Track Planning Software?

Oh, and I just found another Macintosh OS X track planner on versiontracker.com. It is only $25, has extensive libraries, etc. I've not
used it for a project, but it bears looking at along with Empire Express:
See http://www.railmodeller.com/ or http://www.versiontrack.com and search OS X for model railroad.
Ed. in article Xns944BDFCB991CEspringstjumpnet@64.245.249.102, Woodard R. Springstube at snipped-for-privacy@Diespammer.net wrote on 12/8/03 7:59 PM:

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Ed Oates
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Rideau River RR wrote:

Several years ago when I was trying to decide on which software I would eventually want to use I downloaded the demos of CadRail, 3rd PlanIt and 3D Layout & Design from their respective web sites. 3D Layout seemed just a bit too rudimentary and limited. Can't go into more specifics now as it's been too long ago. 3rd PlanIt seemed pretty nice in some respects and I was able to work within the limits of the demo package to design a Timesaver-style switching module, which I built. I found a flaw in the program though. If I took a turnout and used the Rotate function on it, the turnout would distort into something unusable. The relationship between the parts of the turnout somehow broke down by doing this. However, I could use the Align function to drag an end of a turnout and attach it to an existing end of another piece of track and it would attach itself there without the aforementioned problem occuring. Go figure. Again, this was several years ago and this bug has probably been patched by now. CadRail had the highest learning curve but it didn't have the rotation problem mentioned above. When a CD and manual came up for sale on eBay at a price lower than current prices I bid for and won it. Unfortunately, the owner of Sandia Software gave me some grief when I tried to get it registered in my name since the previous owner had never sent in the registration card, so I don't know if I'll ever be able to upgrade it, but so far it's working OK. Now I am trying to make sense of all of the functions to design something for the space I have available.
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<snip>
Check out RR-Track for Windows from R&S Enterprises. They're online at
rrtrack.com
Quoting from their website: RR-Track™ has 42 track libraries in 8 different gauges to meet the needs of any train layout from G-gauge to Z-gauge
I've got the O gauge version and love it.
Dale
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On Sun, 7 Dec 2003 01:08:27 UTC, "Woodard R. Springstube"

Use CadRail myself. Love it.
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ernie fisch


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     snipped-for-privacy@cox.net (Ernie Fisch) writes:

Can it connect two ends with an S-curve? Connect two opposing arcs with a tangent to both?
Paul
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On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 05:00:22 UTC, snipped-for-privacy@pimin.rockhead.com (Paul Newhouse) wrote: 2000

It will not automatically produce an S-curve. What I do is draw a line between the two ends giving three connected lines. I then draw an arc between the two tangents at each end of the S-curve. Works fine. Sometimes this is the way I string track along a route.

Yes.
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So, how good are these various programs in drawing a layout where 80 plus percent of it will be on a curve?
Both the east and west main yard leads will be on curves, as will both the east and west end staging yard leads.
In the main yard, all bar the centre 12 inches of the yard tracks will be on a very gentle curve for visual effect. The 12 inches is straight and parallel to the edge of the benchwork for a future expansion insert.
All track will be handlaid.
Frog angles will be varied, depending on the various curves involved.
Can a CAD programme handle this?
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I think it depends on the program. I'm only experienced with Empire Express, on the Mac (http://www.haddonsoftware.com/emexinfo.html ), where you can easily handle fluid curves. You do need to specify flex track for that - but that doesn't mean you have to use flex track to actually build it.
For turnouts, this software (and probably most of the tracking planning packages) come w/predefined libraries of existing commercial turnouts. You can copy those for your 'standard' frogs. You can also create new templates for any track component or turnout you like - you just have to enter the data to define it.
So Empire Express should do what you need. It's pretty basic (minimal scenery, no grades), but for basic planning I find it to be great.
- Steven --------------------- http://www.rgsrr.info
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Hi Roger,
You asked:
> So, how good are these various programs in drawing > a layout where 80 plus percent of it will be on a curve? > All track will be handlaid.
Have a look at my Templot software at http://www.templot.com
It is specifically for handlaid track and allows you to lay out the whole thing on sweeping curves, including turnouts and crossovers on transition curves.
Note that Templot is concerned solely with *track design*, it is not a complete layout planning package like 3rdPlanIt or Cadrail which include scenic work, baseboards and staging, 3D simulation, etc. Templot is just track.
However, you can export Templot track plans as DXF files and import them into 3rdPlanIt or any CAD. For some screenshots of a curved Templot track plan rendered in 3rdPlanIt, see
http://www.85a.ision.co.uk/martweb/tc_3pi/hc_3pi.htm
regards,
Martin. ---------- email: snipped-for-privacy@templot.com web: http://www.templot.com
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"Martin Wynne"

