Anyone tried "AnyRail"?
I've seen a site with a few layouts done on this software and they looks
pretty much ok. I have to confess that I'm more of a pencil and paper type
of chap but I'm running out of space to work and thinking of taking the
plunge and designing the new layout (The Dormouse Line Mk7) on the computer
but I'm a bit concerned about learning curves and the like. Also does it
handle flexitrack well? I've tried a few software packages in the past and
it's like banging your had against a brick wall.
... and that's to everyone who replied to my last. Nice to see the group
isn't as dead as it appeared.
I've had that problem too.
They all seem to assume you're using train set track and fixed curves.
Even those which do flex-track seem to use it between pieces of set
track. But if you want track that is all gentle curves I haven't found
one that works for me.
On Sun, 18 Dec 2011 13:21:10 -0800, Christopher A. Lee
If you want one for curves, then Templot is your application. It's
quite a complex beast to get your head round and I know that a few
people have given up on it because of this. But it is soon going to
be free to download and use, so might be worth a punt. This is the
which is showing the software not yet ready for download but it is
scheduled to be available in a week or two. The information will be
available on the Templot forum.
I tried Templot, too. A wonderful case of "excessive precision"" IMO.
Fact is that flex track forms a natural easement (spiral), and
crossing/turnouts/etc can be drawn directly on the baseboard and built
to fit. Just make sure that any curves are at least your minimum design
radius, preferably a few inches larger. Sight along the track as you
install/built it, and eliminate any kinks before permanent fastening.
In my experience, computer-aided layout design is vastly over-rated.
It's also a trap for the unwary. NB that's it's computer- _aided_. The
program isn't a substitute for drafting skills, it's an assistant. If
you can't draw a decent scale sketch of your layout the old fashioned
way, the computer can't do it for you. But if you can draw such a
sketch, then for the typical layout (up to small bedroom size), paper
and pencil is faster, and more than accurate enough. For the person who
wants only to design his/her own layout, layout design software is a
poor investment IMO. Even when it's free.
OTOH, if designing layouts is one of the sub-hobbies that appeal to you,
the investment in money and time will be worth it. But that's another
discussion, I think. I've found the free programs very quirky, since
they written by one person to suit his own style of working. The "selct
track pieces and plunk 'em down" types are not nearly as intuitive as
you might think, and no two work the same way, so trying them out is
really an exercise in finding something that feels comfortable for you.
For serious planners, a commercial CAD program is much better: they
all assume what may be called standard ways of working. But they also
IOW, OP's question is not nearly as simple as he perhaps thought it was.
It implies (and demands) many ancillary considerations.
I think you have missed the point (ouch!) of Templot.
Its primary function is to provide templates for the construction of
It so happens that you can also use it for plain track, complete layouts
and in any scale/gauge combination that you may wish.
I know. That's why I referred to "excessive precision". ;-)
My template-free method: first lay the two outside running rails,
adjusting them to get nice flowing curves (except perhaps in the frog
area, we use straight frogs here.) Then locate the frog point, and lay
first one, then the other frog rail (each filed to a point). Then the
closure (wing) rails, the points (fabricated on the workbench, and
slightly longer than needed, to permit filing to exact length), and
finally the check rails. The closure rail begin where the flangeway
between them and the running rails is 2x the minimum flangeway. Locate
the frog point about 1/2-way between 2x min and 2x max gauge between the
I used track gauges to hold the frog rails while they were being
soldered, and to locate the closure rails. NMRA gauges ensured
flangeways, check gauge, etc. were correct A a long-wheelbase 6-wheel
bogie was used for testing. The only fiddly bit is the points, which
I've made several different ways. The one that worked best was to solder
tabs underneath, drill both the tab and the tie-bar, and tap the tie-bar
for 00-90 screws (don't UK equivalent). The points are held to the
closure rails by means of slightly sloppy railjoiners. Since the
turnouts were built of fit into the flow of the tracks, there were/are
no awkward spots.
I got to where I could build turnout in under 30 minutes.
But if, like me, you prefer to build as much as you can off the
baseboard, then Templot does the job, including all the complex
curves with easements. My current layout has had all its track built
off the boards and I'm now in the process of laying it all down. With
the situation of my layout - an oval cramped into a smallish bedroom,
building the track on site would have been quite difficult.
I'm also building pointwork for a friend and have planned his layout
in Templot with his input and sent him a full size plan. The turnouts
I build will fit this plan exactly and he will build all the plain
track to join them up.
But I do agree that it has a fairly steep learning curve and like most
complex programs, requires a fair bit of application from the user to
get good results.
Tried it before - demo years ago I gave it up as I only have one lifetime.
And yes I know that for those who can use it it's a bit of a dogs dangly
bits with regards to hand made pointwork and so forth but I don't (although
I suppose I should try) make my own track.
<Jim Guthrie> wrote in message
: If you want one for curves, then Templot is your application.
: quite a complex beast to get your head round and I know that a
: people have given up on it because of this. But it is soon
: be free to download and use, so might be worth a punt.
It would seem that Martin's business model, not having a
'crippled' (no print and/or save) preview software for pre
purchase testing, seems to have been his un-doing. Whilst he
might well have lost sales from those who were not prepared to
splash out getting on for 50 GBP on software that might not have
suited their needs (there being no refunds), the more problematic
 issue seems to have been -in Martin's own words- all the very
basic support requests he was receiving and because he had
charged for the software he was duty bound to reply to, many of
these people probably would never have bought the software had
they been able to play with a preview copy ...
Martin and myself crossed swords many times on this very group
regarding aspect of his business model, I won't go over it all
again (Google is your friend if you want the gory details), what
I will say is that I am pleased that he is planning to make
Templot available (as Freeware?) together with the ability to
make a donation to aid further development - my only problem now
is whilst I have no problem in making such a donation I do have
every problem in doing so via (IMO a very un-trust-worthy)
Pay-Pal. Sorry Martin, in time, another payment method perhaps...
 also the use of a machine-number derived unlock key seems to
have also caused him, and those with genuine copies and reasons
why they need to move the software between computers, a lot of
 Templot, like most fine scale modellers, uses the correct
terminology for trackwork, not train-set/RTR terms, so one either
needs to understand these or be prepared to educate yourself
Doesn't AnyRail have a free trial download? Certainly used to as that was my
route into it.
I can only say that having tried it I paid hard cash for the full product -
anyone who knows me would claim that alone to be a rarity!
So .... tried it, liked it, bought it and still use it but would not claim
to be an expert. Very good forum support at
http://www.anyrail.com/forum_en/index.php where you can get further views.
I've had a play with it now and treated myself to an early Christmas prezzy
- CAD for the CAD illiterate, I was really surprised at just how quickly I
got up and running with it. I've got some basic designs/layouts now - which
obviously will need tweaking but as it'll be a month or two before I can
start to build I'm in no rush.
The free version is fully functional, but limited to 50 pieces of
Yes, but if you're really tight (I was at first!) you just do your design in
50 piece sections - if your plans are that large!
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.