URB is a tool for creating an universal wireless model railway management system

This URB (Universal Railway Bus) system lets the modeler create a management system customized to their layout. It is completely expandable as the layout grows. The modeler can start off slowly with a simple system and add to it as he goes along. This system provides the modeler with none of the restrictions that are characteristic of off-the-shelf control systems, such as the DCC, and without the large cash layout.

The URB system is modular. It grows incrementally according to your needs. This reduces cost and provides a true digital upgrade for your existing system. Native support of sensors and automatic train traffic by a schedule or scripts.

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Presentation URB system

Universal Railway Bus system consists of three parts — a Android App, rules for applying and writing Arduino Sketches and any Arduino hardware. You can use any Arduino boards and moreover, connect them together. Data exchange between the application and your layout is carried out through one or several Bluetooth connections.

Your own railway control system

The Main Principle of URB is minimal complexity and inexpensive components. Instead of the classical approach with one microcontroller (or computer), where one sketch or program with a very large amount of complex code is needed, the sketches of the URB project are small, simple, clear and concise.

Manage all the devices in your layout

Unlike many other control systems, URB provides for the connection of any types of electronic devices of your layout. The connection of signals, sensors, lighting, and other elements of the railway infrastructure are already integrated into the project. There are no restrictions on types or electrical specifications.


Simple Start

Universal Railway Bus system consists of three parts — a Android App, rules for applying and writing Arduino Sketches and any Arduino hardware. You can use any Arduino boards and moreover, connect them together. Data exchange between the application and your layout is carried out through one or several Bluetooth connections.

Real fun

A unique features of the system is multi-player management and high precision thrust control. Multiplayer mode allows you to arrange races, or create role-playing scenarios for dispatchers and drivers. Four modes of inertial train movement add reality. You can simulate the thrust of a heavy freight or fast passenger trains.

Any options for building rail tracks

Control under three way turnouts, double slip switches and double crossover are natively supported by the system.
A special algorithm has been developed for railway loops that preserves the correct direction of a train movement after passing the loops on the app UI control.


System fits to your favorite scale

Arduino can communicate with any motor drivers, up to 50V. Moreover, you get flexibly to adjust the speed characteristics of your locomotives by simply changing the Arduino sketches. URB provides a special speed code array for this.

Easy installation

The URB control console is any Android phone or tablet with the Arduino Trains apps. This solution transfers the configuration of the logic and algorithms of your layout to the network of Arduino blocks located directly on the layout. This solution allows you to perform most of the control algorithms locally, which greatly simplifies programming of sketches.

Pro functions

Integration into the system of sensors and several motor-drivers control algorithms allows you to build any automated train movement system. You can build real-life interlocking and play as the main station master.
At any time, you can switch to manual or automate control of your trains.

How it works

The project has been named URB (Universal Railway Bus), consists of three parts — a Android App, rules for applying and writing Arduino Sketches (Protocol), and any Arduino hardware. You can interconnect any number of Arduino boards in series, or using a URB topology. Thus, there are no hardware restrictions on the number of devices (turnouts, signals, lights, crossing mechanisms, and other railway items).

This is a clear difference to other railway control systems. Data exchange between the application and your layout is carried out through one or several Bluetooth connections or over Serial connection. Using these interfaces you can also integrate my control system with any other equipment (Raspberry Pi, PC, external DCC microcontroller systems, hardware indicate or real buttons and rudders control panels ans so one).

Structure of URB project

Any railway layout and any behavior your trains

There are no restrictions on the size of your railway, model train manufacturer and layout's complexity. You can apply this system to a small layout with a few turnouts, and then expand your railway world to any size.

Also, you can add control of lighting using any effects, as well as any mechanical device from a Magnorail to a lifting device for the bridge; integrate any sensors into the system and even build real interlocking. You do not need additional accessories — all you need already available in the big collection of devices for Arduino.

URB promo pictures
URB promo pictures
URB promo pictures
URB promo pictures
URB promo pictures
URB promo pictures

About URB project

Steve Massikker
Steve Massikker
Founder of URB Project

Hello friends! I started this project in 2014. At that time I was absolutely not satisfied with the state of affairs in railway modellings. I did not want to use the ready-made DCC system for a variety of reasons, one of which was my old fleet of locomotives. The attempt to sort out the zoo of Open DCC solutions terrified me. In addition, I wanted to control the trains from the Android phone and absolutely did not want to use a computer for this. I needed a simple, and reliable, repeatable solution with a lot of flexibility, if I wanted to make my layout automated.

Moreover, it seems to me that railway modeling as a hobby is gradually losing popularity precisely because of DCC. Teenagers are getting bored with the concept. Connecting many wires to a variety of disparate strangest devices with strong and incomprehensible rules without the possibility of independent experiments becomes tedious and frustrating. The battery, the loco with elementary DC motor and the rails are much more interesting than the expensive set with admonishment from the elders: «Do not move, do not touch anything!»

The second problem was the lack of convenient software. All the applications I've found have always come bundled with hardware. And this completely blocked the incredible possibilities of a cooperation of Android and Arduino. I wanted to independently build control algorithms and have a universal wireless console. As a result, I had to begin coding an application by myself. Now this is the sixth version of apps Arduino Train.

Gradually, within a few years the project has become reliable and perfect, so, now they can be shared. I am especially satisfied in the design and in the concept of URB, I myself did not expect how convenient this is.