Thanks Martin, I've visited before. However, I still can't find where on your we site you discuss North American formations. A search of your web site, using the search engine, for "North America" turns up "no results".
I've read that Templot does cover North American standards, but I can't find it on your site.
-- Cheers Roger T.
http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra / Home of the Great Eastern Railway.
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Hi Roger,
> http://www.85a.ision.co.uk/martweb/tc_3pi/hc_3pi.htm > > I've read that Templot does cover North American standards, > but I can't find it on your site.
It depends what you mean by "cover North American standards".
If you mean the model dimensional standards, all the common ones are in the standard gauge/scale list including H0 and proto87. And Templot can be customized to *any* gauge or scale as required.
If you mean North American prototype track, the situation is that Templot can be customized to do this and in fact to *any* prototype.
However, all the program defaults and terminology are currently for UK-style track, so it is not possible to simply click "North American" and get what you want. I am working towards that in a future upgrade.
In the meantime it is necessary to either
1. Set up the required prototype data and settings yourself, or
2. Load an existing file containing such templates and use them as the basis of your own designs.
I uploaded such a file of North American templates to the Templot email group files recently, and I have used them to create an example ladder crossover on a transition curve in H0 gauge. This required only a few clicks and mouse adjustments to the transition markers - see:
http://www.85a.ision.co.uk/martweb/h0_example.htm
We have been discussing North American track on the Templot email group recently. You can read the thread (without being a member) at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/templot/messages/3415?expand=1
To sum up - if you know your way around prototype track I think you will find that Templot will do all that you want right now.
If you are a beginner at handlaying it would probably be better to wait until I have a more US-friendly version of Templot available. If you are using ready-made track such as Peco, Templot isn't the best choice for track planning - try 3rdPlanIt or Winrail instead.
regards,
Martin. ---------- email: snipped-for-privacy@templot.com web: http://www.templot.com
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"Martin Wynne"

Thanks for the reply Martin.
All the visible track on my existing GER, see URL in SIG, was hand laid so I'm fairly good at it.
However, the GER Mk.II is still about six months away, so hopefully by then a more North American friendly version of Templot will be available.
I look forward to using it.
-- Cheers Roger T.
http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra / Home of the Great Eastern Railway
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Good Morning!

    http://www.templot.com
http://www.85a.ision.co.uk/martweb/tc_3pi/hc_3pi.htm

    What about grades?
    And Spiral Easements (is this the same as *transition--curves?*)
    Your site mentions:
"""If you have a prototype map or track plan which can be scanned, or a model track plan scanned from a book or magazine, this can be displayed in Templot correctly scaled as a background guide to your own track design."""
    I am in "O"--Scale (U.S.A.,) 5-feet between the rails. Prototype standard gauge is obviously 4'__8.5" -- is it possible to scan in a prototype turnout and scale it for "O"--Scale?
    I specifically model trolleycars where very sharp radii are common. A turnout on double-track, often with 10- to 12-foot centers, a spiral-easement is used into and out of turns to prevent the overhanging ends from fouling the adjacent track. This is what I am interested in designing for myself.

    Any release date available for this upgrade?

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/templot/messages/3415?expand=1
    Refreshingly Honest!
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Jim
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
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Hi Jim,
> What about grades?
Templot doesn't do grades. It is a 2D design tool and everything is related to the rail-top for construction purposes. Of course the finished track may then be installed level, or on an incline, etc.
The design of a multi-level layout comes within the category of layout design rather than track planning. You can export your track plan from Templot and import it into a CAD program, and there set elevations for different levels, etc.
> And Spiral Easements (is this the same as *transition--curves?*)
Yes. Templot uses clothoid curves (Euler's Spiral, see http://www.2dcurves.com/spiral/spirale.html ) for transition curves. You can transition from any radius to any other, or to a straight tangent, in any length of transition zone. More about that at:
http://www.85a.ision.co.uk/martweb/gs_geometry.htm#transition
> I am in "O"--Scale (U.S.A.,) 5-feet between the rails. > Prototype standard gauge is obviously 4'__8.5" -- is it > possible to scan in a prototype turnout and scale it for > "O"--Scale?
There is no need to scan it, since by entering a few prototype dimensions Templot will draw it for you, to any scale you choose. However, if you do scan it you can enlarge or reduce it to match any scale or gauge you wish, and use the adjustments in Templot to create a matched copy as a construction template.
> Any release date available for this upgrade?
Sorry, no. I don't work to release dates. It will be available when I am satisfied that it is properly working and fully tested. I have been developing Templot for 24 years now, so a few months either way don't mean very much! :-)
> Refreshingly Honest!
I'm not sure what you mean by that. What made you think that I might be dishonest?
regards,
Martin. ---------- email: snipped-for-privacy@templot.com web: http://www.templot.com
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Good Morning!

    Not a thing, certainly. My apologies if this seemed to be inferred. It is just that you mention to check certain other products for certain features not common to Templot. Nice approach!(:->)
    Forgot I had one other question. On this page (http://www.85a.ision.co.uk/martweb/tc_3pi/hc_3pi.htm ) you have the following graphic caption::
"""This view above shows the result of 3D-rendering the DXF file from Templot in TurboCad8. 3D-rendering of this quality is too slow for moving images such as are needed for running trains in 3rdPlanIt. This is one of the 3-way tandem turnouts in the goods yard."""
    TurboCad8 is one expensive package, yes? That is a straight CAD program, not specifically a RR design package.
To the Group:    The following is the rest of Martin's response to my post. Nothing new below -- just keeping it intact so I might save it!

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Jim
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Hi Jim,
> What about grades?
    Templot doesn't do grades. It is a 2D design tool and everything is related to the rail-top for construction purposes. Of course the finished track may then be installed level, or on an incline, etc.
    The design of a multi-level layout comes within the category of layout design rather than track planning. You can export your track plan from Templot and import it into a CAD program, and there set elevations for different levels, etc.
> And Spiral Easements (is this the same as *transition--curves?*)
    Yes. Templot uses clothoid curves (Euler's Spiral, see http://www.2dcurves.com/spiral/spirale.html ) for transition curves. You can transition from any radius to any other, or to a straight tangent, in any length of transition zone. More about that at:
http://www.85a.ision.co.uk/martweb/gs_geometry.htm#transition
> I am in "O"--Scale (U.S.A.,) 5-feet between > the rails. Prototype standard gauge is > obviously 4'__8.5" -- is it possible to scan > in a prototype turnout and scale it for "O"--Scale?
    There is no need to scan it, since by entering a few prototype dimensions Templot will draw it for you, to any scale you choose. However, if you do scan it you can enlarge or reduce it to match any scale or gauge you wish, and use the adjustments in Templot to create a matched copy as a construction template.
> Any release date available for this upgrade?
    Sorry, no. I don't work to release dates. It will be available when I am satisfied that it is properly working and fully tested. I have been developing Templot for 24 years now, so a few months either way don't mean very much! :-)
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
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Yes, I took it as a compliment when I read it. "Templot" was openly suggesting other products for certain design criteria that "Templot's" programming couldn't meet. As the writer wrote, that's refreshingly honest. :-)
-- Cheers Roger T.
http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra / Home of the Great Eastern Railway
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Hi Jim,
> Forgot I had one other question. On this page > ( http://www.85a.ision.co.uk/martweb/tc_3pi/hc_3pi.htm ) > you have the following graphic caption: > > "This view above shows the result of 3D-rendering the > DXF file from Templot in TurboCad8. 3D-rendering of this > quality is too slow for moving images such as are needed > for running trains in 3rdPlanIt. This is one of the 3-way > tandem turnouts in the goods yard." > > TurboCad8 is one expensive package, yes?
The personal edition of TurboCad (currently TurboCad9) is about GBP 80.00 retail in UK (about USD $140 as a direct conversion, but North American pricing probably differs).
However, such 3D-rendering can equally well be done in earlier versions of TurboCad, such as TurboCad7. The personal edition of TurboCad7 was recently included (full program without restrictions) on a computer magazine free cover disk here in the UK. Not entirely free, of course, since you must buy the magazine (PC Plus, Dec 2003, GBP 5.99). It's likely that there are similar offers available in North America.
> That is a straight CAD program, not specifically a RR > design package?
Yes. But more user-friendly than some, and excellent in my view to use with exported DXF files from Templot. To which end a 2D CAD package is a useful starting point, and the "TurboCad Learning Edition" (it is actually TurboCad4) can be downloaded entirely free from: http://nct.digitalriver.com/fulfill/0002.16
regards,
Martin. ---------- email: snipped-for-privacy@templot.com web: http://www.templot.com
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     snipped-for-privacy@cox.net (Ernie Fisch) writes:

Why go to all of this trouble if

it can do this?
If you have two parallel tracks which are not coincident you could draw some projecting arc's off of the ends of each and connect the opposing arcs ... right?
Paul
--
Working the Rockie Road of the G&PX

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On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 14:37:44 UTC, snipped-for-privacy@pimin.rockhead.com (Paul Newhouse) wrote: 2000

Yes, that is one way to do it. I would have to see the actual situation to find an effective way to do it but the capability is there.
--
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     snipped-for-privacy@cox.net (Ernie Fisch) writes:

Draw a length of track in HO scale drawn a real 400'. Make it horizontal on your CAD view (left to right looking down on it from the bird's eye view - z axis). Cut 380' out of the middle. select one left over piece and nudge it out of line with the other piece. They will still be parallel. Does CadRail have a tool that will connect the two pieces. With easements/transitions or do you have to mess around with it as I suggested earlier?
If you nudge the parallel pieces 400' apart (veritcally) will it still connect with easements/transistions?
I'm just wondering how much messing around it takes to do that with CadRail. Or any other of the packages if others wish to chime in *8->
Paul
--
Working the Rockie Road of the G&PX

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