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So that we can exchange ideas for layouts at Model Rail Forum I was wondering if anybody knew of any simple and cheap software that is easily downloaded which will subsequently permit the publication of designs here?

I do actually have Hornby VR2 with all its bells and whistles but wanted something that we could use at Model Rail Forum as a standard which would possibly permit members to exchange files and ideas.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Hey they looks great! Nice find!


Here is a link. It says open source and I cannot see any reference to fees or charges in the FAQ. It does say that you have to register to have restrictions removed. I am going to give it a go and see how it works:-

http://www.sillub.com/

And here is a link to an example layout design:-

http://ca.geocities.com/[email protected]/...es/vancyard.png

I'll let you know how I get on. If its any good we can adopt it as a standard at Model Rail Forum to share track layout designs. Its a question of whether you can convert the file to something that is web friendly.

Happy modelling
Gary

PS it would be appreciated if visitors who find this link interesting and who may wish to tell their friends would acknowledge that they saw the link at Model Rail Forum!
 

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Atlas offer Right Track as Freeware, I downloaded it, unzipped and hit all the necessary buttons but it would not load. www.atlasrr.com

I gave up on MS Train simulator. The one in Trainz looks good but is fairly complicated.

Currently I use the Hornby HVR2 which is very easy to use and gives an idea on the practical feasibility of a layout, the problem is that it will not allow points on elevated track unless I remove it and re-install the initial version, also it is only possible to raise track by one level.

I shall try some of the recommended ones in the earlier replies.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have been trying out that Xtrkcad software for the last hour. It has Peco code 100 setrack in the menu (and Hornby Dublo 3 rail track!) but you have to click on HO and not OO to find it. The OO file is empty. The image below is simply a test to check that image files can be published:-



Hey it works! I put the saved .dxf file through Paint Shop Pro and converted it to a .jpg file. Images can be scaled so that relatively big plans can be converted to an image of a reasonable size. I did not reduce the track plan above as it was a test. You can change sleeper colours, remove the sleepers to have a line plan, include the track reference numbers and so on. Its is a powerful piece of track plan software for free.

Very good. We now have the means to share ideas for track plans.

And it means that if we see any good plans we can post them here at Model Rail Forum.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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In Xtrcad it's important to setup your preferences properly. To do this untick all the track makes and gauges you won't be using. So if your using Peco HO untick everything else.
I've been using Xtrcad for 5 or 6 years it's a wonderful program, but does take a little effort to get used to it.
 

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You will be limited to a roomsize of 96" x 48", unless you have registered XTrkCad.

I find this still to complex. I have tried others, 3'rd Planit was even more complex.

I would like a more simple solution to draw schematic plans. Simple single lines to give you a general picture of the overall layout. Similar to what you see in Model Rail Magazine (UK) and Model Railroader Magazine (US).
 

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As makemineadouble says once you set Xtrkcad up to your personal preferences it is very simple to use. It may be possible to have the solid black line type appearance that you get in magazines however you do also get the two line type design in the mags. I would agree that it can take 1-2 hours to work it all out but once set up it does seem easy. If you want a simple two line track with no sleepers you can have this as a setting. And you can default to show Peco set track only by removing all the other options. Registration is simple. Click on registration in the toolbar menu and enter the codes into the box that pops up as follows:-

Name: Open Registration
Key: 248890010702

There is a picture of the basic operating window below with a two line type design. Looks daunting but like all things its like learning to ride a bike. If anybody knows of any links to other free software that may be of interest to railway modellers then please feel free to include them here. Accepting that most of it is likely to be American with American railroading jargon it might still be of interest:-



Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE Simple single lines to give you a general picture of the overall layout.
Hits nail right on its head there.

Surprisingly, this simple overview seems one of the more difficult things to achieve. Somewhere, I have a really excellent German track designing application. It has a massive and expandable library of manufacturers parts, including slot car race tracks. It also has no problem with 3D and multi levels. I have to say, I never actually used it much, as virtually all my planning is based on flexi-track with variable radius curves. It can handle that too, but it's a little more effort.

Although it's not particularly difficult to use and is even capable of printing the layout FULL SIZE as a hands-on baseboard template, it WON'T produce the simple diagram that Doug calls for, unfortunately.
 

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If you want simple black lines then Hornby VR2 will oblige but it is limited to Hornby track and as it a full on 3D autocad bells and whistles package which does more than track design it is not free.

Maybe Hornby should now offer VR1 as a free download on their website as it is getting on a bit?


Xtrkcad will allow you to design layouts which have flexible track and offers a range of tools to help with this.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Spot on there Doug.
I have for many years used MS Visio but this isn't designed for model railway use, but it does draw a nice diagram!
I would be very interested in either buying or downloading free any design software that uses Peco Streamline "00" code 100 or 80 etc.
 

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Xtrcad handles flexitrack very well. Its very accurate. We we laid my mates layout which fills a 35ft x 20 ft layout room with well over 1000ft of track it was almost exactly to plan. If one had a plotter one could print on this and lay the track on top. I've used quite a few other packages and commerical cad products but Xtrckcad is what I always return to. yes it has a learning curve but it's well worth while learning how to use it. I did beta testing for the package several years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
QUOTE I did beta testing for the package several years ago.

Could I please ask a question then?

I tried with the set up last night to get the solid black bar that Doug wanted and the best I could do was a thin line without sleepers by setting certain pixel parameters.

Is there any way of setting up Xtrcad to provide a design with a solid black bar?

If the two line track with no sleepers had a solid infill for example.

I do think its a cracking piece of software by the way!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE If one had a plotter one could print on this and lay the track on top.
One of these days I might actually remember what my package is called or even find it in my shambolic mountains of optical disks!

But my comment is that it doesn't (and shouldn't) need a plotter to print a full size template. It's a rare private individual who can afford one, particularly something to handle even as 'small' as 8' x 4'! It can knock out the full size drawings on dirt cheap A4 or A3 sheets, as many sheets as it takes, rather than one enormous piece of wall paper. Tape the sheets together in sub-unit configurations that happen to suit the user's purpose. With all due respect that's more practical for most ordinary people, although plotters obviously have their uses too, if/when available.
 

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I've been thinking about layout design packages for some time now but having recently made the leap into 45m garden railroading does anybody know of a package that can be used to make a rough plan of the garden and then design a track layout using LGB and Aristocraft track on that garden plan?

Maybe I'm living in cloud cuckoo land but thought I would ask!!

Keith
 

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I've got a licenced copy of Xtrcad, I just played with the option/layout tag the setting is for inches but you can just add and add.
I'm sure there is an option for LGB track work as well as it's very common in the states and Canadia.
 

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I just use HVR2 here - It might not be as good as some of the other packages but its fine for creating some absolutly fantastic looking layouts on it.

Downsides are that you can't move track slightly so it'll fit together as it wallways tries to snap to the next piece. the selection of buildings is a little small and an update with some skaledale ones would be welcomed here.
 
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