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- TRACK PLANNING -
 Moderated by: Herb Kephart Page:  First Page Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page Last Page  
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 Posted: Sun Nov 8th, 2009 03:50 pm
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WVM Nut
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This is true, however I don't own a program which would allow me to do that. Atlas used to have one called Right Track, but how well it works I don't know. Has anyone had success with it?

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 Posted: Sun Nov 8th, 2009 04:04 pm
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Stickboy
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The best way to "start" is just with a pen and paper, to get your ideas down.
When you are happy with what you want to do, then you can work out how to do it accurately. See if you can get it scanned so you can show it here.

Computer programs are fine, but it helps if you are familiar with vector graphics. There are a stack listed on the resources page in this section.

However, fancy computer programs are not the be-all-and-end-all, it could be that you may be better off with cut out paper templates for track and switches, and just lay them out on the table, and move them around until you get a plan you are happy with. Good luck, have fun!


Phil



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 Posted: Sun Nov 8th, 2009 09:07 pm
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Herb Kephart
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Actually, I think that computer track planing programs are detrimental to the design of a realistic layout. Unless you are proficient at Autocad, Intergraph,or Pro Engineer you will find that the available programs that make sense for the amateur layout designer--IE low enough cost and simple enough to learn without extended training, are going to give you a very "toy train" layout 

Real railroads have transitions into curves, they do not have a "library" of fixed radii,  switches and crossings. They do have minimums for these things, but that is just what they are- minimums that are only used when no other option is available.

Get yourself a piece of graph paper, and outline the area that you have available.
Whatever scale that this works out to, cut a template from paper or light card to the smallest radius that your equipment will RELIABLY operate around, and use that to check any curves that you freehand sketch in make sure that they are no sharper.
Keep your switches as gradual as possible. Once that you have come up with a design that looks promising, then make a more accurate drawing. You will save a lot of time this way, and in all likelyhood end up with a more realistic layout.



Herb:old dude:



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 Posted: Sun Nov 8th, 2009 09:34 pm
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Paladin
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Herb:-

I agree completely, start off with a mud map, nothing fancy looking but it is a start.

Then keep pushing things around and when you are starting to feel comfortable it may well be time to draw it up with a bit more scale and clarity.

My layout started out this way.  Ended up being a nicely presented layout plan, drawn to scale and showing elevations. Guess what, when the time came to build the layout things started to change at a great rate of knots. I don't say the same will happen to others.

Half the fun is thinking - planning then go off in a slightly different direction ( sometimes quite a bit more than slight )

Keep in mind the Givens & Druthers. This something you should do up front.

Don



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 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2009 03:35 am
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pilotfriend
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The issue here is that no one can actually design a model railway for you unless you are much more clear as to what you want to do with it.

Do you want a railroad in a landscape or one with many tracks and routes? Do you prefer to shunt or watch trains go by? etc etc

You have not even stated what scale you wish to work in. G or Z or anything in between. Is it shortline or mainline?

Once you are more clear as to your needs, then the design will already be forming in your head.

best

John

 

Last edited on Mon Nov 9th, 2009 03:38 am by pilotfriend

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 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2009 04:12 pm
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pilotfriend
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So I have opened a thread for this project so perhaps further dicussion can continue there. I would prefer that this thread is used for discussing generalities in layout planning rather than specific projects. The last three posts have been moved by myself.

JdF

Last edited on Tue Nov 10th, 2009 02:41 am by pilotfriend

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 Posted: Sun Aug 8th, 2010 11:09 pm
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craftsmaster
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Before you start, here’s an overview of the track itself: what's it made of, what form you can expect to find it in when you buy it, and the types and grades available to you.

Track, for the most part, is composed of one of four materials.  You find it in brass, zinc-coated steel, steel, and nickel silver.   Of these, brass and zinc-coated are the most common, but some hobbyists swear by nickel silver.

Brass is a good conductor of electricity, but the care and cleaning necessary to maintain it can be overwhelming.  The oxide that forms on it is a poor conductor and tends to inhibit the optimal working of the train.

In order to keep the train in running condition, you need to clean the rails frequently with track cleaning block.  The other way to remove the oxidation is to keep running your cars over the tracks.

The zinc-coated steel also has some disadvantages.  When the zinc coating wears away (as it eventually will), it leaves the steel exposed.  You can see the problem right away: steel rusts.

While nickel silver is not quite as good a conductor of electricity as the others, its residual oxide works every bit as well as its original coating, providing you with reliable, consistent track no matter what the circumstances.  Go figure!

The Australian Trains & Scenery

Last edited on Sun Aug 8th, 2010 11:11 pm by craftsmaster



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 Posted: Mon Aug 9th, 2010 07:03 am
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Dwayne
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Rail also comes in aluminum for us large scalers running live steam and/or RC. :)



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 Posted: Wed Aug 11th, 2010 09:33 pm
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W C Greene
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I'm not a trackplanner either, but maybe I can offer some help. Do you want to sit in a nice chair with a brew and watch the train roll around the room...or do you want to actually operate the train with set outs and pick ups and the idea of a point to point layout doesn't freak you out. Think about all that. You might get some brown wrapping (we used to call it butcher paper) and tape some pieces together which would approximate or even show the benchwork plan in real size. Then simply draw the trackplan on this, maybe using some pieces of "snap track" and switches (turnouts) as a guide. You might come up with a pleasing design that can be done in the real world...not some scale plan on a sheet of paper or a computer screen.  I ain't knocking computer designs, I am just not familiar with any of that stuff. When I built my layout (in sections), I drew what I wanted on the sections to see if they fit with previous sections and as to whether I could (or would) build what I envisioned.

Using commercial track is easy, but if you want to get exactly what you want, you might consider handlaying. Or you could handlay turnouts and flex in between. This would give you a more free-flowing design and you might enjoy making tracks anyway. Something else to consider.

As Dave stated, there are guys who will design your layout for you...at a price. But then like from the WIZARD OF OZ, the only difference between the scarecrow(you) and the "educated man" (track plan expert)...is a "diploma"..or to quote another movie-"we don't need no stinkin' diplomas!".

Have fun and get started now...tomorrow may not get here on time.

                                     Woodie



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 Posted: Fri Aug 13th, 2010 03:33 am
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pilotfriend
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I quite agree with you Woodie. Computer design works very well if you see the world through a PC. Otherwise, it is better to draw.

I still favour making a mini model of the layout in foam. This way you can see the viewing angles and get a much better imporession of the final result.

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