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Locations are the heart and soul of WhereAreTheTrains.com.  A location is a spot where you observe or hear trains with some frequency.  And, by frequency, we don't mean the number of trains.  We mean an observing spot that you frequent or observe often.  It can be a grade crossing, signal, switch, siding, or any other place you can pinpoint on a map and associate with a railroad.

A location does not have to be a spot where you see trains with your own eyes, either.  For example, the WhereAreTheTrains.com HQ building is located about 1 mile south of a Norfolk Southern mainline.  We can't see the trains from here, but our scanner picks up much of the communication between the trains and the dispatcher, and as the trains call the signals as they pass them.  We, therefore, have defined many of these signals that we can hear over the scanner as our locations, and report train sightings as we hear the conductor call the signals.

Getting to the Locations Screens

To begin creating or editing locations, click the My Locations link in the menu bar at the top of the screen, just under the WhereAreTheTrains.Com banner:

Locations Menu Option graphic
This will take you to the main Location screen.

Location Maintenance

After clicking on the Locations link, the following screen will be displayed.  This screen lists all of the locations you currently have defined and allows you to edit them or create new locations.

Location Menu Graphic
Some things you should know about this screen:

*  Lists all locations you currently have defined. 
*  You can edit an existing location by clicking the Edit link at the far right of the grid
*  The # Subs column lists the number of subscribers you have for a location. 
*  When you create a new location, you are automatically added as a subscriber so you will receive reports when someone else files a train sighting report against one of your locations.  You can click on the underlined number (in this example, the number 1) to see a list of all subscribers
*  You can create a new location by clicking the New Location button

Creating a New Location

When you choose to create a new location, the screen below will be displayed:

Location Maintenance Graphic

This is where you define a new location.  It is also basically the same screen that is displayed when you choose to edit an existing location.  When editing an existing location, you can drag it to a new position or change the descriptive information at the top of the screen.  Also, when editing a location, a Delete button will be available that allows you to remove the location from the system.

The new location marker is the red symbol with the black dot in the middle.  It's starting position on the map is determined as follows:
*  If your device (PC, smartphone, etc) reports your GeoLocation, this will be used as the starting position
*  If we can't automatically determine your GeoLocation, we'll start with the Zip/Postal code you used when you registered your account

Regardless of the starting position, you can drag the location marker to anyplace you need it to be.

If the location you want to add is nowhere near the new location's starting position, you can quickly jump to a new place by entering an address (or partial address) and clicking the Map It! button.  The map will then be re-centered on this address and you can start dragging the new location marker from there.

Be sure and fill out as much descriptive information in the top section of the screen as possible.  This is the information other members will see when they are subscribing to locations, so you want to tell them as much about the location as you can.  This is also the information that will show up when a train sighting email alert is sent out.

Once you are finished entering information about the location, click the Submit button to add it to your list of locations.

A word (or two) about Markers

The current location marker is the red indicator with the black dot in the middle.  You can drag this wherever you want to on the map to indicate where the location actually exists.

Green markers are other locations you have previously created.

Blue markers are locations created by other members.  Since there could be a lot of these in any given area, we load only only the ones within a 50 mile radius of your location's starting point.  If you use the Map It! button to re-center the map, the blue location markers are re-loaded using a 50 mile radius from the new map center.  If you drag your location marker far from its starting point, you can always click the Reload Markers button to reload all of the location markers using the current location marker you've been dragging around as the new map center point.  That way, you'll be able to see the locations that already exist so you don't inadvertently create a location that someone else has already created.

If you find that someone already has created a location where you want to create yours, no worries.  You don't need to create a 2nd location at the same spot.  Instead, just Subscribe to that location!  Click the button in the lower right corner of your screen to find out more!