Which Track Planning Software

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by planeshavings42, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. Hello all, I have tried atlas's free track planning software, and just can't seem to get it to work right, probably "more fog in the old thinker: :D Does anyone have favorite software that a feeble minded older gent might be able to figure out. Acutally I thought I was sort of computer literate, as I have repaired laptop's for several years, but then that is not the same as doing track layout planning. Any suggestions would be appreciated, Thank's In Advance...

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    XTrkCAD is what most of the guys use at www.hotrak.ca. The tutorial, as well as lots of "fiddling time" are required for smooth operations... ;) I don't have any direct experience with it 'cuz it doesn't run on a Mac :( ;)

    Be aware that the planning software may not warn you against curves that are too tight, or grades that are too steep. For example, I was looking in your other thread where a double decker oval was suggested - the grade between the two levels is far too steep...

    Atlas RTS is somewhat easier (I did run a copy of this before I went to the Mac). The snap/sectional track is very easy to use, so creating rudimentary layouts can be fairly quick. I think I ran version 5.0, and the latest is now 7.0.

    3rd Plan-It is very nice looking. It can give you three dimensional views, so is very handy especially for mountainous terrain. Gauge member TrainClown is very adept with it, and has made some awesome looking layout plans.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Your gonna hate this. I recommend XTRK.CAD hands down over RTS, but it is harder to learn.
    I just read Andrews post, and depending on the settings XTRK will warn if curves are to sharp or grades to steep.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Thanks for confirming that. I assume though that you may override it and/or build it however you wish though...! ;)

  5. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I've seen the linux version running on apple os x. The person compiled it from the source code and got it to run. I'll follow up w/ them to see if i can find out how many hoops he had to jump through to get it to work.

    I've just recently started playing w/ xtrakcad after being frustrated to no end by rts. I like it but i'm stumped at how to do things that were braindead easy in rts like flip a curve or rotate a turnout. But i DO like the scenery options how it represents the table top and the ability to run trains on it.

  6. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    The two that seem to attract the most attention are 3rd Plainit and XTrkCad. I have and use XTrkCad, mostly because it is free. The 3-d views would be nice, but I'm not ready to pay the $. With XTrkCad, make sure you do the tutorial before you try to do anything for real, and reference it afterwards. It isn't hard, but it is not exactly Windows intuitive as many things are.

  7. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Someday they'll add the feature with the layout police coming out of the computer to stop you being 'stupid':curse: , but they are not there yet! You can set your minimum radius and max grade, so you can be 'stupid' without it pointing that out to you, if you so desire:thumb: !

  8. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    i love Xtrak and 3rd plan-it,they are both great but 3rd plan-it is expensive and a little harder to learn.but besides the price and a few other options there the same.and xtrk is FREE!!but solely from using it,liking its simple mechanics and its free id say go with xtrkcad.--josh
  9. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I am going with 3rd Planit, tried using atlas and Xtrackcad and didn't like them very much.

    Sure 3rd Planit is $125 but I think that it will be worth it in the end, I am sick of doing my trackplans in photoshop lol, they take way to much time and effort to get everything drawn to scale lol
  10. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    Hi! Have been watching the posts here and elsewhere on The Gauge. From what I've seen, XTrakCad does a nice job, but my computer, like its SYSOP, is old (WinME) and v4.0 is only certyified XP. Does anybody know where v3.14 is available, so I can start climbing the learning curve? Thanks for ALL the inspiration and info you all have already given, hope one of you can direct me. Bob :wave:
  11. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

    I have it running on Linux. It was a simple download and install from the Debian archive. No hoops involved, but I have only played with it a little, so I can't really comment on how well it works.

    It is version 4.0, BTW.

    Edit: Oops, the quote didn't mention the name. It is XTrkCad.
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Andrew, you can set the curve and grade minimums to whatever you want.

  13. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

    Don't forget CadRail. They also do 3D and have a free demo. They don't seem to have as big a following as 3rdPlanit, but they are highly regarded by a lot of users.
  14. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

  15. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

  16. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    Torpedo, thanks for the link, but they've only got a Linux version. Did see a lot of other non-rr stuff there to explore later. Anybody else got a clue for a pre-XP version (Win 98/SE/ME), I'll be beholdin'. Thanks again! Bob
  17. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Try here:

    If you don't succeed, holler, I have it and could e-mail it.


    Don't worry that it says 'limited functionality' or some such. You provide the free registration info and can use all it does.
  18. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

  19. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    The latest version of XTrkCad - 4.01 - does not allow layout planning in narrow gauge; therefore, you will not be able to compile a list of needed trackage nor test-run any narrow gauge equipment.
  20. Connor

    Connor Member

    I like RR-Track (http://www.rrtrack.com/), it's library is rather large, everything from Z to G and all manufactures from what I can tell. They charge for the libraries, but it's a really nice program and easy to use, very similar to RTS, but tons more features.

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