BNSF Front Range Sub. Print E-mail

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(We highly recommend the Scanner Radio Pro app for Android @ $2.99 - it works better than TuneIn as it is optimized for Scanner Streams and has several useful features that TuneIn doesn't offer)


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Welcome to the BNSF Front Range Subdivision radio stream covering the Colorado front range between Cheyenne, WY and Denver, CO.

Stream format: Stereo stream with two scanners.

The BNSF Brush Dispatcher frequency has been moved to a separate radio and is broadcast on the right channel.
All other Front Range Sub. radio traffic will broadcast from the left channel. 


The main line through this area is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s Front Range Subdivision. The Front Range Sub extends from Denver, Colorado to Wendover, Wyoming (MP 240.8). The radios used are located approximately 6 miles west of downtown Fort Collins. The area reliably covered extends from Wellington, CO to the north to Longmont, CO to the south.

This line typically has 2-6 trains each day. Trains include manifest freights, molten sulfur unit trains and occasional intermodal and empty coal. In addition to the BNSF, the radio will pick up Union Pacific (Locals into Fort Collins and the UP Greeley Sub) and the Great Western Railway, which switches Fort Collins North Yard, the Budweiser brewery and other industries in the Fort Collins/Loveland/Windsor and Johnstown, CO areas.

The track diagram below shows the BNSF tracks through the towns and cities between Cheyenne and Denver.  The line is dispatched by the BNSF from Fort Worth, TX. Movements along this line are controlled by Track Warrant. The railroad direction is north/south and track warrants are typically issued to the north or south siding switches of the various sidings. Occasionally, warrants are given to specific mile posts. The line is relatively flat or over rolling hills with only short sections of grades.

BNSF Front Range Sub. Map


What You'll Hear: What comes across the scanner is fairly variable. The primary intent is to listen to the BNSF Front Range Subdivision, but due to a number of factors, mostly the use of just a few radio frequencies, other BNSF operations in eastern Colorado can often be heard. From this location, the BNSF Front Range Dispatcher usually comes in very clearly on the Fort Collins radio located at North Yard. In addition, the Brush dispatcher can be heard, typically on the Barr radio. Occasionally, the Akron Sub can be heard on the same frequency used by the Front Range Sub. Union Pacific's local from Greeley comes into Fort Collins and drops off cars for the Great Western to switch as needed.


Frequencies Scanned



AARUseDescriptionDispatcher ID

Front Range Dispatcher

Akron Dispatcher (1)






Brush Dispatcher (2)

31st Street Yardmaster



161.250Left76YardRennix Yardmaster (Denver)
161.490Left92RoadUnion Pacific (interchange)
160.875/160.260Left51/10RoadGreat Western Railway

Description in Black text indicates normal traffic heard on frequency

Description in Blue text indicates traffic heard occasionally when reception is good


1: The Akron Subdivision that runs from East Brush, Colorado to Mc Cook, Nebraska.

2: The Brush Subdivision runs east/west from Denver to Sterling. This frequency is shared with the 31st Street Yardmaster who can sometimes be heard when radio reception is good.



























Cheyenne, Wyoming is a busy railroad town. Here, the BNSF crosses over the Union Pacific mainline on the west side of town. BNSF 7728 is shown moving north toward the Cheyenne yard.

BNSF 7728 crosses the UP main line on the west side of Cheyenne, WY.


Platte River Junction is where coal trains leave the main to dump their load at the Rawhide Power Plant. This train has just passed the switch heading north toward Cheyenne.

Northbound BNSF train at Platte River Junction


Wellington is a small town north of Fort Collins. Trains typicaly don't slow down much passing through here. BNSF 7850 leads a southbound Laurel-Denver freight.

BNSF 7850 at Wellington, CO.


Fort Collins is known for it's street trackage. For several miles, the main line shares Mason Street with nothing but paint stripes to separate the trains from the cars.

Here FURX 7263 approaches the College Avenue grade crossing with intermodal train 92 north. 

BN 7263 approaches the College Ave. crossing in Fort Collins.


BNSF 5315 runs north on Mason at the Maple Street crossing.

BNSF 5313 at Maple Street.

One of the regulars on the BNSF Front Range Sub. are the molten sulfur trains. These trains run between Bonneville, WY and Galveston, TX. Here is a southbound loaded sulfur train heading out of Fort Collins at Trilby Road. The bungalow just ahead of the locomotive is the talking defect detector at MP 67.8.
Southbound Molten Sulfur train at Trilby Road


Loveland has an interchange with the Great Western Railway. BNSF 4803  leads it's train south through town.

BNSF 4803 rolls south through Loveland, CO.


Niwot is a small town between Longmont and Boulder whenre the tracks run parallel to Highway 119. In this photo, BNSF 7547 is shown heading south after going through the Colorado Highway 52 grade crossing.

BNSF 7547 corsses Colorado Highway 52 just south of Niwot, CO.

Technical stuff:

The "left channel" scanner is a Realistic Pro-2022 using a copper pipe "hentenna" tuned to the AAR frequency band.

The "right channel" scanner is a Realisstic Pro-2022 with a copper pipe super J pole colinear antenna.

The antennas are approx. 25' above ground and 6 miles west of the tracks in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Audio out from the scanner is fed into a Realtek HD Audio card in an eMachines D5039 desktop computer running Windows XP.


What's a hentenna you ask? Here it is before I dragged it up to the attic crawlspace. It is a 1 wavelength loop antenna with a smaller matching section. The dimensions of the outside loop are approximately 37" x 12". The pipes in the middle have an SO-239 connector for attaching the coax feed cable. This antenna has a symmetric, peanut-shell shaped radiation/sensitivity pattern, so it gives a bit of directional gain (2.5-3dB) along the main axis, perpendicular to the plane of the loop. It should be good for receiving signals font and back, while ignoring signals from the sides. The word hentenna is a play on words..."hen" means strange or odd in japanese, in recognition of the inventors, a group of Japanese Hams in the 1970's.  

Copper pipe Hentenna on PVC support base