Global Positioning System Train Tracking
Special to On Track On Line by
Using a GPS on the train:
The objective of using a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver on a train is so that you can find out where you are and when you are going to get to a certain point. I use mine all the time to track the trains progress. I believe that using my GPS is more accurate then the Amtrak 1-800-USA-RAIL system. Using a GPS, you can notify people when you are going to arrive and be very accurate.
First of course a GPS receiver (the smaller the better). Garmin Venture/Etrex work best. They are the size of a cell phone and are easy to work with. Garmin Street Pilot and the kind you use that have the built in mapping programs such as Garmin GPS V+ can be harder to set up on the train and find a place to position it.
Optional: Laptop/Palm computer. You will need a power source for this to work properly. Most lap top batteries only work for a maximum of about 3 hours. Most of the trains do however have AC plugs that you can utilize. This is especially true in Superliner II sleeper rooms. You will need a laptop to achieve Real Time Mapping.
For a portable GPS without a laptop/Palm:
For real-time mapping:
You can track your trains progress and see on a map your current location down to the street address! I like to set up the station locations using the Amtrak station guides in their timetables. You can obtain these prior to boarding the train at most stations. It gives the Amtrak station address which you can input into your computer or Palm device.
Have fun with your system. I like to use a scanner also and can sit on the train for hours tracking its progress. If you have any questions e-mail me: