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Topic: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders  (Read 493 times)

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Offline TrainzLuvr

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I'm sure someone had asked for this already but I'll ask again (and again and again and...)

Could we please have a big flashing red warning when connecting fronts of two turnouts directly to another turnout's through and diverging route ends?

It looks really good in AnyRail, but when you put the plan into the real world, you suddenly realize that throwbars and ties around them will overlap, clash, and fight, fight, fight.

This does not have to be anything fancy, nor does it require any math. If you place a turnout and then connect a turnout each on the through and diverging route of that first turnout, the screen will turn blood red and lock your computer...or simply all three turnouts will turn red and a message will popup saying that throwbars of the two turnouts that were just added to the end of the first one overlap and cannot fit in this configuration, suggesting one of those two turnouts is offset with a piece of rail 1.5-3" long.

Offline Keesoldscool

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2018, 07:17:03 am »
I can imaging the need for such a facility, but otherwise when you create a new plan, it is handy to have knowledge of the geometry of the tracksystem. I can also imaging that this question doesn't have a high priority for the developer. But I agree, it would be handy. :)

Offline David

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2018, 10:39:19 am »
The problem with this is that it depends a lot on the track system and the wishes of the modeler.

Some track systems indeed do not allow certain combinations of track elements. For instance, with RocoLine, you can't combine multiple 4mm or 5mm pieces.
For other track systems, certain turnouts cannot be combined, or need some adjustment. Point motors may overlap, but only if the modeler does not use motors that are mounted under the board.

So all in all, it's not so easy to prevent these errors in all cases, and often, modelers will just cut off roadbed or sleepers, because they want that specific track configuration.

As Kees says, it's always a good idea to study the geometry using examples from the manufacturer. We have some of these available on our website as well un der the 'Libraries' tab.



Offline TrainzLuvr

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2018, 06:15:36 am »
That truly beats the point of having a CAD software for layout design then. If I have to study designs from the manufacturer or otherwise use physical methods, I might as well drop the software altogether and go back to butcher paper and pencil directly on the benchwork.

Offline David

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2018, 10:24:37 am »
If you switch on 'Roadbed' and 'Sleepers' on the SHOW tab, it's often clear if things are not going to work, as you will see these overlap.

Offline Bob Bryce

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2018, 02:18:29 pm »
I'm sorry, but I feel I must chime in here, anyone who thinks that ANY type of software, Cad or otherwise, within the price ranges we are dealing with, can totally replace research on and investigation into the compatibility of MODEL railroad components, needs to come back to reality.  This is a model railroad software package that has a free trial version and sells for well under $75.00 for the full version with years of free upgrades, not a CAD program that sells for well over $1000.00 like AutoCad and charges hundreds of dollars every time an upgrade comes out.  This is not CATIA, software for aircraft and submarine design which will do what you are asking for but sells for anywhere between $6,000 to $65,000 per seat, depending on how many features you want. 

Everyone should and needs to do their do diligence to determine if the parts they want to try to use will work in their situation, and, if they will, implement them with the software.  In many cases, the software WILL alert you, but I don't expect or rely on it to cover every condition.

But, you are correct, you can go back to the old way to do it, but you will find that you need to do MUCH more research, trial and error than you will with this software, even with it's very few "weaknesses".
« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 08:48:19 pm by Bob Bryce »

Offline Nick the Nomad

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2018, 09:37:16 pm »
My two bob's/cents' worth.

Peco specifically state that you may have to trim sleepers (preferably on the flexible track) when attaching flex to points/turnouts/switches/crossings (delete where applicable).

In scales larger than N, point motor clearance for under-board mounted Peco motors is not usually a problem; in N you have to be a bit more careful.  In any case, it is blindingly obvious that putting points immediately on both legs of another point is going to cause problems, and sleeper/tie and/or throwbar trimming will be necessary.

And, TrainzLuvr, don't you check what works before you go ahead with a design?  Assuming that your clients tell you what track system they want (you) to use, I'd be spending a few minutes researching that what you are going to use will work, else you will have one very annoyed client.

That's my rant for today!

Nick the Nomad
Geelong, Victoria

Offline Bob Bryce

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2018, 04:31:05 am »
Nothing that you said that I do not agree with, in fact, completely agree with.  I use Atlas flex track with all Peco turnouts and I have had to trim ties in yards to make some of them work.

