Realising a Dream - 3 - Planning

Discussion in 'How to' started by Jim Freight, May 3, 2021.

  1. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    After numerous drafts on paper I decided this was the hard way to do it so I looked around at what aids could simplify this stage.

    Various CAD (Computer Aided Design) products were appearing specialising in designing model railways. I tried free trial versions of a few and found that AnyRail fitted my requirements (particularly my wrinkly brain), it was IMO easy to use, had extensive track libraries, not too many configuration settings and the ability to design in layers.

    The layers aspect is a very important feature so I will explain the concept. It is one that has been in use with photo & image processing CAD packages for some years. It enables you to design different parts, in our case a railway layout as seperate entities laid over each other.

    If you drew out your design, e.g. track, landscape and structures on a plain piece of paper and wanted to change anything it affects everything. However if each of these aspects track, landscape and structures were drawn onto separate pieces of tracing paper so the sheets could be seen through each other then changes to e.g. the landscape could be made without your eraser damaging the track plan. Similarly e.g. you could overlay different track layouts over the same piece of landscape.

    This is all possible using layers in a CAD tool like AnyRail.

    This can be extended to a multi-level railway by selecting which layers you want to view and which to hide.

    I extended this to documentation layers, text and baseboard dimensions, electrical information and siting of experimental features such as wagon tracking.

    When I bought AnyRail it was version 4 and the price included free upgrade to version 5. It seemed a little pricey to start with but in practice it can save you much time and money in creating your dream design, afterall buying pointwork is expensive. Having a stack of unused points could have bought you another loco!

    Your design can be printed out fullsize which enables you to place rollingstock on it and try out e.g. shunting operations and will it actually fit the intended space without being cramped. Printed at smaller scales to peruse, and finally fullsize again as a track template for laying track.

    Features we take for granted elsewhere such as Copy & Paste is a real time saver, you can create a build list of track and the ability to design your own symbols for structures and landscape is very good.

    Ultimately it's your decision and no one tool suits everyone, AnyRail suited me. it can be found at :- https://www.anyrail.com/en

    To be continued, Jim.
     

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