TrainTrakr is a super cool piece of electronic art that will track every train on a particular subway system, giving you a mesmerizing look at a train system as a whole. The products, which are limited to the London, Boston, SF, and NYC train systems, show the trains as little LEDs on the system and they even have map trackers that show weather and clouds in various states. You can even buy a tracker for a single train line.

The pieces are about $175 each and they are holding a 20% off holiday sale. A single line costs $103.

These things are basically a custom PCB covered in LEDs and run a simple ESP8266 Arduino board. The TrainTrackrs can be connected to various data sources and they are updated via Wi-Fi. The Boston Trackr has 526 Red, Green, Blue, and Orange LEDs and is completely programmable if you want to try your hand at adding your own data sources.

The creator, Richard Hawthorn, is pretty intense when it comes to the data he’s collecting. He wrote that the boards were originally sensing data once per minute but, thanks to advances in the system, he was able to pull data in much faster.

“Despite these limitations, being able to see the trains move around the network in real-time is much more engaging, and we think it’s a big improvement,” he said. I’d tend to agree.


All products recommended by Knapsack are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.