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.
View Larger Map
Map of the BNSF Topeka and Emporia Subdivisions
Showing milepost markers. The Train Cam
is located near milepost 26.5.
Southwest Chief Schedule (US Central Time):
Train 4 (eastbound to Chicago) 5:47 AM (05:47)
Train 3 (westbound to Los Angeles) 11:52 PM (23:52)
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.
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,
Top right: Uninterruptble Power Supply
Center right: Logitech C525 webcam
Bottom left: 1000baseT wired Ethernet connection to home network