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Quick Look: BlueRail Trains App upgrade

Read this review from the September 2017 Model Railroader

Price: Free

BlueRail Trains
2540½ Foothill Dr.
Vista, CA 92084-6578

Comments: For modelers who use BlueRail Trains or Bachmann E-Z App Bluetooth train control, a recent upgrade adds consisting and speed matching functionality.

BlueRail Trains introduced its Bluetooth control system a couple of years ago. A touch screen on a smartphone, tablet, or other Internet- enabled device takes the place of a Digital Command Control or direct-current throttle. The system works on DC and DCC layouts, and a battery control “dead rail” version is also available.

See the October 2016 Model Railroader for my BlueRail Trains review and the April 2016 MR for my Bachmann E-Z App locomotive review.

I have the BlueRail app installed on an Apple iPad. To upgrade the app, I clicked on the BlueRail icon in the App Store.

The updated app also wirelessly updated the firmware in the BlueRail Trains board. All I had to do was put the locomotive on powered rails and open the app. No wires or special programmer were required.

For Android users, the BlueRail App is available in the Google Play store.

The new consisting feature has been added to the multi-train screen. Instead of using configuration variables (CVs) to program the locomotives to run as a consist, a toggle switch has been added to each throttle on the screen. Set the switch for each locomotive to the same letter (either A, B,C, or D), and the locomotives are consisted. All the throttles except for the lead engine are then ghosted out.

In this screen I could also set the direction of travel for each engine. A Make Lead button on the rear locomotive’s throttle is useful for running a push-pull train. The touch screen controls are very intuitive. A short tutorial video is also available on the BlueRail website.

Once the locomotives were consisted, I could open the speed matching screen (shown at left). The locomotives can be speed matched at three different speed points – low, mid, and high. In this screen the throttle controls are replaced with up and down arrows for more precise control. During speed matching the locomotives need to be placed about 6 inches apart on the same track. Within a few minutes I had both of my BlueRail equipped locomotives speed matched.

With its regularly updated features, BlueRail Trains continues to provide an intriguing alternative to DCC.

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