Also, I am surprised at how many users here say they are designing for clients, which means they are "professionals", and would be having this kind of problem.  Them above all I would assume they know the need to do research into parts compatibility well before designing anything.

I am an amateur (not designing for clients) and I have laid out track that I truly thought had sufficient clearances with other tracks, tested it in Train Player and still found that in real life, I needed more clearance.  I don't argue with the software or complain about it, I just adjust the tracks for it.  If people are doing this work on a professional level, perhaps they should construct a mock-up before delivering it to the client.

The software can't do it all, and one should not expect it to.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 04:32:41 am by Bob Bryce »

Offline TrainzLuvr

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2018, 04:34:03 am »
Sigh.

For god's sake it's 2019, this kind of thinking like it's 1999 leads to stagnation. There's no excuse not to have any imaginable feature, that's why we have machines - to do more computational work for us.

I can't have every single little detail in my head every moment of my waking life. As you age, you can focus on less things as well, and computers should provide assistance no matter what.

Once again we go back in circles talking about bad UI/UX, that I've mentioned time and time again before. Disregarding it in 2019 should be a crime.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 04:38:31 am by TrainzLuvr »

Offline The Track Planner

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2018, 08:52:12 am »
I've read the posts regarding this subject and felt I should probably comment since I'm one of those "professional" mentioned in the posts.
Having designed track plans for a number of years, I would probably be the first to know if my clients are having problems in this area. Frankly, I can't remember the last time a client contacted me with this complaint. I assume, my clients understand this can happen and they figure out work arounds, like moving the throw bar to the other side of the turnout. Which, I’ve done numerous times on my layouts. At least, the client is not having me redesign plans for them. This may have something to do with the minimum standards, I maintain.
Let’s step back for a quick history lesson. In 1959 the NMRA standards for centerline tangent track spacing was 1-25/32”. By 1964 the standard had moved to 1-15/16. Why the increase? I have to assume, everything from rolling stock to motive power was getting larger and longer. Eighty-five (85) foot passenger cars had been around even in 1959, but as a designer, you made sure radii was large enough to handle passengers of that length, which meant you were probably working with larger tangent track clearances as well.
Fast forward to 2019. Today, most clients want to run modern equipment. Meaning the standards of 1959 and 1964 are obviously obsolete. In my business, I go with two standards, regardless of what NMRA suggests. My minimum tangent spacing is 2¼” to 2½” regardless of location. Even in yards, I maintain a minimum of 2¼”. Maybe, by maintaining these minimum clearances, is the reason I don’t get do overs.
With a 2¼” minimum standard, I’m required to add in small sections of straight track off of diverging routes. This could be another reason. Bottomline… by maintaining decent minimum standards, you don’t eliminate the problem, but you can certainly minimize it. I just don’t see this as a major issue.

Offline Nick the Nomad

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2018, 09:48:36 pm »
I would have thought that designing for specific track systems would be a little like driving different cars; you adjust your thinking as soon as you start.  My car has a column auto shift, the vehicle I drive for work has a 5-speed manual shift on the dash (Toyota HiAce Commuter Minibus).  My car has the indicator stalk on the right, European-built cars have it on the left.

Surely it can't be that hard to adjust to different track systems in the same way.  If you are doing designs in many different track systems, maybe make up a chart with the various parameters listed, or a list of "don't forgets".  There isn't an issue for me; I have only ever used Peco since 1969 (when I learned that having a proper layout was better than having my train set on Mum's dining table - she entertained enough that I only ever got a week, sometimes not even that).

I would be interested to learn whether there are any readily-available systems where putting a point immediately on each leg of another point does NOT cause a clearance problem.  And anyway, going back to the original post, my understanding of what a ladder yard is wouldn't cause a problem anyway, because for each point, one leg is straight flex and the other has a point.  In Peco, to get the clearance you need a small bit of flex anyway, otherwise the 1:1 fingers ain't gonna fit.

That's it from me for today, time for other things!

