Facebook Page

Beginner's Page


Rail Radio Ops

Equip. Reviews

Other Sites

How to Contact





Towers & Equipment

The railway radio communications system consist of base stations (called "towers") that are located every 20 or so miles along the right of way. Each base station consists of the radio hardware located in a shed of some sort, a tower and antenna, and the means to communicate with RTC (either via landline or point-to-point microwave. 

All railroad radio activity takes place between mobiles in locomotive engines, crew with walkie-talkies and mobile equipment in road vehicles. Communications with RTC only takes place when one of the operators "keys the tower" - by transmitting specific tones on the frequency to activate the link to RTC. You can tell when RTC 'comes on-line' by the  data transmission on the channel, which sounds like a standard 'squawk', for those who are familiar with radio communications. RTC doesn't, as a rule, monitor every transmission that takes place on the system.

MOW (Maintenance of Way) bases are linked together so work gangs can talk to each other over the whole length of a subdivision through a network of passive repeaters. In remote sites, such as in the mountains or in the barrens of Northern Canada, railways use repeaters on their mainline channels -  this is only done where train crews need to talk to each other over long distances or where the environment makes standard radio communication impossible. Main channel repeaters are not used in the GTA's rail lines.

The following is a complete (at least as complete as I could make it) list of CN Transmitter sites in the GTA and beyond (I went as far west as Hamilton due to the popularity of Bayview Jct and the surrounding area). Some sites are transmit sites, others are merely detectors (Its impossible to tell with just the TAFL listing.) Typically, a detector would only transmit on channel one, so I've assumed that channel-one only transmitters are detectors and highlighted them as such. Some, such as the one at mile 18.1 of the Halton sub, I know are detectors. If you see an error or would like to make a change or addition, get in touch and I'll see what I can do.

There are also 'minor' transmitters located lineside, such as automatic derails and the like. I have not listed these, but there are such items at all major yards (Mac yard, BIT, Malport, Oakville Yard, Aldershot, Hamilton, etc.)

Note - The Uxbridge, Newmarket and Weston Subdivisons have no detectors.

List of CN Radio Transmitter Locations in the GTA and vicinity

Source: Industry Canada Technical and Administrative Frequency List

Quick CN Channel Listing....
1 - 161.415 2 - 161.205 3 - 160.935 4 - 160.665
5 - 160.365 6 - 160.485 7 - 159.810 8 - 161.025

All sites transmit 161.415 MHz

City Subdivision Mileage Sup.Chs
Newtonville Kingston 278.5 1
Oshawa Kingston 290.5 1
Oshawa Kingston (Yard Office) 303.2 1,2,4,6
Oshawa Kingston (CN Sig. Shop) 303.2 1
Scarborough Kingston 320.4 1
Toronto Kingston 330.3 1
Scarborough Kingston (Scarb. Station) 325.2 1,5
Toronto Kingston "Don yard" 1,2,4,5,7,8
Toronto Kingston ScarSigShop 1,2
Bowmanville Kingston 290.5 1,3
Markham York 12.2 1,2
Ajax York 7.7 1
Fisherville York 21.6 1
Stouffville Uxbridge 40.6 1,3,4
Brampton Halton (Intermodal Term) 8.9 1,4
Brampton Halton 18.2 1
Milton Halton 36.6 1
Mississauga Oakville (Port Credit stn.) 12.8 1
Downsview Newmarket 9.5 1,2,4,5
Aurora Newmarket 30.2 1,3,4
Toronto Oakville 6.7/Mimico Yard 1,5
Toronto Oakville 5.1 1,8
Mississauga Oakville 14.0 1
Burlington Oakville 33.0 1
Oakville Oakville (yard) 20.6 1,4,5,6
Hamilton Oakville 39.3 1,3,4,5,6
Oakville Oakville 21.4 1,2,3,5,8
Burlington Oakville
(Aldershot Radio Site)
34.6 1,5,8
Toronto Weston (W. Toronto stn) 5.2 1,5,7
Toronto Bala 4.9 1
Richmond Hill Bala 31.0 1
Maple Beach Bala 60.0 1
Udney Bala 78.5 1
Vandorf Bala ? 1,2,5,8
Vaughan Maple Hump Yard n/a 1,2,8
Vaughan Macmillian Yard n/a 1,2,5,8
Toronto TTR/Union Stn. Area 277 Front st. 1,4,5


List of CP Radio Transmitter Locations in the GTA and vicinity
Source: Industry Canada Technical and Administrative Frequency List

Note: My
information is even sketchier when it comes to CP - granted, I know little about CP's radio operations. I've highlighted known detectors in yellow. I've also separated each channel into its own section on the table, as CP uses its frequency allocation a little differently than CN. As well, my search of the TAFL gave a few supposedly CP radio sites & repeaters owned by CN - these are mainly found on rail lines that CP has trackage rights to, and probably for use of CP trains on Cn rails. Any mistakes, let me know!

Quick Canadian Pacific Channel Listing....
1 - 161.475 4 - 161.115 5 - 161.325 7 - 161.535
82 - 160.815

City Subdivision Mileage Channels
Lambton Galt 5.8 1
Lambton Galt 7.4 1
Toronto Galt 0.0 1,4
Toronto Galt 5.1 1,4
Mississauga Galt 25.0 5
Mississauga Galt/Owen Sound 20.3 1,4
Milton Galt 31.2 1
Milton CN Owned   1,4,7
Kinnear Hamilton 55.4 5,82
Smithville Hamilton 37.3 5,82
Flamborough Hamilton 71.2 5,82
Smithville Hamilton 44.9 5
Hamilton Hamilton 57.5 1
Welland Hamilton 20.4 82
Agincourt Belleville/North Toronto n/a 4
Scarborough Belleville 200.4 1,4,7
Bowmanville Belleville 164.6 7
Bowmanville Belleville 164.6 7
Whitby Belleville ? w of 195.0 7
Toronto Belleville 206.3 1,4,7
Toronto Obico 9.6 1,4
Havelock Havelock 93.7 1
Agincourt Havelock 180.3 1
Agincourt T.O. Yard Diesel Shop n/a 4,7
Oakville CN Owned   1,4,7
Essa Mactier 35-40? 4,7
Palgrave Mactier 30-35? 4,7
Alliston Mactier 48.9 7
Bolton Mactier 25.5 7
Emery Mactier 7.8 7
Vaughan Mactier 15.3 7