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A Simple Way to Allow Custom Turnout Design

Started by alex16384, January 29, 2015, 10:37:27 pm

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Here I will revisit my idea for a very simple method of designing your own turnout geometry using an idea I presented about a year and a half ago, namely having a dimensionless turnout which would connect to two tracks on one side and one on the other.

At the time I presented it, it did occur to me that such an piece of "track" (I use the term loosely since being dimensionless, i.e. having no length, it's really just a special connector) would be difficult to move around into position, and I hoped that David in his wisdom would find a way to do it. Alas, it was not to be, which in retrospect does not surprise me.

However, an idea came to me how this may be done without having to directly deal with using such a specialized piece of track. Instead I propose having the option of connecting two pieces of track (presumably flex to get the desired geometry) with the point ends of the main and diverging paths exactly at the same x,y,x coordinates and at the same angle. (This can be done by typing in the coordinates of the end of each piece after selecting the end connector of each one. You can do it anywhere; we just need the ends of the two pieces to be at the same coordinates. Then the resulting turnout can be copied and pasted any number of times and moved into its final place.)

Interestingly, if you do this now, then right-click on the track ends and select the "Connect" option (see top row of images), it will make a connection between the two pieces of track even though their angles are 180 degrees off. ???

So what I propose is adding the option "Connect as Turnout" (see bottom row of images) to the right-click menu (and wherever else on the ribbon would be appropriate), which would then create the dimensionless turnout connector and automatically connect the two pieces of track to it, and make a connection point available to connect to another piece of track leading into the point end. (Look closely at the bottom right-most image, there's both a closed connection and an open connection.)

If you were to then right-click and select "Disconnect" (or select the connection and click "Disconnect" on the ribbon) it will disconnect all pieces of track and automatically delete the dimensionless turnout connector. This way the designer never has to deal with it, and no one has to come up with a way to maneuver it around.

If you want to make a symmetrical multi-way turnout as you might find on docks to load ships, you can just put additional pieces of track into position and select the "Connect as Turnout" option again, and things can stack up. For a double slip, do it at each of the four exit points, and you can design anything you want, even a curved double slip.

This simple method will eliminate the need to simply lay pieces of track on top of each other to represent a custom turnout, which can be problematic when one is accidentally moved without the other, and will hopefully also allow trains to move along both paths if you want to export your layout design to TrainPlayer, for instance. It would give AnyRail a lot more flexibility as well, making it a truly general purpose layout planning tool.

Obviously what I really want is a way to define my own turnouts and make my own libraries, but I can well understand David's reluctance to do so. So how about something like this instead for those of us crazy enough to shun pre-made turnouts and design and lay our own track? Some of you may point out that FastTracks is exactly what I'm talking about, and I'd agree if I was modeling American prototype, but I'm modeling German prototype (the turnout type indicates rail type 49, 190 meter radius diverging track, frog ratio 7.5).

So, David, please? :D


Hello. I've not posted on this forum for about 2.5-3 years but here I am!

I made a thread RWS Trackplans and the main layout discussed I'm still tweaking.  It is in P4 and so your custom turnout idea I would REALLY like, it would be very very very essential to me as curreny I'm bodging an area by laying flext on top of flexi to look like a turnout.  Surprised no one replied to your idea.

Another idea for David:  In the P4 Exactoscale library, how about adding a C&L Finescale and Timber Tracks point kit library for designes not covered by Exactoscale?   I know many probably use Templot for P4 but I find it hard to fathom and I love Anyrail.

About V5, I'm still using V4 because V5 makes my computor run like treacle for some reason and visually I prefer the sleeper effect on V4, all the files say they are V5 though so as long as it works.

I'm scared of using V5 because of the slowdown and if I download V6 will I need to buy another key?

Unless the P4 section has more added for me I still think V4 is the best.
Also, is it still possible to download V4 here should anything bad happen?
Any thoughts?  :)


@Knuckles: We are currently working with C&L to add their various track systems. P4 will be the first.
But not in V4, only in V5.

The sleeper effect is also availabe in V5. V5 should not be slower than V4. If it is, please send me the track plan that has this effect!

You can always install V5 and see if it works. V4 will not be removed from your system.
And just in case, the old version 4 is still available for download:

@Alex: I understand your description, but apart from the track, some more info is required to make a switch work in the program and in the export to Trainplayer.
Perhaps there will be a track designer in the future, but it's not on our to do list. I'm sorry.

David Hoogvorst. Founder and Owner of DRail Software. Creator of AnyRail.


Thanks, David, for your response. I can well understand that there may be some data structure issues that stand in the way of doing something like this in the way I've described, and I appreciate your taking the time to at least give me an answer.

My bottom line wish is for AR to be a truly flexible rail design program, and not just because it's the easiest to use and most economical that I've ever encountered. I was just looking for a very simple way to give AR the flexibility I'd like without having to do a lot of programming for a feature that would probably not be heavily used. I still hope that some day this will be possible.

Having said that, perhaps this could be done with a library that has just a few generic elements (flex, turnout, 3-way turnout, crossing, single slip, double slip (both with points inside or outside the diamond) ) where the elements can be given a length or curve along one path and a length or curve along the other path(s) just like we would now with flex track, or just drag the control points around to get what you want. It would be more difficult to program, but would come a lot closer to what I (and I'm sure many others) would like, and would then have the required info to make it all work and be exported. Once a turnout is defined like we would a piece of flex, it could be copied, pasted and flipped as much as we'd like.

Mike from CT

Let me add my two cents, if I may.....

I'd like to be able to modify library trackage - shorten crossings or the parts of switches outside the points and frogs.

It's not critical, but there are times it would have been helpful...

Just a something for "some day...."

C.R. Wagus

Mike is right on, this would reflect how we actually construct a layout.  Some of the track objects available from the manufacturers do not line up with various track spacing, track trees/ladders, etc.