Nick the Nomad
Geelong, Victoria

Offline TrainzLuvr

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2018, 11:51:20 pm »
That's all wonderful from both of you, except that you have spent the last 20-30 years doing model railroad things. I only got back into the hobby two years ago, after 20 years of absence, and just about ready to lay first track down. If I knew back when that I needed a short piece after the diverging rail, I couldn't remember it now.

The assumption was that software is supposed to account for it. After all it's written by an intelligent and bright programmer with a forethought for many things. So, why not think more about usability as well, and make it easier for those who don't have it a second nature and decades of experience behind then?

Offline Nick the Nomad

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2018, 09:14:44 am »
I don't know when I started using software to design layouts, but I guess that I started using AR in 2008, at least that's when I joined this forum.  Before that, I used XtrakCAD, which was quite good, but died for a while (I believe a group of veteran users are keeping it going).

But before THAT, it was butchers paper and pencil, and the simple process of buying some points and messing about on a baseboard to see roughly what worked.  One of the first books I bought in 1969 was "Starting in Scale OO", by the late Cyril Freezer, and published by Peco.  It had a section about the sort of trimming that would be required in the situation we are discussing, so I followed that.

I appreciate that it is not practicable for TrainzLuvr to purchase track for each of his clients' needs, for testing purposes, but it might be worth considering asking the client to supply a couple of samples.

I can see the point of Trainzluvr's request, now that I know more of his circumstances, but such a facility would still require someone to check each brand of track for clearances, UNLESS David simply sets up an optional warning for ANY situation where points are attached to both legs of another point, regardless of manufacturer.

Nick the Nomad
Geelong, Victoria

Offline Keesoldscool

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2018, 04:30:29 pm »
It is also a possibility, if there is a doubt about the geometry, of printing that part 1:1.

Offline Tom Springer

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Re: Turnout clearance warning / overlapping throwbars on compound ladders
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2018, 04:14:36 am »
Been following this thread and I'm still having trouble trying to understand the specific request.  So, at the risk of throwing fuel on the fire ...

First, what is specific to the situation when connecting a turnout to another turnout directly? If one connects a simple piece of straight track to each end of a turnout, i.e., the through and diverging ends, there will be conflicts with the ties (sleepers) needing to be cut to make the attachment work. For years we've had to do this; at least in every case, I know I have. What is now the reason that a turnout to turnout connection is different, and why wouldn't some cutting be required as it is when connecting the turnout to other track items?  Is the objective to alert the user just in this one particular case, or a more general one whenever there is a situation where ties would need to be cut (trimmed)?  If the later, wouldn't this be needed whenever any turnout's 2 exit legs were connected to track pieces?  I've not see a case where tie conflicts don't occur when connecting turnouts.

Or is the key here the mention of "throwbars"?  And this is really about the need for throwbars (which I've never seen on any AnyRail turnout part).

If this is about throwbars (and not about tie conflicts per se, knowing that cutting/trimming ties is a reality needed in many cases/configurations), then ...

Without knowing how much work it would be to have all the turnout parts across AnyRail have throwbars added, I could seen the value of that ... because if one "knows" where throwbars are, then one also knows/has a better understanding of where to position turnout motors that are underneath so that the rod from the motor comes up into the throwbar.

Interestingly enough, if one exports a layout to TrainPlayer, the exported configuration (xml file) describes the turnout in some detail, as straight and curved segments (lines). In looking at the xml file contents for some work I did awhile ago with the TrainPlayer folks, I'd guess that the straight segment from the turnout's throwbar ("entry") end to the points is pretty much the length of the segment leading to the throwbar position from the "entry" end.  If that is in fact the case, i.e., AnyRail today effectively "knows" where the throwbar position "is" (have I got sufficient qualifying words here...) then it "should" be possible, as a first step, for AnyRail to show a dot (or some other indicator) within the turnout where the throwbar occurs. With this step, one would have an idea where to place the rods for turnout motors underneath turnouts.

Then as a second, future step, showing an actual throwbar could follow.  That probably needs a lot more work, because manufacturers may have different physical geometries for their throwbars. But if a "future possibility", then anyone wanting to add above-layout turnout controls or switch stands would know where to place them.

This may not be the answer sought in the request that started this thread, but it may have some benefit to users beyond the original scenario.  And it even may allow better visualization by users of the condition that generated this thread in the first place. Which would be a beginning on that path.  imho.  ymmv.