RAILWAYS IN THE MARITIMES
Last updated February 6, 2013

This page has not been updated in a long time but most of the frequencies remain unchanged.

Steve Boyko's Cdn Railway Blog

Please click here for a link to an excellent railfan site scanning page.

As in other areas of North America there have been major abandonments and divestitures  over the past 25 or 30 years.  For example, all rail service is gone from Prince Edward Island and from southwestern Nova Scotia.  Service in eastern New Brunswick and to Cape Breton Island has passed from Canadian National Railways to short-line operators.  Similarly, service from Saint John into, and through,  Maine has been sold by Canadian Pacific (CP Rail).

Before checking the frequency list I suggest checking this map showing all the railways left in the Maritimes, with the exception of localized industrial operations.

Please note however that the New Brunswick East Coast Railway and Matapedia Railway were sold back to CN in 2008.   This line was prior to 1998 CN's second main line, and long before that the original Intercolonial Railway.   In regard to frequencies it should be expected that the re-acquired lines will use the CN frequencies shown in the list.

  Following is a chart of the VHF North American railway band channels and corresponding frequencies.   Please note that individual railways may have both simplex and repeater channels.   Repeater channels are made up of two different AAR channels, one for input to the repeater and one for the output (which is what you would listen to).   Railways usually give their own channel numbers to the frequencies they use.   For example, hypothetically, the Moncton Atlantic Railway might use AAR Channel 33 (160.605 MHz) for a simplex channel and call it their Channel 1.   Then they might have a repeater channel made up of AAR 13 (160.305) and AAR 86 (161.4) and call it their Channel 2.   They might even also have one using only AAR 13 as a simplex instead of in a repeater and maybe call it their Channel 3.   In fact, most of the time if you have a conventional scanner it is easier to just go with the railway's own Channel numbers as identification, and of course the frequencies that go with them.   On the other hand, dedicated railfans who travel and monitor many railroads, may prefer to use the AAR channels for identification.  In addition there are some scanners I believe that have the AAR channels preloaded in a search bank and identify them on the display according to AAR numbers.

Please note that there is no longer a Channel 01.  I have never seen any explanation of its demise or even what it was.   Channels 02 to 06 are used only in Canada.  In the USA those frequencies are allocated to other services.  Note that from Channel 05 and upwards the spacing between channels is consistently 0.015 MHz (15 kHz).

There are also 400 MHz frequencies in use however these are not being used in the Maritimes, other than possibly for links.    Industrial railways such as the gypsum loading facility in Dartmouth use business frequencies outside this dedicated railway band.

Ch

Frequency Ch. Frequency Ch. Frequency Ch. Frequency
02 159.810 26 160.500 50 160.860

74

161.220
03 159.930 27 160.515 51 160.875 75 161.235
04 160.050 28 160.530 52 160.890 76 161.250
05 160.185 29 160.545 53 160.905 77 161.265
06 160.200 30 160.560 54 160.920 78 161.280
07 160.215 31 160.575 55 160.935 79 161.295
08 160.230 32 160.590 56 160.950 80 161.310
09 160.245 33 160.605 57 160.965 81 161.325
10 160.260 34 160.620 58 160.980 82 161.340
11 160.275 35 160.635 59 160.995 83 161.355
12 160.290 36 160.650 60 161.010 84 161.370
13 160.305 37 160.665 61 161.025 85 161.385
14 160.320 38 160.680 62 161.040 86 161.400
15 160.335 39 160.695 63 161.055 87 161.415
16 160.350 40 160.710 64 161.070 88 161.430
17 160.365 41 160.725 65 161.085 89 161.445
18 160.380 42 160.740 66 161.100 90 161.460
19 160.395 43 160.755 67 161.115 91 161.475
20 160.410 44 160.770 68 161.130 92 161.490
21 160.425 45 160.785 69 161.145 93 161.505
22 160.440 46 160.800 70 161.160 94 161.520
23 160.455 47 160.815 71 161.175 95 161.535
24 160.470 48 160.830 72 161.190 96 161.550
25 160.485 49 160.845 73 161.205 97 161.565

It may be of interest to note that frequencies from 36 upwards are used outside North America for the Marine VHF band.  In North America the Railway Band takes precedence, and disallows the use of the high side of Marine Channels 1 to 19.

