# newb with questions

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by xyzon, Nov 7, 2005.

1. ### xyzonNew Member

I stated my "collection" over the weekend. I purchased a Bachmann "starter set", if you will, that came with trains and some EZ tracks. I have a 4x6 sheet of plywood that I am using for my base.

I have three questions:

I saw a layout that I might like to do; however, it was created using Atlas tracks which are measured in degrees. Is there a general rule of thumb in converting inches into degrees without having to have had taken trigonometry?

Is there a program that I can use that will help me plan my setups before I actually lay the track out.

Right now I am using the EZ track that came with the set, but I am thinking about switching to other tracks. Ultimately I would like to have some elevated tracks. Are EZ tracks ok to do this with or should I use flex track or another?

Michael
2. ### shortlinerMember

Michael - you could try XTrkCad from www.sillub.com (remember that when you download it- FREE - To download the registration code too). Like all trackplanning software, there is a learning curve (but it isn't too steep!)

It has libraries built into it for various track manufacturers, together with the ability to use flextrack. The complete manual is in the program as the HELP file.
Don't be afraid to ask questions - everyone has to start somewhere!
There is an XTrkCad group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/XTrkCad/ which you might want to join
Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
3. ### 60103Pooh Bah

Michael:
There are a number of ways to measure curves. Radius is the distance from the center of the circle to the middle of the track; diameter is from one side to the other and is 2xthe radius. Your track probably has a radius of 18".
Degrees measure how far around the circle a curved track goes. The standard for your track is 12 to a circle. Since there are 360 degrees in a circle, each piece of track goes 30 degrees.
Now for the buts:
There is a wider radius curve EZ track and there's more of them in a circle. (I forget exactly).
Switches are less than a full curve and come with a little make-up piece.
You can get shorter and longer than usual pieces of track.
You may need short "fitter" pieces of track to make the track plan come out. Atlas makes a large variety of them AND their track can be cut easily to make odd sizes. EZ track doesn't have the variety and cutting it will give you problems.
Check the Track List for the plan and see if you can get all the pieces in EZ. Also look out for anything labelled "cut to fit". (See if your store stocks any smaller sizes!)
Joining various types of track with "roadbed" (the raised part) is difficult to impossible. If you get separate roadbed (cork or rubber) you can match the Atlas track up.
4. ### Russ BellinisActive Member

One other thing to keep in mind, you don't have to get rid of your easy track. I think the track pops out of the plastic roadbed and can then be used with Atlas Snap Track. Before you try to use it though, check it with a magnet. Some of the train sets used to come with steel rails because it was cheaper to manufacture. If it has steel rail, don't use it, the maintainance problems of keeping the track free of rust aren't worth what you save.