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Philphil

What Track Plan Software Do You Use?

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Philphil

Hello everyone,

I'm on the hunt for some software not too terribly expensive (hopefully) that lets you plan out an N scale track plan.

I only plan to use sectional Kato Unitrack, so an archive of Kato track parts is a must.

Do you have recommendations or programs that you would avoid?

(By the way, I am using a PC)

 

~Phil

Edited by Philphil
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cteno4

Mac or pc? Also search the forum a bit with track software and you will find a few threads and sub conversations on various programs and situations.

 

im Mac here and railmodeler works well for I think like $40. It’s been kept updated pretty well. Pretty easy and quick to fiddle with unitrak planning. The parts bars are a little annoying in how they are labeled and ordered. I did a new label set at one point but it ended up getting wiped out at one point.

 

Also use xtrak cad but it’s a bit harder to run on the Mac with x windows. But it’s free and widely used, supported as open source now. It’s a bit convoluted in its process, but with a little fiddling you can figure things out, just make sure to write them down after figuring it out as a few weeks later you won’t remeber some of the unintuitive steps. But it’s powerful and we have done three club layouts with it over the years and it’s free!

 

jeff

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Philphil

Thank you, Jeff!

I am currently running on a PC (just edited the main topic post to reflect that), I'm glad you mentioned that, too, I wouldn't have even noticed!

Because I'm a cheap person, I have to ask, does xtrack cad have much in the way of Kato Unitrack loaded into it?

Thank you for the info!

~Phillip

26 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Mac or pc? Also search the forum a bit with track software and you will find a few threads and sub conversations on various programs and situations.

 

im Mac here and railmodeler works well for I think like $40. It’s been kept updated pretty well. Pretty easy and quick to fiddle with unitrak planning. The parts bars are a little annoying in how they are labeled and ordered. I did a new label set at one point but it ended up getting wiped out at one point.

 

Also use xtrak cad but it’s a bit harder to run on the Mac with x windows. But it’s free and widely used, supported as open source now. It’s a bit convoluted in its process, but with a little fiddling you can figure things out, just make sure to write them down after figuring it out as a few weeks later you won’t remeber some of the unintuitive steps. But it’s powerful and we have done three club layouts with it over the years and it’s free!

 

jeff

 

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bill937ca

I use Anyrail. Runs on my PC. Up to 50 pieces is free. As most of my planning is for Unitram or small Wide Tram Track layouts this adequate for my purposes.

 

There is a large library of Unitrack, but not all pieces. The 20-015 ash pit track is included but not the very  similar 20-016 open pit track.

Edited by bill937ca

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cteno4

Philip, 

 

its got most of all it, upkeep is spotty now that its an open source system, but the good thing about that is you can freely edit your own pieces to suit. you can just modify an existing piece to match something thats not there. but all the standard stuff is there and the speciality tracks can always just be done with regular track and you put a rectangle around it to remind you its different.

 

its free! but like i said a bit funky in its process, so even though ive been programming and using software for 45 years now its the one piece of software i alway find myself having to use notes as i use it sporadically and every time i scratch my head for 5 minutes to try w/o then give up and pull them out (if i can find them!) maybe its just me, but it doesnt fit my brain pattern well from scratch, but once im into a project its ok. and its free!

 

worth 30 minutes to download and play with a while, did i say its free?!

 

jeff

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Philphil
21 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Philip, 

 

its got most of all it, upkeep is spotty now that its an open source system, but the good thing about that is you can freely edit your own pieces to suit. you can just modify an existing piece to match something thats not there. but all the standard stuff is there and the speciality tracks can always just be done with regular track and you put a rectangle around it to remind you its different.

 

its free! but like i said a bit funky in its process, so even though ive been programming and using software for 45 years now its the one piece of software i alway find myself having to use notes as i use it sporadically and every time i scratch my head for 5 minutes to try w/o then give up and pull them out (if i can find them!) maybe its just me, but it doesnt fit my brain pattern well from scratch, but once im into a project its ok. and its free!

 

worth 30 minutes to download and play with a while, did i say its free?!

 

jeff

Agh, you're right, this is a weird program! I try it out for a bit, then I think I'll try Bill's suggestion for Anyrail!

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Takahama Trainwatcher

I was using SCARM which was nice. The beta versions was free, but it is no longer available. The full version is , I think $50 US; there is a limited free version too, from memory (but too limiting for me to use to adapt the plan I already made when it was free  :sad1:).

