If you are using a Mac and are looking for a way to create layout plans for either model railroad or slot car sets, the RailModeller is just what you have been looking for. It has been around for a good while – since before OS X – and is constantly being upgraded and improved. Recently they even got together with the people at TrainPlayer to let you run the layouts you design. I don’t do slot cars at this time, though they are making a real comeback, so my experience is with the model rail side of things.
As you can see by this screen shot, RailModeller gives you a lot of control when laying your track. Not only can you select from templates of most well known track gauges and makers, but if you can’t find what you are looking for you can use the track editor to create your own. Once you have the track you need, you can proceed to lay it out on a representation of you baseboard with all the correct dimensions calculated. When all is said and done, you can print out a inventory of all the track you have or need to create your masterpiece.
Of course this is greatly over simplified. While being very easy to use, RailModeller is also quite powerful. With it you can design model railway layouts of up to 3280ft x 3280ft. (I wish I had that much room!) You can also print your layout in arbitrary sizes a single sheet of paper up to 1:1 scale. Whats more, you can view your layout in 3D and get an even better impression of what the real thing will look! That is extremely cool.
So, as I am beginning to plan out my small shelf based layout, I am going to use RailModeller to do it. Not only will I be gaining experience with baseboard construction and track planning, but I will also be preparing myself for how best to layout larger and more complex designs when I get the space, time and money.
If you have used RailModeller or any other track planning software, I would love to hear your experiences. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!