Best layout software?

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I have Atlas, XtraCAD, and 3rd Planit. I had been using 3rd Planit because, dang it I paid for it. But XtraCAD is so much easier to use, I can do three times as much work in the same abount of time. So I'm back to the freebee--XtraCAD.
 

Myowngod

Pennsy Tuscan Red Blood
XtrkCad, by far is the best. Dang, it's FREE! Also, very easy to use. I've used the Atlas RT, but you're limited to only Atlas track. XtrkCad has all the manufacturers and you can build and customize your own turnouts.
here's a link Sillub XtrkCad make sure you register the program to have access to all the features. Otherwise your stuck to a 4x8 layout.
The software has been released to the public domain, if you want to unlock all the features of the software please go to the following menu File-->Register and then in the Name: field put "Open Registration" and for Key: "248890010702" (do not enter the quotes)

There's also a support group at Yahoo yahoo.com/group/XTrkCad/

Good luck, Have fun!
 

Joe Daddy

C & SF, my obsession
I find 3rdPlanIt to be a superior product over Xtrakcad. I found Xtrakcad to be worth exactly what it cost me. Nothing. Others swear by it, but not me. Perhaps the worse piece of software I have ever tried to learn and use.

More details on my experience and view on train cad on my blog.

Just my opine

Joe Daddy
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
I find 3rdPlanIt to be a superior product over Xtrakcad. I found Xtrakcad to be worth exactly what it cost me. Nothing.
Joe, I find 3PI worth nothing to me. The only advantage that 3PI seems to have over Xtrkcad is the 3D renditions. That is the only advantage I can see. The learning curve for 3PI for me was tremendous,(I've been told its easier if you have autocad experience,but I don't). Whereas the Xtrkcad took less than a week of evenings at about 20 minutes at a time to learn. Total time spent maybe, 50-60 minutes. Makes beautiful drawings and after the layout is done you can even "run" trains on it just like 3PI.

Others swear by it, but not me. Perhaps the worse piece of software I have ever tried to learn and use.

More details on my experience and view on train cad on my blog.

Just my opine

Joe Daddy
Just because you "never got the hang of it", to quote from your blog, doesn't make it a bad piece of software, it just makes it more than you want to handle. I still can't get the hang of 3PI, or CadRail for that matter, but that doesn't make them "bad" or even "the worse". It just makes them more than I want to deal with. Attached is an example of what can be done with "the worse software".
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Panther Al

New Member
I'm guessing that the programs above are all windows based, does anyone know of Mac version on one of them, or a Mac program?
 

Alcomotive

Grandson of ALCO Bldr
has any one used TRAINZ ???

There was an article in one of the recent MR magazines ( I think either planning mag or great mr mag not the regular issue) of using it for track planning but you can actually drive a train through it in 3d after designing it...
 

EricBrian

New Member
So, for those of you who have experience with the different Mac software packages for layout, which one would you chose?

Thanks
Eric
 

robteed

New Member
XTrakCad -Ease of use

Joe, I find 3PI worth nothing to me. The only advantage that 3PI seems to have over Xtrkcad is the 3D renditions. That is the only advantage I can see. The learning curve for 3PI for me was tremendous,(I've been told its easier if you have autocad experience,but I don't). Whereas the Xtrkcad took less than a week of evenings at about 20 minutes at a time to learn. Total time spent maybe, 50-60 minutes. Makes beautiful drawings and after the layout is done you can even "run" trains on it just like 3PI.



Just because you "never got the hang of it", to quote from your blog, doesn't make it a bad piece of software, it just makes it more than you want to handle. I still can't get the hang of 3PI, or CadRail for that matter, but that doesn't make them "bad" or even "the worse". It just makes them more than I want to deal with. Attached is an example of what can be done with "the worse software".
I find the tutorial quite hard to follow. I did a search on youtube only to
find a few videos of XTrakcad. Would be awesome if You or someone else
could post videos on youtube.
 

Joe Daddy

C & SF, my obsession
I find the tutorial quite hard to follow. I did a search on youtube only to
find a few videos of XTrakcad. Would be awesome if You or someone else
could post videos on youtube.
Kinda nice to know that my original observations seem to remain relevant. :p
 

LFDRR

Member
I have to agree with Joe Daddy.

3rdP is definately the one for 3D testing of a layout before actually building it. I took 1 year to design then test, test and test again before starting to build any baseboards. I redeisgned various areas over that time with no trouble and then came more testing for operational faesibility.

Excellent app. and I've tried most of them.

Angie
 

LoudMusic

Member
I use XTrakCad because I'm cheap :D Once you get a hang of it, it's pretty powerful software. I've also use the Atlas stuff but only to see what it was like and gave up pretty quickly.
________
DIRTYGAMES
 
Last edited by a moderator:

fast_ian

Member
Hi,

As something of a computer geek, I figured I'd give Xtrak a try - The home page claims its available for Windows, Linux & Mac OSX but only the last seems to be downloadable..... "No problem, I'll put it on the Mac" - It installed OK but when I try and fire it up it crashes in spectacular fashion :( (after starting X11) This is Snow Leopard latest & whatever version comes from their site.

- Anyone else having any troubles with it?
- Anyone know where/if the Linux version is available?
- I was also hoping for a forum discussing it, but couldn't find anything on Yahoo - Is there any "community" support for it anywhere?

TIA, cheers,
Ian
 

Joe Daddy

C & SF, my obsession
Hi,

As something of a computer geek, I figured I'd give Xtrak a try - The home page claims its available for Windows, Linux & Mac OSX but only the last seems to be downloadable..... "No problem, I'll put it on the Mac" - It installed OK but when I try and fire it up it crashes in spectacular fashion :( (after starting X11) This is Snow Leopard latest & whatever version comes from their site.

- Anyone else having any troubles with it?
- Anyone know where/if the Linux version is available?
- I was also hoping for a forum discussing it, but couldn't find anything on Yahoo - Is there any "community" support for it anywhere?

TIA, cheers,
Ian
Well Ian, and this ought to wake up the peanut gallery, but it looks like XTracCad remains exactly worth what it costs. :D

Joe
 

SRN

Member
Well Ian, and this ought to wake up the peanut gallery, but it looks like XTracCad remains exactly worth what it costs. :D

Joe
Insulting XTrackCad users isn't helpful.

LoudMusic, you beat me to it.

FastIan, some Linux distros have the XTrackCad package in their repositories. If yours doesn't, or it isn't the latest version, you can use the tarred version available in the appropriate folder on the page LoudMusic linked. The lastest Mac and PC versions can also be found there.

I use Debian. XTrackCad works just fine for me. It has never crashed X. I also tried the Windows version without issues.

BTW, I have looked at 3rdPlanit, CadRail, and XTrackCad. Not a single one of them has a decent user interface, in my opinion. However, I do notice that far more of the layout diagrams posted in the various model railroad forums are drawn with XTrackCad than any of the pay to play packages.

Any reference to the Silub page is obsolete. That was the original developer when XTrackCad was a commercial program. It has since gone open source. The relevant home page is now http://www.xtrkcad.org/Wikka/HomePage.

There is a Mac specific page here.
 
Last edited by a moderator:




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top