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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys and girls,

I have a concept for the layout I eventually intend to build. Basically it will be run on 3 levels around 3 walls of my loft running back on itself and creating 3/4 separate scenes. The general idea I have but sketching it out on a piece of paper is not going to tell me if it actually works and what the clearances are going to be like as it moves up and down inclines and round a hidden helix so....... after all that waffling the question is which of the track planning software packages availible would be best to use?

I've tried the trial version of anyrail but 50 pieces of track (the demo's limit) isn't going to cover it!

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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Hi Dave.

This is always a difficult one because people get used to the particular one they are using and swear it is the best thing since sliced bread. Any advice you receive will therefore be biased.

Having said that I have been using Winrail for several years now, during which time I have progressed from version 3 to version 7. Version 9 is the latest but I haven't got round to upgrading yet. I find it does everything I want and is very intuitive to use, particularly the flexitrack shaping tool which tells you what the minimum radius is on any given piece of track. You can then re-shape it to avoid having too tight curves. It comes with a library of all of the well known tracks (Peco, Kato, Bachman, Fleischman etc.) in all of the scales from Z to 0 and also has libraries of many of the well known manufacturers buildings so you can place them and get an accurate idea of the space they will take up.

One useful function it has is to check clearances between lines. You just input the length and wheelbase of your longest carriage and let it 'run' around your track design. It traces the outer extremities of your chosen carriage and shows where track spacing need to be increased, such as on curves, to avoid clashes.

It also has a 3D modelling feature so you can see how your trackwork blends in with the intended landscaping.

A 'cut down' trial version of Winrail is available for download FOC on line at http://www.winrail.com/ where you can also see many of its capabilities.

I'm sure others will be along extolling the virtues of their particular chosen package and at the end of the day it is very much a matter of personal preferences.

Hope this helps.
 

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I'm using AnyRail. It is a pretty simple and easy to use program. Can do both metric and US system and has a pretty large track library. Its biggest drawback that it doesn't have any 3D display functions. You can still place tracks in slope and give elevation to the tracks, but it wont display it on screen, like winrail does. It is probably the cheapest software out in the market and it has a nice Tillig TT track library, those were my primary points when I pciked a software.
 

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Just another modeller
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***The best track planning programme is without doubt TEMPLOT... dead accurate turnout and track design with a huge qty of scale/gauge settings to customise as well as a very prototypical approach to track design - almost good enough for real trains to run on!

....however its a track design programme and not a "layout planning" programme using RTR templates which is what I think you are after.

3D Plan it is perhaps one of the better ones for that, as you can even take a run through the layout as an engine driver to check out scenery concepts... and as others have mentioned, there are several others....

Richard
 

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Yeah Richard

I am in the process of learning Templot and I feel that it is more a 'template construction software' as opposed to 'track layout software'.

Dave,

I also use Anyrail and am happy with that. Most of these programs (Anyrail, Winrail etc) offer a limited free trial and the best advise is - givvem a go and see what suits you before you buy one.

Cheers

Ian
 

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XtrkCad is good if you have gradients and need to sort out levels.

It also enables you to plan other items such as benchwork and it has excellent printing facilities enabling you to line up A4 printouts at different scales.

As with any CAD program there is a learning curve but the tutorials are excellent.
 

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As mentioned before , Templot has the ability to utilise actual maps, or even, other folks track plans.....upon which one super-imposes the P&C templates altered and adapted to fit the prototype locations.......thus, a large-scale OS map of one's chosen prototype can be laid down as a 'background'...accurately scaled to match the track templates.

This may be seen as a form of 'planning?'

I just wish I could get the hang of my templot...I need to do some serious work on templot forum site.
 

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***HI Alistair/Doddsy

Yes, its track and not layout software, but having said that, I used it (exatly as Alistair mentione) using ordnance survey and Midland Land plans to create a huge layout so accurately done I printed it all out and laid all of the track on top of the printouts - eventually 300+ A3 sheets of it, all accurate down to the mm and with (god knows why :) :) Templots default of individually numbered sleepers!!!

Templot is so different that if you are fluent with windows stuff or standard creative software then you have lots of "unlearning" to do to get on with it, but it is a totally brilliant programme and well worth persisting with.... really! The truth is there is nothing else in existence that gives the modeller the ability to plan accurate scale track that flows so beautifully.

