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I have graduated from O to N to HO and now since the child has left home, G. The rest were fairly easy to lay out by hand. G has not been so easy for me.

Is there a computer program that you can lay out tracks by rather than trial and error on the ground time and time again? I am having trouble getting one end to meet up with my other end. Sort of like connecting railroads in Kansas but I have one track in Michigan and the other is coming into Texas they are so far off.

I know there is a template one can buy and this requires a lot of drawings. Thanks in advance.
 

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Hello, Bjfirepro, and welcome to MLS! You have found the most helpful, friendly group of people around for large scale trains. I and many others on this site used RRTrack. It is a great program that will make a 3D rendering of your plan, including buildings, water, hills and sectional or custom track. I would, obviously highly reccomend it!

Take care, and we'll be waiting for updates!
Matt
 

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Welcome! I've found XtrkCAD to be very useful. It's available as freeware for Windows and Linux (and possibly Mac), and is quite powerful once you get past the learning curve. One of the features I like is the ability to add rolling stock of your own design and dimensions, and run it around the layout to check clearances, etc.

http://www.xtrkcad.org/Wikka/HomePage
 

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RR track is great and has libraries for buildings and track from several manufacturers.

Not a freebie, but works for me.
 

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OK...I'll throw my opinion in too. IMHO, the MOST USEFUL drawing program for garden railroading is VISIO by Microsoft. I use it for everything...track plans, vegitation plans, irrigation plans, building plans, electrical plans, foundation/wall plans, control panel plans, etc. VISIO is a template based drawing program...meaning it's a lot more than just lines and curves. It comes with hundreds of "stencils"...objects you just drag onto the drawing surface and drop. It has a user setable scale...to any scale you want. So...if you're into laying out your building designs in feet...they come out in scale feet. Full size drawing plans can be made by having them printed to large format printers.

Here's a few I have made
a. Overall layout plan - http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/mikereilley/Chat/Visio-Front%20yard%20GRR-2.pdf
b. Train station plans - http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/mikereilley/Chat/Dorn%20Junction%20Station.pdf
c. Control panel plans - http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/mikereilley/Chat/Visio-Masonic%20Hall.pdf

These are pdf outputs from VISIO that I created by printing the VISIO chart to PDF995. Each page of the pdf is a separate drawing page within one VISIO file...and VISIO files have layer controls too. That means I can turn layers off on the Overall Layout Plan...and see just the foundation design for retaining walls...or go up to showing the conduit pipe runs...or irrigation pipe runs...etc.

One member here has even developed drag and droppable LGB section track/turnout sections stencils. You down load them to your machine and bring em in as stencil...and off you go. You'll see some of those in use on my Layout plan...and some I drew up myself...just zoom in.

The one thing it does NOT do is 3D. I do elevation chart plans to figure out grade issues.
 

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Posted By Mike Reilley on 11/18/2008 6:37 PM
One member here has even developed drag and droppable LGB section track/turnout sections stencils. You down load them to your machine and bring em in as stencil...and off you go. You'll see some of those in use on my Layout plan...and some I drew up myself...just zoom in.




That member would be me. Go to http://www.stanstrains.com/software.htm and click on Visio Stencil.
 

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Let me add my 2¢. I actually found track planning much easier when I moved from HO to G. I did not do paper or computer plans. Actually the garden hose was my best friend. Then I loosely laid pieces of track. If I liked it I fine tuned it as I went along. The hack saw was a good friend. I found I did much better than trying to draw things out. Just lay the garden hose or some rope and then do it. I used a section or two of curved track to get the shape of the curve right when laying hose or rope on the ground.


What the conceptual track plan had trouble with was facing all the obstacles like trees, roots, and minor rises and wrinkles in the yard. Just do it.

Tom
 
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