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Google Streetview for Amtrak?


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#1 fairviewroad

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:54 PM

You know how Google Maps offer "streetview" for nearly every major road and highway in the US and Canada and much of Europe? (For those not familiar, here's a highly random example.)

I just stumbled across this: On a scenic European rail line,Google recently mounted a streetview camera on a special rail car to produce streetview style images of the route. While the images they collected have not yet been uploaded to Google maps, it seems like it would be an awesome feature to include for Amtrak routes.

The main problem of course would be the redtape required to cut through here in the US. For one thing I think it's highly unlikely that the contraption used by Google in the video linked to above would be permitted on a regular train route here. For one thing it runs out in front of the engine which would probably violate the sensibilities of US safety regulators. But perhaps there's a way it could be mounted on an engine, or maybe it could trail at the rear of the train. Perhaps on the deck of an observation car platform?

Anyhow, it would certainly be fun to "explore" Amtrak routes you haven't been on by riding along vicariously on Streetview.

#2 NY Penn

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:04 PM

Someone will inevitably bring up terrorism.

However, something similar has been done before in New York, with the exception of the tunnels into Penn Station:




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#3 Agent

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:15 PM

Maybe the cameras can be mounted in Amtrak's dome car. I vote for Raton Pass to be done first.

#4 sechs

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 10:26 PM

I've seen a number of cab ride videos for the Pacific Surfliners. I'm sure that they exist for other routes that run during daylight hours.

#5 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 01:52 AM

I've seen a number of cab ride videos for the Pacific Surfliners. I'm sure that they exist for other routes that run during daylight hours.

Any of us could create a "cab ride" video by placing a camera at the window of the last upper level door of a Superliner train and reversing the order of the frames so that it appeared to be following the track in the other direction. You'd have plenty of improper signal indications, but for the uninitiated it would appear to be fine at first glance.

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#6 MikefromCrete

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:43 AM

A camera could easily be placed on the front of the locomotive. As a matter of fact, many locomotives already have cameras. A lot of Operation LIfesaver specials show a view from the cab to TVs back in the cars to allow passengers to have an engineer's view of near-crashes at grade crossings and other dangers. Tape from the locomotive cameras could be used in court to determine what actually happened at a collision site.

#7 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:51 AM

According to this thread at TO http://www.trainorde...d.php?4,2195451 Amtrak is well on the way to having cameras in all its locomotives. The cameras have a 3 day memory capicity and can be downloaded remotely.
I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train.

#8 fairviewroad

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:04 PM

Those LIRR videos are pretty cool, and yes it would certainly seem possible to do a simple time-lapse video for Amtrak routes in that same style. But that
isn't really what I'm thinking of here.

Think about it...for Amtrak's LD routes, a time-lapse video would either take hours to watch or would be so fast as to be useless. The advantage of
Streetview is being able to focus in on an exact spot by locating it on a map and then clicking on the Streetview function. Thus if you wanted to see what
it was like to cross over the Mississippi River on the Empire Builder, you simply go to that point on the map and have a look. (Whereas with a time-lapse video
you'd only get a frame or two of that bridge, and would have to hunt around in the dark to find it.) And a regular-speed full-length video would have the same
problem of not providing users the chance to easily find a specific spot.

The Streetview cameras also provide 360 degree views whereas a conventional cab-mounted camera or a camera
out the back of a Superliner would generally provide a uni-directional view only.

#9 Guest_trainviews_*

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:10 PM

The Norwegian public television did the whole trip from Bergen to Oslo a few years ago. The route over the mountains is extremely scenic and the 7 hour program actually proved a small hit with wievers. (it is online and can be googled - sorry haven't got the time to find it right now) The idea has somewhat cathced on and here in Denmark several routes have been taped and broadcast, but in all honesty while pretty we lack the dramatic beauty of Norway.

#10 Tumbleweed

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:21 PM

The Norwegian public television did the whole trip from Bergen to Oslo a few years ago. The route over the mountains is extremely scenic and the 7 hour program actually proved a small hit with wievers. (it is online and can be googled - sorry haven't got the time to find it right now) The idea has somewhat cathced on and here in Denmark several routes have been taped and broadcast, but in all honesty while pretty we lack the dramatic beauty of Norway.


Here's a teaser with a link to the 22gb complete 7 hour video.... http://avoision.com/..._to_awesome.php
California Zephyr LNK-DEN(RT), DEN-GJT (RT), OMA-CHI(RT) 2/11
Capitol Limited CHI-WAS (RT) 2/11
Silver Meteor WAS-WPB (RT) 2/11
Empire builder FAR-CHI (RT) 3/12
CL CHI-WAS 4/12
SM WAS-WPB 4/12
SM WPB-NYP 4/12
LSL NYP-CHI 4/12
EB CHI-FAR 4/12
EB FAR-CHI 4/13
CL CHI-WAS 4/13
SM WAS-WPB 4/13
SM WPB-NYP 4/13
LSL NYP-CHI 4/13
EB CHI-FAR 4/13
SM WPB-NYP 2/14
LSL NYP-CHI 2/14
EB CHI-FAR 2/14
EB FAR-CHI 2/14
CZ CHI-DEN 2/14


Miles as of Feb 2014......23, 279
Future Plans....Coast Starlight and SW Chief



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