ComputerAutomated Traffic System

This is the homepage for the Computer Automated Traffic System (CATS), a suite of opensource programs that provide signal logic on a model railroad. Todownload the software, scroll down on this page to the Code section.Click on the software link and read the license. Then scroll to thebottom of that page for links to the software, collected into zipfiles.The release zip file should be placed in the same folder as JMRI.It contains user documentation.

The impetus for this software was to implement CTC signaling on PatLana's Cedar River and Iowa Central Railway (not affiliated with theCedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway in any way). Pat's Crandic is an Nscale model railroad, a bridge route between Kansas City and themythical town of Pammelia, Iowa, with connections to Minneapolis/St.Paul and Chicago. Though the date is August, 1968, the railroadmangement has invested in a futuristic computer system using CRTs fordispatching traffic on the railroad. This program is the result of thatinvestment.

Video of the Cedar River and Iowa Central, its CEO, and crew can befound at
Dan's video page. A high speedInternet connection is needed because some of these are large. They areviewed through Quicktime, a free plugin from Apple Computer.

What is CATS?

CATS is open sourcesoftware, written in Java and built on the work of the JMRI programmers(JMRI home page). CATS is a JMRIapplication and not part of the JMRI toolset, so JMRI (and a JavaRuntime Environment) are needed to run CATS.

The followingscreen capture is from the program used to create a dispatcher panel.
The next screencapture is the Crandic dispatcher panel in operation.
One more screencapture shows the train lineup pulldown.

Train Status Client

A third member in the CATS suite of programs for supporting operationsis a Train Status Client (TrainStat). It summarizes the informationon the operating session trains in a tabular form, for use by yardmasters or traffic managers. It is a separate Java application, run onthe computer running CATS or networked computers.
TrainStat screen shot


Quick Start

To get started using CATS, download the release zip file into a folder containing JMRI and unzip it. The distributioncontains Word documents on how to install and use CATS.


Each of the programs has a user manual/guide. The manuals for designer and CATS are included the release20xx zip file. The manual forTrainStat is included in the TrainStat zip file.

In addition, I have posted links to the PowerPoint presentations I gave at the 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015 NMRA National conventions and the 2013 NMRA RMR convention:wiring clinic, panel building clinic,magnet board example, andCTC example,RMR 2013 clinic, National 2014 clinic, National 2015 Layout design clinic, National 2015 CATS clinic. RockyOp 2015 CTC Training.

Release Notes

Download the latestrelease notes.releasenotes.

Important Note to CurrentUsers:CATS 2.15 (Release2007) is compatiblewith JMRI versions 2.0-2.5.3. It is not compatible with older versionsofJMRI or with version 2.5.4 or later.  CATS 2.21 (Release2013) is compatible with JMRIversions 2.5.4 and up to 2.8. CATS 2.31 (Release2022) is compatible with JMRI 2.10 to 2.12. CATS 2.32 (Release2035) is compatible with JMRI 2.12 and up to 2.14.1. CATS 2.33 (Release2036) is compatiblewith JMRI 3.0. CATS 2.34 (Release2037) is compatible with JMRI 3.3.1 thru 3.8.I have received reports that CATSunder MacOS Snow Leopard does not launch from the desktop, but does from a command window. This problem is under investigation(but I do not have access to a system running Snow Leopard).

The focus of this release is on CATS. The highlights of the changes for Release2037are:


Latest versions:
Layout files generated by previous releases are compatible with this release.

To download the latestsoftware, you will need to scroll to the bottom of the license to findthe links to the software.licenseand software.The Train Status Application wasdeveloped under GPL2 and can be found at the end of theGPL 2license.

Coming Soon

I have somecomplementary programs written, which will be posted here when I getthem polished some more:Underdevelopment


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CATS uses theartistic license that JMRI was released under(JMRILicense).TrainStat was developed under Gnu Public License, version 2.


I am sharing theseprograms for the enjoyment of the model railroading community. If youfind them useful, then great. However, I know they are not perfect -there are over 30,000 lines of Java code in each. There are more thingsI would like them to do, as well. But, I am the only person supportingthe programs, the documents, and this web site and this is not my dayjob. So, I welcome bug reports and enhancement suggestions, but willget to them when time permits.


I have to thank PatLana for being the test bed for this code. His Cedar River and IowaCentral is large enough and has enough variety to give this a goodworkout. I also thank my core beta testers - BruceFaulkner's CSXT Shenandoah Division, andJohnParker's BNSF Fall River Division, for theirsuggestions and patience working through the "features". Bob Jacobson,Paul Bender, Dick Bronson, and the rest of the JMRI developers meritspecial recognition because they provide the glue between thedispatcher panel and the layout.The phrase "JMRI"belongs to the JMRI development organization. "Java" is a registeredtrademark of Sun Microsystems (now Oracle).

This page was lastupdated August 21, 2015.