Track building software

I am a newbie to model railroading. My 4 yearolds fascination has me hooked.

We just started with a Lionel Fastrac System. Pennsylvania Set. I have just built a platform in the basement. It is 4' x 14' long with 2- 4' x 3'

90 degree extensions on each end. Basically 14 x 6 with a 6x3' cut out in the middle.

We are starting out basic, and not even in a league remotely close with the rest of you guys. I am approaching this as a long time hobby with my son.

Is there software to help you design a layout with the proper train pieces that will fit together for a design. The only thing we are set on is an operating mountain water fall feeding into a lake, with the track either scaling up the mountain or going through it. Can any one offer true beginner guidance and advice. Bobby likes all the operating signals and gates, he will sit there and watch them for hours. I am going to get a mural back screen and use christmas lights to emulate a starry sky.

Thankyou in advance,

Reply to
Bob Pietrangelo
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CADRAIL makes software for the Wintel PC which has Lionel O libraries:

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Empire Express makes software for Mac OS X which has Lionel O Libraries:

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I've used both products; I designed my HO layout with Empire Express (see my website below for an empire express PDF layout planning printout).


in article, Bob Pietrangelo at wrote on 1/2/06 11:31 AM:

Reply to
Edward A. Oates

I recommend xtrkcad. It is a CAD program specifically for model railroading. It comes with a hefty $free price tag, just go to

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and download it. It even lets you run simulated trains on your plans to give you an idea what you are working towards.

My advice is to start with one small piece of the layout, something you can operate, such as a switching yard, and then expand it to fill the space you are allocating. You can come up with a rough concept to start with for the whole layout, but focus on one area at a time. I have seen a few people try to tackle a big project, get overwhelmed and get nowhere. By doing something small you can see progress and be operating fairly soon.

Good luck, Carolyn

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