Rochelle Web Cam
E-mail Article to a FriendPrint ArticleBookmark and Share

Rochelle Web cam - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where is this camera?
A. The TRAINS Rochelle Webcam is located in Rochelle, Illinois, overlooking the crossing of Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Chicago-Twin Cities line and Union Pacific's Chicago-Omaha line. Our camera is situated atop the roof of the shelter at the Rochelle Railroad Park and looks west toward the crossing. There's a map in our Rochelle brochure that can help give you the lay of the land (this is a 1.3 MB download; you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this file).

Q. How did you manage to obtain such a great location?
A. The TRAINS Rochelle Webcam is brought to you by a partnership of TRAINS Magazine and the City of Rochelle, including the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation, Rochelle Municipal Utilities, and Rochelle.Net.

Q. What kind of equipment do I need to watch the action on the cam?
You'll need a reasonably up-to-date browser and a connection to the internet at 28 Kbps or faster.

Q. Actually, I've got a very fast cable modem, and this camera only refreshes once every four seconds or so. Is there a problem?
Nope, this is the correct behavior of the webcam. Due to bandwidth constraints, we're able to serve a limited number of images per user per minute. That rate is kept relatively low in order to accommodate as many simultaneous users as possible.

Q. The camera seems to work fine for a few minutes, and then the image freezes. What's wrong?
Due to those same bandwidth considerations, there's a limit to the number of viewers that can be accommodated at any one time -- and once that limit is reached, the oldest connection is dropped. This ensures that no visitor will ever receive a "server too busy" message. Depending on the time of day, and the number of users looking at the action, your session could last a minute (or less) to several minutes.

Q. Is there any way to make the image larger?
Sorry, no. Again, due to bandwidth limits, the size of the image is kept relatively small to allow more people to concurrently enjoy the webcam.

Q. Recent images show up fine, but I cannot see the live image. Any suggestions?
Yep! Most users reporting trouble fall into one of two categories. The first is related to how personal firewalls handle referrer information; the second is Java-related. When you click on a web link, your browser transmits referrer information (the web address of your current page) to the server of the new page. Our webcam server requires this information, but many personal firewall systems block it. Luckily, firewalls can be configured to allow referrer info to be passed to certain specific servers. Check the documentation that came with your firewall to learn how to create a "rule" which would allow your browser to pass referrer info to our server. Our server's address is The other problem seen most often involves Java. Specifically, users with very recent versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer have reported problems accessing the live image because their browsers, by default, do not contain a robust version of Java. If you believe you are experiencing this problem, download and install a fresh copy of Java, which you can find at If that doesn't help, try a different browser, such as Firefox. Macintosh users should not experience this trouble. If all else fails, send a detailed message to our webcam team at Be sure to fully explain the problem, and the steps you have attempted to correct it. We'll answer at our earliest opportunity.

Q. I've watched the Rochelle webcam for a long time and haven't seen a single train. I thought this was supposed to be a busy place! Do you have a schedule of the trains that go by here?
As is the case with most of this country's freight railroads, UP and BNSF trains through Rochelle run at various times around the clock. On a good day, there may be as many as a hundred train movements across the Rochelle diamonds, but there can be lulls that last an hour or more. Remember the first safety rule of railroading: expect a train on any track, in any direction, at any time. Please be patient... keep coming back and you'll be rewarded with big-time railroad action.

Q. I'd like to visit Rochelle on my next vacation. Any pointers on how I can get started?
The Rochelle area information page has links to good information about Rochelle and the surrounding area.

Q. Why are there occasional pictures of empty tracks (no trains) on the recent images page?
The motion detection system on our webcam server can be fooled by abrupt changes in scene brightness, as is seen when clouds cast a shadow over the target area. On very windy days, there may be a series of false triggers if gusts are strong enough to jiggle the camera.

Q. Why is there sometimes a picture of the middle of a train on the recent images page?
The motion detection system "re-arms" itself about three minutes after capturing a picture. So, if a train takes longer than that to rattle over the diamonds, the cam snaps another picture.

Q. I know a train went by at 1:40 pm, but there is no picture of it on the recent images page. What's up with that?
It could be the motion detection system just didn't trigger on the train. If we're getting a lot of false triggers, we may decrease the sensitivity of the motion detector, which could adversely affect triggering when a train does come into view. It's kind of like the squelch control on your scanner -- if set too low, you experience a lot of noise (empty tracks on the webcam); if set too high, you miss traffic. Also, remember that the camera is disabled for three minutes after snapping a picture. If a train came by at 1:38 pm, for example, a train on the adjacent track at 1:40 would be missed.

Q. How come there are no pictures of trains at night on the recent images page?
Because there's really nothing to see after the sun goes down, we stop capturing still images at sundown, and resume capturing them at sunrise.

Q. My company manufactures something that would appeal to the viewers of this webcam. How can I buy a banner ad?
If you're selling a railroad-related product or service, call the folks at the TRAINS advertising department at 888-558-1544, extension 625 (outside the US and Canada, 262-798-6625), or drop an email to

Q. This FAQ has been entertaining and helpful, but I have a question that's not listed here. Now what do I do?
Send your question via email to the TRAINS webcam team at We appreciate suggestions and will endeavor to answer your question promptly.
Subscriber Only Content
Subscriber Only Content
This icon denotes premium subscriber content.   Learn more »
Expand Ribbon
close logo