Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Computer Software for desigining layouts

841 views
4 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: New Jersey, a founding member of the USSA
  • 2,283 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 5:40 AM
One of the best, which Tom didn't mention (why is not important here), is CadRail from Sandia Software.

CadRail is aimed at the person who wants to design a layout. It doesn't have much in the way of gee-whiz graphics, but what it DOES have is serious drawing tools for precision design.

It really comes down to what you want from the package.

---If your main need is a visualization aid for the finished product, then one of the packages Tom mentioned might be more what you need.

---If you want a drafting program that will provide accuracy in designing trackwork, generating bills of materials, etc., then CarRail is probably more the direction you want to go.

As a comparison to each other via other software programs, here;s how the "Big 3" work out:
CadRail is to 3D Planit is to Abracadata's 3D Railroad as AutoCad is to Powerpoint is to MS Paint.

Check out their websites, and try the demo versions where they are available. Then decide which fits your approach best.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 22, 2002 11:06 PM
I have'nt forgot about all the leg, back and hand work that go'es into bench work and laying track. Not to mention crawling around under it for what seems like miles of wire. What I want is a program that will help keep me from re-laying track for one reason or another. This is my 4th layout and the biggest by far. I think I have all my ducks (or cars) all lined up. It just really hurts my feelings to remove hours or even days of track. But..... anyway thanks for the software titles, I'll give them a try and just keep rolling on down the track. thanks Again
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 22, 2002 1:12 PM
There are several, and I suspect there may be other posts here that will give some opinions of some of the individual programs. 3rdPlanIt! and Abracadata's 3D track layout program have been around for a while and can give you a pretty good feel of what works and what doesn't. Trainz by Aurans, an Australian company, has recently come out with its own 3D layout program that has plenty of bells and whistles and can display a very rich and detailed scene. All of them let you run virtual trains so you can test operations before laying any actual track. These programs are advertised frequently in Model Railroader. But if you just finished your 12'x16' room, you don't want to let it sit empty for a long time while you master a computer program. Maybe someone else can tell you which is the quickest to learn, but I think I'd lean to 3rdPlanIt! or Abracadata's program.

And don't let your virtual program be your last word. Virtual reality isn't reality. Put down masking tape on the floor for the outline of your benchwork to double check your human clearances (and keep in mind the girths of your potential operators). As you're laying track, don't neglect your sense of what feels right for you. A plan is a roadmap, not a hard and fast contract you must rigidly follow. But the computer programs will keep you honest in terms of minimum radii, clearances, turnout angles and alike.

Good luck.

Tom Chmielewski
Editor, Trains.com

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 22, 2002 12:57 PM
Abracadata makes one.

I think it is called 3d Model Railroading Design Concept. They have it in the Walther's 2002 catalog. For me, I use the freeware Atlas Right Track software.

-Wolv33
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Computer Software for desigining layouts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 22, 2002 8:09 AM
Do'es anyone know of a computer software program that allows you to design a layout and possably test it (windows).I have been running "n" scale since 1989 and love it. I just finished building a 12' by 16' room (A/C, Heat and running water) in my garage for my new layout. Any help would be great. Thanks

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!