I've been using 3PI (3rd Plan It) for about two years. I like it BUT,
like most CAD software there is a learning curve. I haven't used any
other CAD track planning packages so I can't compare it to anything.
A number of folks have mentioned CADRail and I was thinking of buying
a copy and trying it. There is a Linux CAD package available which I
haven't tried (my NetBSD system seems to emulate the wrong Linux!?).
I like the look of the CADRail as well. I figured I had nothing to loose by
posting the question, nothing like getting other opinions. I have an attic
full of useless software I have purchased over the years (probably a slow
learner) which I bought because it looked great from the screen shots and
Have you heard anything of the RR-Track for Windows? Just one of the many I
have looked at.
On 4/2/04 10:03 AM, in article email@example.com, "Simon
I just looked up the old Abracadata site and got a good laugh.
Looking at the Macintosh software, I note that Train Engineer Deluxe for
Macintosh runs in OS X only in Classic Mode and requires OS-9 compatible
print drivers. It does NOT work on G3 or G4 Macintoshes.
For those not in on the joke, OS X (as supported by Apple) requires a G3 or
better, so Train Engineer Deluxe CAN'T run in OS X at all.
Well, Paul, it depends on who you listen to. Steve jobs is still trying to
convince everybody that MAC is alive and well, all the MAC zealots believe
Steve that they have 20% of the "overall" market. But then you get the real
figures, during the MS trial of a couple of years ago, Apple had only 5%,
but the Linux user base was 2-3 times larger than Apple's so MS won the
case, they did not have a monopoly.
Linux has gained each year, Apple has fallen. The last figures I saw, from
the CNET site were back in the fall and they claimed Apple had less than 3%.
I know Apple is losing ground, when Adobe announces that Premiere 7 will NOT
be available for the MAC. It is also rumored that this will be the last
version of Illustrator and Photoshop for the MAC. Adobe apparently is about
to offer full support for Linux across their entire product line.
It sounded familiar. I just looked at their web page "Graphical Sectional
Track" sounds pretty limited. If I want the HO & N scale libraries it
looks like I have to buy it twice. 3PI comes with N, HO, O (for sure, I'm
not infront of that machine right now or I'd check for other scales).
You can set your own scale 1:???. It comes with a pretty good selection
of sectional track, turnouts, etc in the 3 scales mentioned.
3PI has a substantial "user" supplied libarary of add-on "stuff"
(turntables, various engines & cars, structures).
3PI can do a 3D view and set trains in motion (not clear to me from the
RR-track page if it can do that). While in 3D I can "fly around", follow
a train, or view from the cab. There are also "view points" the camera
view goes to the closest "view point" and follows the train until it
gets closer to a different "view point", I kind alike it! *8-D.
I use 3rdPlanIt for my layout design needs. I tried CADRail but I
didn't like it. 3PI is the most like AutoCAD that I've used, and I have
used AutoCADr11, r12, r13, and r14. 3PI is a very nice general drafting
program as well, even tho' it is missing things like "ARRAY" and the ability
to trim multiple lines at once. However, it's pretty darn good CAD for the
money. I highly reccommend it, but be prepared to climb the learning
For a freebie, I've heard that the Atlas CAD is okay...
Paul A. Cutler III
Weather Or No Go New Haven
Depends on what you are trying to do. If you want somthing that
is free, simple, easy to learn, then Right Track from Atlas is
OK. It lets you slap together track plans and experiment with
various layouts. But for serious design I would use a CAD
Just my $0.02 worth. Hope it helps
I used 3PI (3rd plan it). It's very nice.
I'm finished with it as my layout is complete.
If you would like to purchase this LEGAL copy from me.,
you can have it at a nice savings over new.
Let me know at:
If you are looking for Mac OSX model railroad layout design software, I
think that Empire Express (http://www.haddonsoftware.com/index.html ) is the
only game in town. It works reliably in Jaguar and Panther for me.
It lays out track on solid lines representing the track centerline (no fancy
two rails with ties stuff here). It comes with several HO and N track
libraries, and few Walthers and DPM structure outlines. It is pretty easy to
build new libraries. I built one for the Pilz Elite stuff I use, including
turnouts, as well as Aristocraft and LGB libraries for G gauge.
The problems I have with it are:
1. It can print (or create a PDF) of the layout in various sizes, but does
NOT print edge to edge, so piecing together a full size layout for placing
track involves lots of cutting and taping. But it is accurate at 100% size.
See my website (below sig) for a couple of pictures based on PDFs from
Empire Express and for some photos of laying out the track.
2. It cannot export track plans to other, convenient picture formats like
Photoshop, JPEG, etc. That makes it difficult to use them elsewhere. You can
do some stuff by exporting to PDF (that is, printing), then using Phototshop
or other programs to convert that to other formats.
3. There is no train simulation. As I design new stuff, I do a lot of
running my finger around the screen to make sure I've got traffic flow
correct. A simulator would be useful.
4. There are lots of useful model railroad symbol which you must just build
yourself: insulated blocks, power sections, etc.
5. When you enter a text comments, you specify a font and size, as well as a
box which contains the text. If you print or display at a different size
(lets say to spec. the text at a medium size, like 1" == 1', then print or
display at a different size to make the whole thing fit on one page (like
.75" == 1'), the text stays the same size (say, 10 point), but the text box
shrinks, possibly cutting off some text. You can work around this when
printing by using scaling which also shrinks the text, but it is annoying.
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, coustanis at email@example.com
wrote on 4/2/04 9:28 AM:
In a message on Fri, 2 Apr 2004 09:23:53 -0600, wrote :
"W> Having a couple of days off I have been searching the net for layout design"W> software................ brain strain!!!"W> "W> I would be interested in others opinions regarding what product to purchase."W> Any input would be appreciated.
You can download it (for MS-Windows *OR* Linux) and use it to design a
*small* layout (4'x8' max). If you like it, send them $65 and get a
license key for full functionality.
It works *great*. It is what I use.
"W> "W> Thanks,"W> Simon Waters"W> "W> "W>
Robert Heller ||InterNet: firstname.lastname@example.org
http://vis-www.cs.umass.edu/~heller || email@example.com
http://www.deepsoft.com /\FidoNet: 1:321/153
I have tried some which were toys. I use CADRAIL by Sandia Software. It is up
to version 8. It does real CAD with exact measurements and placement of track.
You can have several layers and design the benchwork, then the track all in a
room. Then you can turn off different layers and print just the track. I use
spiral easements and it is very helpful in drawing those. I can print track
work like easements full size and use the print as a template. It has a library
of commercial turnouts for an exact placement. It takes a little learning to
use, so sit down for a weekend and work through the tutorial.
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