What is Thinking Trains?

Thinking Trains is an open source hardware and software project for the development of a new control system featuring “self-driving” trains. The goal is to be able to operate a model railway using a signalling panel interface. Trains will respond to signals as routes are set and cleared either by the operator or automatically to a timetable.

This is distinct from a traditional control system where operators move trains directly, through either an analogue or a digital control system. In the traditional model the operator assumes the role of both train driver and signalman whereas with Thinking Trains, during normal operation, the operator will adopt the role of signalman alone.

The project will require the development of new electronics, software and mechanical components to achieve the goal of self-driving trains. The designs and source for these components will be shared and licensed for use free of charge subject to common open source terms (such as GPL and Creative Commons).