Project Track Plan


So now I've put my concept down. Now to implement it.

Now that's easier said than done. This layout is going to take a fair bit of planning and I'm used to just putting some track down on a board and connecting it up with no real planning involved.

I'll need some software to do the track plan justice but which product to use? The one's I've downloaded off of the web I've not been that impressed with and I'd hate to buy one and find I'm equally unimpressed. Hmmm.

I've now found out that XTrkCad is currently open source and so can be registered for nothing. One of the site's forum members, solent, has been given permission by the software authors to make the program available on his website and the name and key code required to use the package in full are both also listed there. The website's XTrkCAD download page can be found at Smallphry's Download XTrkCAD page (opens an external link). That also means that it can now be used for doing layouts longer than 8'. I've had a stab at doing a first draft and my attempt is below. The final version probably won't look like this but it gives an idea of what I'm looking to achieve. I haven't added details of the fiddle yard either but will be doing that on any further layout designs I do.

Anyway, here's the first draft.

XTrkCad generated Track Plan 1 thumbnail

I've now had a bit of a rethink. The track plan above gives some of what I want but not all. The station also tends to dominate the layout whereas, while I wanted a station, the MPD and container terminal were intended to be the centrepiece. I think the way to do this is to move the station to the right, shorten it a bit and possibly have some of the station on the curve going round into the fiddle/storage yard. I'm also thinking of pushing the station further into the layout so that there's more scope at the front of the layout for some sidings and some scenery. As it stands there would be virtually no room for scenery at all.

I'll draft another track plan and see if I can achieve something closer to what I've said above and has a bit more operational interest. I'll post the track plan online as soon as I draw one up.

OK, I've now come up with another track plan. It's still a track plan that gives a "feel" for what I would like to achieve rather than be a track plan that is likely to be implemented. For one thing, there's still no storage sidings/fiddle yard. The next track plan will have some sort of storage sidings/fiddle yard added to give more of a feel for what the track plan is likely to be.

Anyway, enough waffling. Here's the latest track plan:-

XTrkCad generated Track Plan 2 thumbnail

OK, finished another track plan. This time I've made allowances for a /storage siding fiddle yard - though the track layout for it is probably complete tosh! I was rather pleased with myself until I looked at it in more detail. Then I realised that, if it were based on Sheerness as I intended it to be, I've got the entrance to the MPD, the container facility and the car loading facility all going counter to traffic! Still, it's an excuse to have another go.

Anyway, here it is:-

XTrkCad generated Track Plan 3 thumbnail

I then had another go at the track plan, with some reworking done to the container terminal and car loading facility and some headshunts added. It isn't finished as I've decided to go about the layout differently with it, hopefully, going in the loft and, therefore, being a bigger layout. I've added it here to give you an idea of the direction I was heading:-

XTrkCad generated Track Plan 4 thumbnail

Please note, though, that the track plan images on each of these pages has been rotated through 90 degrees to make allowances for visitors to this site who have screen resolutions of 800x600 so that they are not greeted with any horizontal scroll bars. The images can be downloaded and viewed in an image program such as Paint or IrfanView where they can be rotated to the correct rotation. Simply "right click" on any image, select "Save As", save the image and then load it into your image viewing program. There you can view, rotate or manipulate the image in whichever manner you see fit.

The track plan for this project has a sub-forum at the site's forum dedicated to it. I've added a link below should you be interested.


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Page last updated: 24th May 2007

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