Computer Controlled Model Railway Layout

I and a friend have built a model railway layout to demonstrate how a model railway can be controlled using computer software. We built the layout as part of our foundation degree in computing. The Layout is run using a program called: JavaScript Model Railway Interface (JMRI for short). The software is free for anyone to use, see JMRI website for more information about the software.

We have used the software to operate the points using a point panel on the computer screen as shown in the screenshot below. The user can see the settings of the points from the panel, to change the point the user needs to click on the circle over the point they wish to operate. The Track diagram also shows the status of some of the track sections, the green sections are free; the red track sections have a locomotive in the section. The white track section does not have any sensors so it is not possible to see if a loco is in this section or not, this could be like a railway yard were several locomotives can be stored at any one time. - point control

To operate the locomotives we can use the computer, the DCC controller and an iPhone as shown below. Any visitor to a model railway show with an iPhone will be able to operate the trains providing they have the JMRI app installed on their iPhone (or perhaps iPad or iPod, etc). We are currently looking into using a PC games controller to operate the locomotives on the layout as well. - JMRI iPhone App

We have also built signals for the main line section of the layout; the signals are controlled by the computer. The signals change state depending on the setting of the points; one of the signals also looks at the state of the track as well as the point.

We plan to take the layout out to model railway shows to demonstrate what can be achieved; we also hope that this will encourage younger people into model railways. I will add more photos to this web page after we have attended our first model railway show. Contact me if you have any questions or perhaps if you would like to see our interesting layout at your model railway show. - Model Railway Layout

This page was last updated: 11/06/2012

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