The Train Cam is located in a window of my freestanding garage, which faces east toward the BNSF Topeka Subdivision tracks and the Lawrence Amtrak passenger depot (formerly the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe depot, built in 1955).   It streams a live view of the east end of the depot, the main line track, and an unused siding.  The Topeka Sub is a single-track branch line which carries on-average 10-15 trains per day.  The Amtrak Southwest Chief, which runs daily between Los Angeles and Chicago stops daily in Lawrence.  There is usually one local freight train per day, which arrives in the early evening.  Switching operations that were formerly in Lawrence have been moved to Topeka.  The small local yard, to the east (right) of the streamed image,  is rarely used.  Coal trains deliver fuel to two Kansas power plant several times per week.  In addition, BNSF dispatchers may reroute trains in one direction onto the Topeka Sub from the transcontinental double-track Emporia Subdivision.  This is done to alleviate congestion on the Emporia Sub, or if there is a problem with track or signals that obstructs traffic .  In such instances, there may be several freight trains per hour passing through Lawrence on the Topeka Sub.

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Map of the BNSF Topeka and Emporia Subdivisions

Showing milepost markers.  The Train Cam is located near milepost 26.5.

Rail line map

Amtrak passenger service

Southwest Chief Schedule (US Central Time):

Train 4 (eastbound to Chicago) 5:09 AM (05:09)

Train 3 (westbound to Los Angeles) 11:47 PM (23:47)

Technical Details

The Train Cam is powered by a  computer with 2GB of RAM and a Core 2 Duo E8200 processor.  This computer is run "headless", i.e. it has no keyboard, mouse or monitor attached.  All maintenence is done using VNC remotely.  Attached to it is a Logitech C525 webcam.  A  microphone is placed on the outside of the garage, and the headphone jack of a portable scanning radio is attached to the line-in port of the computer.  The mic and line-in inputs are mixed and sent to the streaming encoder program.  Streaming is performed by the Adobe  Flash Media Live Encoder V3.2  and relayed by servers operated by Railcam.UK at 20 frames per second.    The Railcam.UK  streaming relay service allows the Train Cam to have multiple viewers without exhausing the upstream bandwidth of my home cable modem connection.  Please e-mail me if you have comments or quesitons.

The plumbing behind the Train Cam:
 Upper left: Dell Optiplex 760 SFF computer, scanning radio, audio mixer
Top right: Uninterruptble Power Supply
Center right: Logitech C525 webcam
Bottom left: 1000baseT wired Ethernet connection to home network

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