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Philphil

Thank you everyone! Out of all of those, I found the Anyrail software the easiest to use, and decided to purchase it even though it was $59. It's very nice, easy to use, and has a pretty good sized library of Kato Unitrack!

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cteno4

It’s worth it if it works for you! I much prefer railmodeler to xtrak cad but just have to use it for some club stuff.

 

jeff

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lighthouse

I mainly plan with Wintrack. But I have the old free SCARM still on a computer without an internet connection, because of the XP version, to plan.

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chadbag
On 2/6/2018 at 10:54 PM, cteno4 said:

It’s worth it if it works for you! I much prefer railmodeler to xtrak cad but just have to use it for some club stuff.

 

 

I just bought RailModeler and have played around with it a little.   It looks very nice.

 

I just wanted to mention that if you are Mac based, watch for iTunes cards on sale at places like Costco etc.  You can often get 10-15% off and that means you can buy things like RailModeler with a discount since you are spending 85 or 90 cents for every dollar in the price.

 

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tgv_obsessed

I use xtrakcad, It is not at all difficult to use once you get used to the interface- in fact it is extremely logical. laying parallel tracks is very very easy, and the way one can split free (or flexi) track with sectional pieces means that one can work out which sectional pieces are needed to fill a particular space. Anyrail cannot do that, and boy have I tried, because yes it does have a much nicer interface.

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Cat
On 3/8/2018 at 10:42 AM, chadbag said:

I just wanted to mention that if you are Mac based, watch for iTunes cards on sale at places like Costco etc.  You can often get 10-15% off and that means you can buy things like RailModeler with a discount since you are spending 85 or 90 cents for every dollar in the price.

 

Ah, good tip.  I see that RailModeller has Tomix, so it's tempting.  But with what I just paid in shipping for an order from Hobby Search which included a sampling assortment of Tomix track, plus a looming Buyee shipping charge on the horizon, an app purchase can wait til next fiscal month at the earliest.
 
Meanwhile, once the track samples arrive, I'll proceed with traditional analog planning of laying them out and fiddling on the tabletop.

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RogerMc
3 hours ago, Cat said:

 

... an app purchase can wait til next fiscal month at the earliest.

 

If I am not mistaken, RailModeler Express is FREE while RailModeler Pro is pay. Once you try Express you'll likely want Pro. At least I did.

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Madsing

I am a happy user of RailModeller Pro, with Tomix tracks. RailModeller Express is free, limited to 50 tracks.

Recommended.

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cteno4

Give railmodeler express a spin, it’s a nice little track program. Xtrakcad works and has a lot of abilities but it’s a fiddle to get installed on the Mac and not super intuitive, it’s one of those programs I have to have my cheat sheet out I made way back to use it after being away for it for any length of time...

 

jeff

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Cat
37 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Give railmodeler express a spin, it’s a nice little track program.

 

I downloaded and did a little noodling about with it last night.  Since we're doing a modular design, it looks like it should be able to work pretty well for us even with the 50 track limit.  I can just make each geographical area its own layout and then paste the images together afterwards.

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Sheffie

There’s a free version of SCARM you could experiment with too. I forget what the track limit is, but it’s at least 50. 

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cteno4

Cat is on a mac so no scarm, but if they have a pc or dual boot...

 

jeff

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Cat
2 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Cat is on a mac so no scarm, but if they have a pc or dual boot...

 

Mac-only cultist since 1985.  Railmodeler seems like it will do the trick.

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cteno4

Ha same here! But Apple II in 79 then basis 108 in 81, then mac in 84, se in 88, IIfx in 90 (at $6k half off developer price!) and a long line of them after that! 

 

jeff

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Sir Madog
7 hours ago, Sheffie said:

There’s a free version of SCARM you could experiment with too. I forget what the track limit is, but it’s at least 50. 

 

I think it is 100 elements, so if you use the "Figures" or "Objects" function, the number of track elements you can use goes down.

 

I quite like SCARM. It takes some time to get used to, especially if you like 3D renderings of your layout. My  latest plan for a re-start of my mini-modular activities was done in SCARM.

 

H2sEwcf.jpg

 

With the free version now limited, I use SCARM less and less.

Edited by Sir Madog
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