Model Train Help For Free

In this post I thought I would share with you a couple of cool little gadgets that I found on the web which can help you out with model railroading.

The first is this cool little widget which converts real life measurements and converts them into OO, HO, N, or Z scale. This little tool is from Coalville Models and its ideal if you are planning on scratch building anything from real life and want to get the scale correct.

 

 

The second is XTrackCAD. Basically it’s a design program which is specifically made to design model train layouts. AND IT’S COMPLETELY FREE.

Its main features allow you to:

  • Design layouts in any scale and gauge,
  • Use the predefined libraries for many popular brands of track and turnouts to help you get started easily,
  • Add your own favourite components,
  • Manipulate track much like you would with actual flex-track to modify, extend and join tracks and turnouts,
  • Test your design by running trains, including picking them up and moving them with the mouse.
  • At any point you can print the design in a scale of your choice. When printed in 1:1 scale the printout can be used as a template for laying the track to build your dream layout.
  • Learning XTrackCAD is made easy with the extensive on-line help and demonstrations.

You can download XTrackCAD and read all about it here.

I’ll be honest with you, XTrackCAD is an excellent bit of kit, but it does take a bit of practise. Admittedly that does depend on how good you are with computers; it took me a few days and some trial runs before I had the hang of using it, whereas my son just started picked it up straight away.

Hope you find those useful in building your dream model railroad.

And of course you can always find discounted model train stuff here.

If anybody has any experience with XTrackCAD, or if you know of any other resources like the ones I’ve mentioned, then please leave your comments below.

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Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan fell in love with model trains at the age of six when he visited an NMRA Convention in Seattle with his father. Forty two years later, his passion remains just as strong. After achieving a successful career in architecture, Dan’s particular interest is within layouts and buildings. With a wealth of knowledge on the subject, Dan loves nothing more than sharing this with others and is delighted in the forum of members who are brought together over the hobby they have in common. Dan lives with his wife Helen in Washington. As a professional painter, Helen has learnt through Dan about Model Trains and they now enjoy working on projects together. The only member of the family who isn’t allowed to join in is their over-enthusiastic Labrador called William who has been strictly banned from the workshop! You can find Dan on Google here!
About The Author

Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan fell in love with model trains at the age of six when he visited an NMRA Convention in Seattle with his father. Forty two years later, his passion remains just as strong. After achieving a successful career in architecture, Dan’s particular interest is within layouts and buildings. With a wealth of knowledge on the subject, Dan loves nothing more than sharing this with others and is delighted in the forum of members who are brought together over the hobby they have in common. Dan lives with his wife Helen in Washington. As a professional painter, Helen has learnt through Dan about Model Trains and they now enjoy working on projects together. The only member of the family who isn’t allowed to join in is their over-enthusiastic Labrador called William who has been strictly banned from the workshop! You can find Dan on Google here!