Railroad Radio Frequencies - A list of radio channels and frequencies used by railroads, including those used by Amtrak.
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Railroad Radio Frequencies
Including Those Used By Amtrak

This page provides information about radio communication channels and frequencies used by Amtrak, including information on where to learn more about railroad communications.

Railroad Channels & Frequencies

Ch.--Freq. ......Ch.--Freq. ......Ch.--Freq. ......Ch.--Freq.

UHF Channels used by Railroads:

Amateur Radio Frequencies For Railfans
146.490 2 meter Primary channel
146.565 2 meter Secondary (backup) channel
446.050 70 cm
223.620 1.25 meter
1294.425 23 cm

I have been told that there isn't too much activity on any of the above ham bands as most amateurs listen to the universal calling frequencies: 146.520, 446.000, 224.000 etc. or the repeaters enroute.

Useful Amtrak Frequencies

Coast Starlight

Ch. Freq.
22 160.440 On-board Manager: Portland to Klamath Falls, Oregon
23 160.455 On-board Manager: Klamath Falls, OR to Oakland, CA
22 160.440 On-board Manager: Oakland to Los Angeles, California

Southwest Chief

Ch. Freq.
23 160.455 On-board Manager: Los Angeles, California to Kingman, Arizona
94 161.520 On-board Manager: Kingman, Arizona to La Junta, Colorado

San Joaquins

Ch. Freq.
22 160.440 San Joaquins - Oakland to Bakersfield, California

Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle

Ch. Freq.
49 160.845 On-board Manager: New Orleans,LA to Los Angeles,California
22 160.440 On-board Manager: East of Alpine, Texas
36 160.650 On-board Manager: Alpine, Texas to Phoenix, Arizona
42 160.740 On-board Manager: Alpine, Texas to Phoenix, Arizona
23 160.455 On-board Manager: Phoenix, Arizona to Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, California

Ch. Freq.
-- 452.900 Car Dept.
-- 457.900 Car Dept.
23 160.455 Terminal switching
63 161.055 Police
91 161.475 Police

Other Amtrak

Ch. Freq.
-- 452.900 Terminal services
13 160.305 West of Chicago, Illinois
81 161.325 Maintenance of way

How My Scanner Is Programmed:

Banks 1 through 5

Channel 01 is the Priority Channel. My scanner will automatically check this channel in between scanning each other channel. I set this to whichever channel I'm most interested in and turn on the PRIority feature. If I'm riding on the train, I usually set it to the channel being used by the Engineer and Conductor. This is also the channel of the Hot Box Detectors (HBD) along the Amtrak route. The Hot Boxes automatically check the speed of the train, the length of the train, the number of axels, and other conditions and then transmit this information using a synthesized voice as the train passes.

Channels 02 through 97 programmed to correspond to AAR Channels 02 through 97.

098 452.900 Amtrak Terminal Services
099 457.900 Amtrak Terminal Services

Bank 6 - Southern California Metrolink

101 161.415 Ch. 01 Road, Pomona to Mission Tower
102 160.815 Ch. 02 Yard and mechanical, Taylor Yard, primary
103 160.545 Ch. 03 Road, Palmdale Subdivision
104 160.995 Ch. 04 Yard, secondary
105 160.320 Ch. 05 SP Road, Burbank Jct. to Santa Clarita
106 161.550 Ch. 06 SP Road, Mission Tower to Moorpark
107 160.515 Ch. 07 UP Road, Los Angeles to Riverside
108 160.560 Ch. 08 ATSF Road, Mission Tower to San Bernardino
109 160.650 Ch. 09 ATSF Road, Mission Tower to San Diego
110 161.190 Ch. 10 ATSF Road, Lambert - San Bernardino
111 160.455 Ch. 11 Amtrak yard

Bank 7 - Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (Los Angeles)

121 160.650 Road
122 161.190 Ch 4 Road
123 161.010 Maintenance of Way
124 160.260 PBX Mobile Phone
125 161.490 PBX Mobile Phone
126 161.205 Police
127 161.370 Hobart Yard
128 161.070 Hobart Car Dept
129 160.440 Hobart Car Dept

Bank 7 - Southern Pacific (Los Angeles)

130 161.550 Road
131 160.320 Road (alternate)
132 161.205 Police
133 161.220 Police
134 160.530 Intermodal Facility Shop Yard
135 161.100 Shop Yard
136 160.305 Wilmington Light Rail Operations
137 161.310 Wilmington Light Rail Operations
138 160.350 Wilmington ICTF Yard Intermodal Facility
139 161.205 Wilmington ICTF Yard Security
140 161.400 Wilmington ICTF Yard Switcher

Bank 8 - Amateur Radio Frequencies For Railfans

141 146.490 Primary Channel
142 146.565 Secondar (backup) Channel
143 466.050

Bank 8 - Amtrak (Los Angeles)

144 160.455 Terminal switching
145 161.055 Police
146 161.475 Police
147 452.900 Car Dept.
148 457.900 Car Dept.

