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Model Railroad DesignSoftware

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  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Model Railroad DesignSoftware
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, September 30, 2001 8:23 AM
I'm trying to research Model Railroad Design software to use in designing a small HOn3 layout. I've tried the demo version of 3rd Planit which looks very good but my computer continues to crash. (I have a Pentium 3 with 256 mb of ram). I've started to check out the demo of 3d Railroad Concept and Design from Abracadata and I also downloaded Cadrail 7 from Sandia software. Does anyone have experience with these or other Model Railroad Design Programs who would like to make a recommendation?

Thanks,

Lance
  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: US
  • 68 posts
Posted by gerryleone on Monday, October 1, 2001 3:20 PM
Lance -- I used 3D RR C&D to design my railroad, and I thought it was great. I'd pretty much learned the program in an evening, and was then able to spend my time more productively designing the track.

One word of caution: while it renders in 3D pretty nicely, you can spend a lot of time "futzing around" with the terrain editor, just to get a pretty 3D picture. After spending 2 nights trying to "build" a hillside, I realized I was wasting a lot of time that had nothing to do with the railroad design.

If you're interested I have a page on my website that shows some different screens from that program:

http://home.earthlink.net/~gerryleone/trains.htm . Look on the "trackplan" page.

-Gerry
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 1, 2001 9:37 PM
Gerry,
Where did you obtain this software?

-Justin
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    April 2003
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 1, 2001 11:42 PM
Justin, As indicated on Gerry's website, you can download a working demo at www.abracadata.com. You can also buy it from Walthers. I highly recommend downloading the demo because you get a good idea of how it works. I also highly recommend checking out Gerry Leone's web site http://home.earthlink.net/~gerryleone/trackplan.htm because he has great pictures and text of how the software works and how he used it.

Lance
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 1, 2001 11:46 PM
Gerry, Thanks for the info and for the referral to your website. What a great website! Lots of info and ideas there for a current and future layout planner/builder. (see my comments in your guest book.)

Lance
  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: New Jersey, a founding member of the USSA
  • 2,269 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, October 2, 2001 6:05 AM
I use CadRail.

It doesn't generate realistic 3-D images without a LOT of hassle, but the focus of the program isn't to do that - it's to provide an accurate design tool for model railroaders.

It is much more of a CAD (computer-aided design) package than the others - it can be used to design structures, rolling stock and things other than just the track plan. If CadRail were compared to AutoCad, then 3D Railroad Concept and Design would compare to MacDraw (IMHO).

CadRail's learning curve is much steeper than other software packages' curves, but to me, at least, the effort is worth it. Then again, I'm an engineer who works on such CAD systems as Unigraphics and CATIA all day long, so CadRail's design "philosophy" is familiar to me, as it uses the same approach as the major CAD systems.

Cadrail has a user's group on-line: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cr-users

My own trackplan, at http://www.thecbandqinwyoming.com
was done with CadRail 7.11 (only bitmap exports of the plan are on the site right now). I can't imagine trying to design the track vertical separations and many grades without CadRail's automatic cross-sectioning ability.

Whatever package you choose, good luck!

  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, October 6, 2001 12:40 AM
Please send me your link so I can check out your track plan. Sounds interesting. Couldn't get to your site as I couldn't make out the symbols in you site address correctly. Kept getting an ERROR 404 notice at the Earthlink Site.

My email address is: nsdra@inreach.com

Please send the link their as links do not display in these message boards


thanks
  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: US
  • 68 posts
Posted by gerryleone on Monday, October 8, 2001 3:44 PM
Thanks to all you folks for the compliments!

I know Walthers sells 3D Railroad, and I'm pretty sure it's available for sale on their website: http://www.abracadata.com .

As for my web address, be sure to use the "tilde" before my name (tilde is above your TAB key on the upper left of the keyboard): http://home.earthlink.net/~gerryleone/trains.htm

Thanks again for the kind words and the visits!

-Gerry
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 8, 2001 5:00 PM
I like cadrail. I use it for everything from track planning to full size room construction.
I used it to layout the frame for my latest project, a scrath bulit steam engine to a birdhouse for my daughter.

chow

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