JMRI can be very useful in model railroading and is highly recommended. Decoder Pro is great for programming locomotives greatly simplifying the process. It can also be used to set up other devices. It is essential for set up of the Tower Man and Tower Controller II from RR-CirKits. Panel Pro is used to actually control the model railroad layout.

One of the perks of using JMRI is the web server. Panels created with Panel Pro on the computer can be shared on other devices with a web browser. Shown below is the computer screen, an iPad, and an Android phone with the same panel displayed. This panel is created with the layout editor and shows the entire layout. Turnouts can be controlled from any of these devices and the screen on all three will update. Touching or clicking on a turnout changes its’ state. The track section showing red is occupied by a train. The outer trackage top, left, and bottom is on the upper level.

Shown below is the control panel for the North yard produced with the control panel editor. This is a subset of the layout editor trackage and both panels are inter-related, meaning a change of turnout or detection on one shows up on the other. The main line passing through, the Arrival/departure track, and staging all are detected for occupancy. The yard, ice track, and yard lead are not.

The icons with two dots show the status of the uncouplers, green dots lined with the track mean the uncoupler will not affect rolling stock. The red dots at 90 degrees means the uncoupler is activated. Touching the icon changes the position of the uncoupler.

The turnout, track, and the uncoupler icons representing the yard here are custom made bitmaps referenced by the control panel editor.

This is another panel produced with the panel editor. This one also shows current turnout position and occupancy and also adds the signal status. This panel is used to create the signal logic. Turnout position can be changed here as well. Signal position can be changed here as well. It is not complete. I will update this panel to accommodate new signals as I add them.

There is quite a lot of work involved in using JMRI in this manner. There are tables for turnouts and sensors and signal logic which must be set up before or during the panel creation. All the panels and tables are inter-dependent, so changes should be well thought out and naming conventions should be standardized.

Check the links page for a link to JMRI.