Take the time to really work through the video tutorials that Martin has put up - I faffed around and frustrated myself for ages, largely blinded by my habits created from many hours use of adobe type products for creative work... but taking the time to really work through those video's somehow got my mindset in the right place and it was plain sailing from there on....

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 12 Feb 2009, 04:36) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>... Templot is so different that if you are fluent with windows stuff or standard creative software then you have lots of "unlearning" to do to get on with it, ...

...Take the time to really work through the video tutorials that Martin has put up - I faffed around and frustrated myself for ages, largely blinded by my habits created from many hours use of adobe type products for creative work... but taking the time to really work through those video's somehow got my mindset in the right place and it was plain sailing from there on....

Do I take it that I can stop tearing my hair out? Coz iI am finding this Templot a bit weird. I am, at the moment, getting quite frustrated with it
. At £40 odd I am loathe the give up on it though
.

Ian
 

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Hi Richard & Doddsy,

While I have no doubts as to the excellence of Templot it does seem something of a sledgehammer to crack a nut and is, by all accounts, not particularly user friendly.

I believe all most people want is an intuitive programme which will, using standard track parts, provide an accurate representation of their intended layout. As with Templot, Winrail has the ability to print out full size drawings which can be laid down on the baseboard and used as a template for track laying. Similarly, as with XtrkCad, it has a 'benchwork' tool. Incidentally, it also has the ability to generate the layout design as a jpeg file which is useful for placing postings here.

Dave.
I did warn you what was likely to happen in the way of responses and all I can recommend is to try several programmes and decide which best suits your needs.
 

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"Oh dear",I've tried a couple but not being very familiar with confusers,sorry 'computers',a big sheet of paper and several different grades of pencil is now being used. The only downside to this is that I wont be able to put my trackplan on the "on my layout"section. Any non computer suggestions?
 

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Hi Trevor

Paul has a wide choice presented so can make a fair decision I'd think... on a layout design programme, NOT a track design programme. Those offered are anything from exxy to low cost, sophisticated to basic set track planning.

What motivated mention of Templot is that terminology matters if advice is to be accurate:

Paul asked for but didn't actually want a track planning software programme at all - A track planning programme is for designing track to specific standards and rail/wheel relationships and Templot most definately isn't a hammer to crack a nut for that purpose - it is I think the ONLY competent purpose designed model turnout and track creation software available.

For example, If I was in N like you.... if I wished I could specify my standards and templot would make the turnouts reflect them - so I could do 2mm scale fine or N scale standard pointwork OR specify a GWR practice type turnout or an LMS one just by presetting a few parameters. I could also specify Peco standards if that was my choice! Same for any scale/gauge/rail/wheel relationship on the planet!

Anyway, I'm waffling....

What Paul wanted is a layout planning programme which would show him where to plonk off the shelf track.

I also noted that he wanted a 3d capable onelayout planning package, which is why I recommended 3d Plain it - it is not only able to design the layout as he wanted using RTR track libraries but also can provide much more, including a wood / materials cut list for the baseboard to go with it!

I can vouch for its accuracy as a good friend who is a chronic computer user designed his whole layout and baseboard with it, and it went together like a high quality kit - everything exactly as the software said it would be, down to the last bit of wood and the correct position for every baseboard rib so it missed the point motors!

Its all in the perspective and what the modeller aspires to or wants...

The truth is there are many programmes that will design a really nice train-set using out of the box pointwork but very few which will design a decent model of a railway with track that follows prototype practice... and I happen to like my track accurate.

(Which before someone mumbles about rivet counting, no it isn't - it is no more right or wrong than others wanting their loco's details numbers or colours to be accurate...
). We all go our own way as we want in this hobby.

There is no judgemental component in my comments above as this hobby is a personal choice for everyone in many areas and all are equally OK... Personally I simply see no value in nice scenery or perfectly weathered accurate loco's etc if the track is way off accuracy wise. It's a bit like a beautiful woman wearing a revealing gown and muddy wellies... just not right somehow :) :)

And... I must say I also tend to agree with Frame69 in many ways... if its simply a layout to be designed using standard off the shelf track, then there's also very little wrong with some millimetre based graph paper and a compass - I use them often for concept planning.

The hardest thing with them is not trying to fool yourself about what will fit and what won't - a pencil usually has little discipline, and a squeeze of the compass while the conscience isn't looking is all too easy!


As to which is the best choice for Paul its up to his aspiration above all... What is certainly true is that the more competent and clever the software is, the longer the learning curve will be, the harder it will be to use and the dearer it will get, so defining want and need early is important!

