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AnyRail with JMRI

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The AnyRail layout planning software can now export a layout design as a JMRI panel file that can be loaded by PanelPro. See the AnyRail documentation.


The AnyRail software should be the latest version. Version 6.29 added support for exporting AnyRail designs that use flex track.

JMRI 4.18 or later (4.20 recommended) with at least Java 8. See JMRI Setup for new installs.

For people new to JMRI, or new to PanelPro and Layout Editor, do the Getting Started with PanelPro tutorial.

Create the AnyRail design

Create the layout design using the AnyRail tools

Use the Label feature to assign names to turnouts and sections.

Export the AnyRail design as a JMRI PanelPro file


  1. Start PanelPro.
  2. Select Help ⇒ Locations from the PanelPro menu.
  3. The User Files Location entry will be used during the AnyRail export.
  4. If desired, click on the Open User Files Location button. This will open the operating system file manager at that location.
  5. Quit PanelPro.


  1. If necessary, start AnyRail and open the layout design file.
  2. Select File ⇒ Export as; select JMRI Layout file.
  3. In the Save as dialog, navigate to the user files location noted earlier. The exported file name will default to the AnyRail file name with .xml replacing .any.
  4. Click on Save. Two files will be created:
    • The PanelPro file which contains a Layout Editor panel and the related tables.
    • A jpg image of the AnyRail layout design.

Using the exported PanelPro file

  1. Start PanelPro.
  2. Select Help ⇒ System Console... from the PanelPro menu. This is important for the first load of the exported PanelPro file.
  3. Select Panels ⇒ Load Panels... from the PanelPro menu.
  4. In the Load Panel File dialog, select the exported panel name and click on Load.
  5. Review the system console for warnings or errors during the load step. If errors or warnings have occurred and they don't have any meaning, use the Copy to clipboard button and paste the clipboard contents into a message to the JMRI User Group.
  6. The following content is now available in PanelPro:
    • The Layout Editor panel: It is displayed in Edit mode to facilitate post import modifications. See Layout Editor Help for details on using Layout Editor.
    • The exported jpg image file is loaded with the xml file and acts as a background for the track plan.
    • The Turnout table: Tools ⇒ Tables ⇒ Turnouts will have the list of turnouts. If labels have been assigned to the turnouts they will be used for the user name. If not, a cryptic user name will be assigned.
    • The Block table: Tools ⇒ Tables ⇒ Blocks will have the list of blocks. The AnyRail Sections are exported as JMRI Blocks. If labels have been assigned to the AnyRail Sections they will be used for the user name. If not, a cryptic user name will be assigned.
  7. If changes have been made to the imported file, store the changes using File ⇒ Store Panels... in Layout Editor or Panels ⇒ Store Panels... using the main PanelPro menu. Whether to replace the existing file or use a new file name depends on personal file management philosophy. If Overwrite is selected, the old file will be moved to the backupPanels directory with the date and time added to the file name.

Additional notes for using AnyRail's export files

Missing jpg image file

If the exported PanelPro file and its related jpg file are manually moved to a different location, the jpg image will not be found during the first PanelPro load. A Icon Not Found dialog will be displayed. There are two optons:

Other errors or unexpected results

Use the system console, Help ⇒ System Console..., to open a window that has details on JMRI and can contain warnings and errors.