Freq

AAR Channel

Company Channel

Railway

Usage

160.050

AAR04

 

CAPE BRETON & CENTRAL NOVA SCOTIA

unknown use/possibly unused

160.050

AAR04

CN49

CN RAIL

YARD CHANNEL (Moncton & Halifax)

160.185

AAR05

 

CAPE BRETON & CENTRAL NOVA SCOTIA

unknown use/possibly unused

160.185

AAR05

 

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

UNKNOWN USE

160.200

AAR06

 

VIA RAIL

 

Also used by Marine Atlantic Newfoundland ferry service

ON-BOARD OPS

160.215

AAR07

CN82

CN RAIL

ENGINEERING (Fairview Jct to Sandy Cove)

160.245

AAR09

 

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

UNKNOWN USE

160.245

AAR09

 

NEW BRUNSWICK EASTERN

RTC CAMPBELLTON CH 4

160.275

AAR11

CN84

CN RAIL

ENGINEERING (Truro to Folly Mountain)

160.275

AAR11

CN84

CN RAIL

ENGINEERING (Springhill Jct to Moncton)

 

 

 

 

 

160.305

AAR13

CN28

CN RAIL

RTC CALL-IN (Moncton to Saint John)

160.305

AAR13

 

DEVCO

ALL USES

160.335

AAR14

CP14

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

UTILITY

160.355

 

 

VIA RAIL

STN OPERATIONS

160.365

AAR17

CN5

CN RAIL

TERMINAL SWITCHING HALIFAX

160.395

AAR19

CN31

CN RAIL

YARD CHANNEL MONCTON

160.425

AAR21

 

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

UNKNOWN USE

160.455

AAR23

CN81

CN RAIL

ENGINEERING (Dartmouth Subdivision)

160.455

AAR23

CN81

CN RAIL

ENGINEERING (South Halifax)

160.455

AAR23

CN81

CN RAIL

ENGINEERING (Moncton Yards)

160.455

AAR23

 

NEW BRUNSWICK EASTERN SHORE

ENGINEERING (Newcastle to Jacquet River)

160.515

AAR27

CN83

CN RAIL

ENGINEERING (Sandy Cove to Truro)

160.515

AAR27

CN83

CN RAIL

ENGINEERING (Folly Mtn to Springhill Jct)

160.515

AAR27

 

NEW BRUNSWICK EASTERN SHORE

ENGINEERING (except where 160.455 used)

160.575

AAR31

CN90

CN RAIL, with 161.235

CN POLICE

160.665

AAR37

CN4

CN RAIL

RTC CALL-IN (Moncton & Halifax Yards)

160.725

AAR41

CN18

CN RAIL

Also used by Marine Atlantic Newfoundland  ferry  and Bay Ferries Fundy services

YARD CHANNEL HALIFAX

160.755

AAR43

 

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

YARD CHANNEL (Saint John & McAdam)

160.755

AAR43

 

WINDSOR & HANTSPORT

ENGINEERING

160.815

AAR47

 

WINDSOR & HANTSPORT

TRAINS

160.845

AAR49

 

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

UNKNOWN USE

160.935

AAR55

CN3

CN RAIL

RTC CALL-IN (Dartmouth Subdivision)

160.935

AAR55

CN3

CN RAIL

RTC CALL-IN (Halifax to Windsor Jct)

160.935

AAR55

CN3

CN RAIL

RTC CALL-IN (Pacific Jct to Edmundston)

161.025

AAR61

CN8

CN RAIL

RTC CALL-IN (Windsor Jct to Truro)

161.025

AAR61

CN8

CN RAIL

RTC CALL-IN (Truro to Dieppe Jct)

161.025

AAR61

CN8

CN RAIL

RTC CALL-IN (Moncton Gordon Yards)

161.055

AAR63

CN29

CN RAIL

YARD CHANNEL HALIFAX

161.085

AAR65

CN30

CN RAIL

YARD CHANNEL MONCTON

161.115

AAR67

CP4

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

TRAIN STANDBY

161.145

AAR69

 

DEVCO

 

161.175

AAR71

CP13

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

ENGINEERING

161.205

AAR73

CN2

CN RAIL

RTC CALL-IN (Moncton East Side)

161.205

AAR73

 

NEW BRUNSWICK EASTERN SHORE

RTC CALL-IN

161.235

AAR75

CN90

CN RAIL, with 160.575

CN POLICE

161.265

AAR77

 

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

UNKNOWN USE

161.310

AAR80

 

CAPE BRETON & CENTRAL NOVA SCOTIA

ALL USES

161.355

AAR83

 

WINDSOR & HANTSPORT

RTC CALL-IN

161.415

AAR87

CN1

CN RAIL

TRAIN STNADBY (all areas)

161.415

AAR87

 

NEW BRUNSWICK EASTERN SHORE

TRAIN STANDBY

161.445

AAR89

 

NEW BRUNSWICK EASTERN SHORE

Mainline ops Ch 1

161.475

AAR91

 

NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHERN

RTC CALL-IN

161.505

AAR93

CN44

CN RAIL

YARD CHANNEL MONCTON

163.080

 

 

DEVCO

 

 

Click here for a chart produced in approximately 2004 showing usage of railway frequencies in the Maritimes.  This should be substantially still current.

Please click here for a link to an excellent railfan site scanning page.