Bank 8 - UHF Railroad Frequencies

151 452.900 Amtrak Terminal Services
152 457.900 Amtrak Terminal Services
153 452.925
154 457.925
155 452.950
156 457.950
157 452.9125
158 457.9125
159 452.9375
160 457.9375

Bank 9 - Union Pacific (Los Angeles)

161 160.515 Ch 3 Road
162 160.290 Administration PBX Mobile Phone
163 161.520 Administration PBX Mobile Phone
164 160.665 Maintenance of Way PBX Mobile Phone
165 161.025 Maintenance of Way PBX Mobile Phone
166 161.205 Police Mutual Aid
167 160.710 Motor Freight
168 160.410 East Yard Hump
169 160.680 East Yard
170 161.340 East Yard Car Dept.
171 160.590 East Yard Car Dept.
172 160.980 Waterfront Area Harbor Channel

Bank 9 - Miscellaneous Amtrak (Los Angeles)

173 160.980 Harbor Belt Line General Operations
174 161.130 Los Angeles Junction General Operations
175 151.715 Metropolitan Stevedore Co. Plant Switching

Bank 10 - Amtrak (Los Angeles)

Scn Freq... Ch.
181 452.900 -- Terminal services; Los Angeles Car Department
182 160.305 13 On-board Manager: West of Chicago
183 160.440 22 On-board Manager: Coast Starlight: Oakland to Los Angeles
184 160.455 47 L.A.Yard:Amtrak/Metrolink/On-board Mgr:Southwest Chief
185 161.325 81 Maintenance of way
186 160.845 49 On-board Manager: Sunset Limited
187 160.455 23 On-board Manager: Phoenix to Los Angeles
188 457.900 -- Los Angeles Car Department
189 161.055 63 Los Angeles Amtrak Police
190 161.475 91 Los Angeles Amtrak Police
191 161.550 96 Southern Pacific (north & east from Los Angeles)
192 160.320 14 Southern Pacific (south from Los Angeles)
193 160.740 42 Union Pacific (east from Los Angeles)

Frequencies of interest in Los Angeles, California

Ch Freq... User
87 161.415 San Bernardino Sub

If you see a crew member with a radio and the display shows "1414", that means that their radio is set to transmit on Channel 14 and to receive on Channel 14. Generally, transmit and receive are set to the same channel for communications with a few exceptions. Thus, you don't need to go out and buy two scanners to get both sides of a conversation.

One of the easiest places to find where you can purchase scanners is Radio Shack. They have a great diversity of scanners in a range of prices from the most economical to the very expensive. The more you pay, the more channels your scanner will be able to store and you will find many advanced features in the more expensive receivers. I have the Raido Shack "PRO-51 Hyper Scan" which can store and scan all of the railroad frequencies simultaneously and very rapidly. It lists for $199 but is often on sale for quite a bit less.

I wasn't a scanner buff before I found my interest in Amtrak and I still do not enjoy listening to the scanner except in regards to Amtrak. If you are not already experienced in working with a scanner, then you might find using some of the more advanced scanners a bit challenging! If you know someone that can help you, definitely ask them to help you both in your purchase and in how to use the scanner. I had to learn how to use this one on my own. It took several readings of the instructions and a lot of experimentation before I figured out how to program it just the way I liked it.

One thing I was extremely surprised about was the great amount of railroad communications that I can receive from my home! I am about 2 miles from the nearest track. The Southwest Chief and the Desert Wind are the only Amtrak trains that travel that track other than quite a bit of freight. I am a few miles from the nearest train yard, but I receive a tremendous amount of railroad communications all day long from a number of sources. I've identified some of them. I'm definitely receiving communication from the yards where they load and unload the truck trailors from the flatbed train cars. I also receive communications from several dispatchers and from Metrolink. I'm just guessing, but if you are less than 30 miles from a train yard, you will probably be able to receive railroad communications from some source.

If you are interested in more information about railroad communications, then get a copy of these books:

Website content provided as an educational volunteer effort of the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation (APRHF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Please help support the preservation and promotion of passenger rail heritage. Join the APRHF today! Website hosting made possible by TrainWeb, LLC and our sponsors.
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