Though model railway layout planners were initiated for working purposes by the architects, it has now reached out to many people of different ages in many ways.
Railway modeling itself has turned into a hobby of many nowadays. It involves reducing the scale of any railway system.
The size of the model layout can vary. It’s up to you if you want to have a small-scale layout that fits your working table’s surface area, or you are open to building up one covering your entire room, basement, or even building.
You can have track layouts or station layouts or maybe both. In the present day, making a railway layout just like your dream model has become much easier with the help of many incredible websites and software.
Here are some of the best model railway planners and model train databases that will help you build your own model railway layout.
RailModeller Pro is programmed with lots of great features that will ensure to give you a wonderful experience.
Initially, you will find access to more than 250 libraries that feature over 6500 different elements, including the track layout of many popular railway models. These libraries also offer accessories with adjustable scales like houses, trees, signals, stations, etc. You can organize them in different layers. Labeling the layers with specific colors is optional.
You will get an assistant option providing advanced functionalities. You can add flex tracks or parallel tracks or create dozens of tracks with a helix in few clicks this way. This app also allows you to build up complex 3D models. This feature can give you the feeling of real railway models.
You will also find a shopping list that will keep track of your overall costs for the layouts you want to add. You can take your printouts in your required scale for drafts for your model railway system.
You will be provided with stock management and baseboards, indicating the general layout you want to build.
Commonly used shapes, e.g., L or U shapes and rectangles or even customized shapes, can be displayed very quickly with this feature. You are also free to browse other layouts from the user community to discuss or improve your design.
The more you use it, the more you will discover how comforting the features are for quick uses. The handy features right next to the tool button, and the auto-adapting canvas for the drawing will make it easier to work with just a few clicks.
FreeTrackPlans offer around 400 designs for model railway layout plans, including small branch line railway stations and cement terminals in large cities.
They have Layout Plans for different designs and sizes, Hornby Plans for top manufacturers’ layouts of Britain, and Prototype Plans to find real-life designs.
You will see that most of the designs are of HO/OO gauge. Some of them also are mixed with flex-tracks where others have curves from the first radius, not suitable for all stock. On the plus point, you can develop the system using different types of tracks provided there. The layout plans are designed by using a model train track software, AnyRail. You can find the used files on the download page to adjust them to your requirements.
This site aims to help those willing to create their model railway offering simple and complex railway models. Most of the inspirational plans are designed based on prototype locations replicating all the details possible. The accuracy may vary, but you will recognize the specific place the moment you see them.
SCARM – Simple Computer Aided Railway Modeller
You can build up the railway layout of your dreams without delay just by installing this model railway track planning software on your computer. SCARM lets you go for an infinite number of tracks and elements from over 200 libraries and make a 3D design with only one click.
The site has many attractive features that definitely make it a winner. The total area that is virtually presented will allow you to create complex 3D layouts. You can mix your tracks with flexible ones. Placing tunnels or bridges is an additional fun feature!
You can draw your SCARM plans and place other accessories like trees, houses, or industries on the planning with measured distances that are accurate to your layout scales.
The main train track software also functions with various extensions and simulators to amplify your comfort.
XTrackCAD is a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) program that’s also used to create awesome model railway plans. This program allows you to design railway layouts in a wide range of scales. You can also use various types of gauges or use the predefined libraries that include many well-known turnout brands to make your job easy.
If you want to make your customized railway layout and turn it into your favorite place, XTrackCAD plans might be the right choice for the job. You can use an actual prototype and modify it wherever you wish to.
Extend tracks or add parallel ones, explore your creativity, have fun using your keyboard, or click your mouse. You can print out your designs and use them as templates when they are on a 1:1 scale.
Have fun learning different XTrackCAD plans and live your dream building your dream railway layout.
Templot is a train track software for Windows, but you can also get it to run on Apple Mac and Linux. It is suitable for replicating existing models and generating templates for your personalized railway tracks, crossovers, turnouts, etc.
You can work with any gauge you want on an infinite number of radius and transition curves. Templot assures a vast range of templates that you will find an accurate scale as the full-sized railway in practice. You can build your prototypes in narrow or standard gauges with both bullhead and flatbottom tracks.
‘After you have programmed what template pleases you best, you can click the print button for individual prints or link them together and print out the complete railway layout.
This way, you can mix different types of gauge formations and play with your creativity. The best feature that Templot provides is that you plan your works on different long curves as you know that the finished product will come in trackwork, all placed together just the way you planned it to be.
Also, while designing small layouts, you can be sure to get the exact turns and curves of your tracks with perfectly proportionate lengths. You can reduce the total scale of your final design or amplify as you require.
You can even draw or sketch your template and scan it for correcting the details.
It really doesn’t matter which one of the above model train planners you use, so long as your end result, the actual layout brings you joy!
So free-build, or plan meticulously before you start, it’s totally up to you!
Peter has been building model trains for longer than he can remember. An avid fan of HO and O scale this blog is a creative outlet to allow him to dive further into other scales and aspects of the model train community and hobby.