Track Planning Software

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by sawacs, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. sawacs

    sawacs New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello fellas, I am a newcommer to the forums and N scale trains.
    For the last few days, I have been trying to come up with a track plan for a 28x50" board. I was wondering what kind of software everyone uses for making their plans? I have tried RTS but have not been too impressed ( probally due to my ignorance of the software )..

    Any advice would be most appreciated, Sawacs
  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    4,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Welcome to the-gauge! RTS for me, but I have seen some very nice looking plans come from Eldorado (3rd Planet). RTS is fine if you just want a conventional 2d plan like what you would draw on paper. If you can master the flextrack tools, it's not bad.
  3. billk

    billk Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2001
    Messages:
    1,192
    Likes Received:
    0
    I gave up on RTS, mostly due to the flextrack tool. I use a cheap CAD program, QuickCAD from AutoDesk, that I got for around $25 at Menard's. There's a learning curve with it, especially if you've never done drafting before, and since it's not designed specifically for model RRs you have to 'roll your own' turnouts, etc, but I like the flexibility of being able to use it to design buildings, bridges, tunnel portals, heralds, or whatever my feeble mind can come up with.
  4. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2001
    Messages:
    1,311
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use RTS, too. I mostly design sectional layouts, but I haven't had much trouble with using the flex track tool once I got the hang of it. You can use the "shape flex track" feature in the Special menu to make custom "sectional" pieces, or place flex track between two existing sections of track. The latter can be adjusted, similar to bezier curves, by clicking on them with the "shap flex track" tool and moving the handles.

    Entire sections of track can be set at a specified height. Or you can cut out a section of track, click on one end and create a gradient. Turnouts, however, must remain horizontal.

    I also use the line/wire drawing tool to create top-down views of structures that aren't already in the library.

    RTS is a free version of a commercial program called WinRail (http://www.winrail.com/). A free 3-D viewer is available on the website. This program lets you see the trackplan from any angle on any axis.

    My main complaint against RTS is the lack of availability of other track libraries. Or maybe I just haven't figured out how to install WinRail libraries correctly...
  5. screwysquirrel

    screwysquirrel Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Messages:
    711
    Likes Received:
    0
    My choice

    My choice is almost always RTS. Its price can't be beat!

    the sectional tracklaying in it is pretty good,


    in a 28x50, I'd use a traditional 2x4 plan, leaving the extra space on the sides and edges for more scenery, and a safety margin for derails
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    4,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with Rory, you just have to mess with it until you get it figured out. Once you figure out how to shape the flextrack, you are pretty unlimited to what you can do. Gee, that's about like real flex track :D :D :D
  7. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2002
    Messages:
    353
    Likes Received:
    0
    Of course I am still trying to figure out how to download an RTS file to The Gauge so I can receive comments on my layout plans. Other than that, RTS works for me and you cannot beat the price.
  8. screwysquirrel

    screwysquirrel Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Messages:
    711
    Likes Received:
    0
    save your RTS file as a .pcx file, then convert it to a 640x480 GIF or JPG file with your favorite program (I prefer 'Irfanview'), and you should be able to upload it just fine.

    Here's a sample

    Attached Files:

  9. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    0
    You can also save it as a .bmp file as well. The nice thing about doing it this way (be it pcx, bmp, or other) is that it saves it in a file which is precisely the size of the layout you're working on. No cropping in Photoshop or whatever...
  10. oshta

    oshta New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    yeah - i think PECO should make some track planning software!!

    - i could be set up with all there diffrent stock
    - and free(or 1/2price) if you bought ovver £50 of there Track

    - i would buy it!!
  11. oshta

    oshta New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    would any one else??
  12. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use and really like RTS. It does have a bit of a learning curve, but once you figure it out it's a piece of cake.

    As Rory pointed out, aside from using the "connect the dots" flex track tool, many people often overlook the tool that lets you create a a curve of any set radius. This has been EXTREMELY handy for me. This is done by clicking "Special", then "Shape Flex Track" and then entering the radius and angle of the curve you want.

    Anyway, RTS has some GREAT tools. You can do a complete inventory count. You can measure the exact length of track you have (so you know how much flex to buy). You can put different tracks in different colors. With a little imagination....RTS can provide everything you need for track planning. On top of that it's free. ;)
  13. Mike Miller

    Mike Miller New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey guys. i think RTS is the bomb! i've made several track plans with this software. i like the option of using layers too. It makes planning much easier. i like to use the line option for the track outline with no connections showing. It took me a while to get the hang of it. Layout design is just one of the many areas i enjoy. Later