Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Agrajag, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. Agrajag

    Agrajag New Member

    Is there a recommendation on software to be used to design layouts and such? I didn't even think about this and then tripped over a link for a rather interesting looking program called RR-Track that included 2D and 3D views of of layouts. That got me to thinking that this might be a good way to get our family's initial layout banged out without too much error and trial.
  2. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    go to . they have a program call right track software that you can download for free. all you have to do is register. they will email you about new trains and road numbers pretty every month or so, or will say if soemthing was canceled or what not, but this generaly isn't common, and won't spam you to death. besides i think you can click to have them not send you stuff

    anyway, once you register you can download it. it used to act funny for me, but all the bugs got worked out of it recently. it allows you to plan layouts in O,HO, and N. the only issue is that its very exact, so in real life things you know fit and are fine, wont on the program. it doesn't "fudge" the track.

    you'll notice this while makeing run arounds or passing sideings. for the most part though it is a fine program, and doesn't take long to load, or take up much space on your computer. once you are done it tells you how much track you need, and how much it will all cost. you can even let it connect to the internet to make the order for you right away! its worth it for now.

    there is another more complicated track planning system called xtrack cad, but i haven't figured it out just yet. however it has better features, and doesn't mess up so much. great for makeing complicated plans. its up for free download here i hope this is what you are looking for.

    there are many expensive ( $70 or more! yikes!) cds that you can buy that seem to have loads of features, but i have no expierence with them.
  3. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    yeah trial and error will still work better, just like flying an actual plane is better than a simulator
  4. zedob

    zedob Member

    I have an earlier version of CADRail, which was ok, but the 3d part left alot to be desired. That was ten yrs ago and I'm sure they have improved it considerably.

    I purchased a copy of 3rd Planit. It was a B-day present to me from me. Jeez, how thoughtful. All I can say is, WOW. It's the program I was looking for, or waiting for. Want to lay track, build scenery then run your train, from the cab? This is it. You can build from the floor, up. Bench work to scenery.

    It handles snap and flex track. Although, the flex track is tricky to get used to. I still get surprising, weird track configs due to my inexperience, but they are becoming less frequent the more I play with it. There IS a learning curve.

    The coolest part is the scenery editing. EASY. Just pull it up, smoosh it around, conform it to objects and track and presto. Fills and cuts majically appear. I love it. It's almost as much fun as building a layout, without the mess, but it still isn't as good as building the real thing.

    It's great for the dream layout and perfect for someone building one. Honestly, it's more of a toy for me. It's overkill for my shelf layout. In fact, I'll probably just lay out track on the shelf and build from there.

    Also, it's not cheap $100. Well, that's debatable. If you are planning a major layout, it's worth the price. I can see saving that much by eliminating costly mistakes. They do have a demo program available with all the bells and whistles, but you can't print the plan.

    Like I said, it's overkill for most, but you asked about programs and I haven't seen anybody else mention it, so...

    Here's the link:
  5. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    There are two free ones.

    Atlas Right Track software is easy, but limited.

    XTrk-CAD is excellent, but has a steeper learning curve. You have to take the time to watch the tutorials provided.

    There is also TrainCAD and WinRail but I have not tried these ones so I do not know how they are.
  6. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Like zedob, I recommend 3rdPlanIt, when you want to create a really good virtual railroad before you cut the first piece of lumber. You can even 'run trains' and enjoy the engineer's view. That's the way I'm doing it.

    You can see what can be done with 3rdPlanIt: Have a look into the previews of my website.

    Ok, there are a few BUTs:

    It is not cheap. Shelling out $100 for the planning of a 4x8 ft layout wouldn't make much sense. (Overkill, like zedob stated. :D) For bigger layouts it's fine - for garden railroads it is just great, since you can also 'model' the rearrangements of your garden in the computer, before you call the first bulldozer.
    It is a complex program, and you have to 'learn' to fully benefit from its possibilities.
    It is a time devourer - building up landscapes needs its time. I spent hours and hours modelling all the Campbell, FSM and other building kits which are still in my cupboard, but which I'll build one day for my layout.

    But I think, softwarewise it is THE track planning program on the market today. I never regretted buying it

  7. zedob

    zedob Member


    Just went to your layout link and must say that I am deeply impressed. You are much farther along in the learning curve than I and it shows. NICE JOB!

    You are right, it does devour time. I'm limited on that right now. I was wondering about the buildings, if you had done them or if you found some cool website with downloads or if you slaved for hours. Maybe we can trade, hint, hint.

    Did you ever try the 3D 3D with some glasses? I had my wife buy some Fruit Roll-ups that were made so you could see/read jokes and trivia that was printed on the roll-ups. Whatever. I immediately grabbed the box, cut out the glasses (part of the box), threw the roll-ups to the kids and ran to my comp. It worked. Although I don't think I'll be wearing those things too often while planning, but it was fun.

    I was wondering if any one else out there used the program.
  8. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I'd recomend downloading the demo version of 3rdPlanIt. The only thing that is different is that you can't save your work but you do get a good idea of what it can do. I was impressed with it, just not at the price. The learning curve was too steep for my poor brain to get up. I've used Right Track and with a little persistance have gotten it to do most everything I need a program like that to do.
  9. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Zedob, thank you for your kind words.

    There are two Yahoo-Groups dealing with 3rdPlanIt - and from there you can find links to download lots of stuff. Here are the links to them:
    Group 1: '3rdPlanIt' (obviously! :D), and Group 2: '3Pl-helpfiles '. Probably there are still more around.

    I have created some 3d-models of several kits which I bought a long time ago. Manufacturers include Alexander, Campbell, Durango Press, Fine Scale Miniatures, Kibri, Muir Model Company, POLA, Timberline... - all of them Western rural buildings and a few small industries, but no bigger city buildings or modern RR stuff. Please PM me if you are interested.

  10. zedob

    zedob Member

    Thanks RR,

    I appreciate the links.

    I'm modeling turn of the century (the one before the last) New England. but will probably stretch it up to the '20's. I used to model in HOn3 and I still like small locos and branchlines. I'm sure you have something I could use.

    Like I said, maybe we can trade. I know you didn't whip those buildings up in a few minutes and that's a lot of effort on your part not to be repaid in some way.

    I've been working on some stone abutment and retaining wall castings that you may be able to use for your real layout that I'd be more than happy to pass on to you if you are interested. They are not carved. Stone-by-stone, which took quite a few hours to develop, so I figure that could be an even trade. What do you think?

    Thanks again.

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