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What's in the name TrainMon5?

TrainMon5 is an abbreviation of the words "Train Monitor HTML5". HTML5 is the 5th revision of the HTML markup language that is used to provide structure and presentation to most of the websites you see today.

What is TrainMon5?

TrainMon5 is the next evolution of rail monitoring software for railfans. It provides access to semi real-time data about the locations of nearby trains to help give you the edge in your sport of train watching by allowing you to determine where the best spot to view or record your next train.

Development for TrainMon5 began in 2016 and went live in 2017. It was introduced as a cross platform web-based solution to allow train hobbyist to be able to track nearby trains for railroads that utilized the ATCS (Advanced Train Control System) technology over radio antenna transmissions.

How Does TrainMon5 Work?

In the client-server model, TrainMon5 works by contacting an active ATCS data feed server, receiving data from it and then transforming that data it into a object oriented data structure which then can be transmitted over a secure connection using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. Once the data is received by the client the data is mapped to a graphical layout either built by the end user themselves or by using a pre-built layout provided by a TrainMon5 layout author.

Does TrainMon5 Work For Any Railroad?

In a railfans ideal world maybe, but in the real world, no. TrainMon5 only works for railroads that utilize the ATCS data protocol over the 800/900 MHz frequencies. Some railroads use other means such as satellite and/or cellular communication and thus those railroads cannot be monitored.

What Can TrainMon5 Do?

TrainMon5 reads the ATCS data feeds and transforms the data into a format that can then transmitted over a secure connection (HTTPS) to the client. The end client then takes the received data and then logically maps it to a graphical layout that represents track elements and signals similar to what a dispatcher would see. TrainMon5 is only as accurate as the data feeds it receives data from and depending on signal reception for an area, the display may show incorrect indications.

What Can TrainMon5 Not Do?

TrainMon5 is a read-only application. It provides no method of outbound communication over ATCS frequencies and therefor absolutely cannot be used to perform ATCS related functions that could cause interference with real ATCS data communications. While the application does have an interactive interface that allows users to clear switch and signal indications, this behavior is only visual and only exists to allow end users to clear faulty data off of their display. Interfacing with the graphical layout has absolutely no effect in the real world. TrainMon5 only provides data related to train movements and routes. It cannot provide information related to the cargo of a train, crew information, or any other specifically detailed information that a person could attempt to use for unlawful or malicious means.

Even With What TrainMon5 Can't Do, Doesn't It Still Pose A Safety Risk?

The simplest answer is no. TrainMon5 poses no more of a safety risk than an at-grade railroad crossing. The longer answer though is this; some people may be led to believe that a program allowing you to know where a train approximately is and where it is set to go may make it easier for a person to perform malicious acts. However this is simply a faulty assumption. TrainMon5's behavior is the same of that of an application that allow persons to track an airplanes location status, applications that which some of the major airlines provide to consumers themselves. Like TrainMon5, those applications do not provide access to crew information, cargo information, etc. If a person wanted to be malicious they do not need a program like TrainMon5 to do so.

If you have additional questions about the TrainMon5 application and its capabilities, please contact support.

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