted by the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad and BNSF Railway that shows the location of trains.
“We monitor the trains, switches and signals from Pacific,” Schwinkendorf said. “Otherwise this is exactly what the dispatchers in the Union Pacific and BNSF Train Control Centers (Omaha and Fort Worth) see on their computer monitors.”
The Pacific monitor displays trains to and from the Pacific First Street crossing on tracks between the Dozier crossing and Gray Summit.