NO competent design programme is a 5 minute learning curve. Life isn't that easy in the world of computers

****Hi Doddsy. You'll get there, its all about the right keystroke habits

Best advice I can give you is really work through the video tutorials and don't try to anticipate things - follow them step by step. The programme is absolutely brilliant and all it needs is your "eureka" moment and you will be away.

regards

Richard

QUOTE (Expat @ 12 Feb 2009, 14:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Richard & Doddsy,

While I have no doubts as to the excellence of Templot it does seem something of a sledgehammer to crack a nut and is, by all accounts, not particularly user friendly.

I believe all most people want is an intuitive programme which will, using standard track parts, provide an accurate representation of their intended layout. As with Templot, Winrail has the ability to print out full size drawings which can be laid down on the baseboard and used as a template for track laying. Similarly, as with XtrkCad, it has a 'benchwork' tool. Incidentally, it also has the ability to generate the layout design as a jpeg file which is useful for placing postings here.

Dave.
I did warn you what was likely to happen in the way of responses and all I can recommend is to try several programmes and decide which best suits your needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the replies good people. I shall try a few other programs, the 3D planit sounds cool (if I can find the time to learn it!). For now I think I'll stick to any rail just for messing around with ideas as I've gotten used to it.
 

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QUOTE (Dave Jones @ 11 Feb 2009, 11:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>after all that waffling the question is which of the track planning software packages available would be best to use?
Hi Dave,

The first question to answer is whether you are building your own track?

My Templot program has been mentioned, but you should note that it is primarily intended for modellers who build their own track.

If you will be buying track such as Peco, there are other programs which are more suitable:

AnyRail is the easiest to learn ( http://www.anyrail.com ).

XTrkCad is free ( http://www.xtrkcad.org ).

3rd PlanIt is the top of the range, with full 3D visualisations and train running simulation ( http://www.trackplanning.com ). Note that it's "3rd" (third) PlanIt, not "3D PlanIt" -- a pun on Earth being the 3rd planet from the sun.

regards,

Martin.
-----------------------------
http://www.templot.com
 

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Leaving aside Templot...let me also have a say on this subject, specially for HO/OO users.

I used "WinTrack". Being a German software program (english version out) it has nearly all the rails in the world (incl PECO) in its database.
3 D feature along with houses,sheds,turntables,tunnels,signals,catenary,stations,platforms,trees,..... and all from major brands like Faller,Vollmer packed in its database, even trains.

Highly recommended.

http://www.wintrack.de/

Baykal
 

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Personally I use Hornby virtual railway II, It's not the best but it does the job well enough and you can test run a limited no. of trains through it
Kiwionrails
 

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It must be the Silly Season!
Others are opening up new threads about well worn tracks (yup, pun intended) so I'll exhume this one and ask a question.

In more carefully detailing my Helix from/to Hell here I've been very disappointed with Anyrail. OK I know it is 2D, but it has a grade and slope specifying function which I find easy to use, and it offers an option for you to export as a .dae Collada file to a 3D CAD program.
So I transported my helix slopes and spirals across as imports into Sketchup. But I got a ridiculously over-complicated 3D model (resembling Marklin track) which it took me an abortive hour to try to simplify in order to reduce the size of the CAD file to a workable size on my machine.

So my question:
here are the 3D recommendations from earlier in the thread
*
3D plan from RJ - but it appears to be more about room planning than track layout
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XTrkCad is free ( http://www.xtrkcad.org ).
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"WinTrack" recommended by Baykal To use the English version of WINTRACK you have to order the German version first. It gets delivered via mail on CDROM without printed manual. Then you can download the "English version" files for free. But the price is 99,50 Euro + 6,50 Euro shipping.

Are there any more effective programs that have arrived since 2013?

LF&T

PS
I've excluded Templot because it is more particularly for creating track templates.
 

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***I'd persist with 3rd Planit LF&T - it really is quite capable and the best for what you want to do... it should also be able to import CAD.

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 28 Jul 2013, 15:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***I'd persist with 3rd Planit LF&T - it really is quite capable and the best for what you want to do... it should also be able to import CAD.
Thanks Richard I will give it more of a try.
I had been in and out of the Home page but had been rather put off by #15 by Martin Wynne of Templot further up the thread:QUOTE Note that it's "3rd" (third) PlanIt, not "3D PlanIt" -- a pun on Earth being the 3rd planet from the sun.

LF&T
 
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