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Can anyone recommend some usable O gauge layout design software that will run on the Macintosh OS? I need to design an 8' x 12' layout that will allow simultaneously running at least 3 or 4 trains. Am I asking too much? Thanks in advance for any help or advice!
 

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Well, I own RailModeller for Mac at the moment on my 2009 27" iMac. It is a decent program that features most scales (from Z to G, I use it for their O-Gauge offerings that features Super O, Lionel Tubular, Lionel O-27, and Lionel FasTrack). They also feature MTH's RealTrax, Atlas O's 2 & 3-Rail track, and others). It's not overly complicated, its easy to use once you get the basics down, and is helpful in my planning. PS: To adjust the size of your layout, go to the Preferences tab and you will be able to adjust the size of your workspace to whatever size you wish.

You can find it on the link below. It works for me, and hopefully it will work for you as well.

http://www.railmodeller.com/Downloads.html
 

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I tried a couple OS X MAC programs but they were difficult to use so I moved over to the old PC and RR-Tracks.

I had to use an old Windows PC to use the RR-Track design software. While easy to use after you learn it, it left me problems not discovered until I laid track (MTH RealTrax, which I highly DO NOT recommend...more later).

RR-Track did not allow for the RealTrax switch motors and the switch motors would not allow enough clearance to lay adjacent tracks. It did not allow enough distance between adjacent parallel tracks especially in the turns. The version I had did several different track system including Lionel's Fast track. My plan was very concentrated of track with a bunch of tight O-31 curves. In hind sight I would have been better eliminating all the tight O-31 curves and switches but there actually was not any room to make the bench work any bigger (I live on the West coast and we don't have basements).

For sectional track MTH RealTrax is terrible. It has no guide pins for the outside rails and section to section rail alignment can be off and cause problems. I am told Lionel FastTrack has alignment pins. The RealTrax switches are terrible. I had to rework them to get them to operate correctly in the area of the points meeting the outside rails and making the auto-switching to avoid derailments work at all. While the track plan was able to be made by the software, the look of the trains going through two section was far from correct as the train had to immediately move in unnatural looking ways. I took out several feet of FastTrack and replaced it with Atlas Flex track. I had to shim up the Atlas track but I did that with a couple of bridges to make it all look right. The final straw recently revealed is that several of my engines have electrical problem going through some of the RealTrax switches as the switch shorts out as the trains pickups go owner the points of the switch. The engines that have these problem are MTH engines rated for O-31 curves and switches. One engine will not go over an O-42 switch because of this same incompatibility of pickups and switch points. The guard rails on the switches are two sloppy and the frog of the switch is not guided through without a bump.

I used the Atlas Flex track for two short sections and I liked it but of course you have to have a cork base and glued on ballast for it to look right. Over my bridges that was not a requirement.

If there is anything to take out of my comments it is don't use RealTrax, don't use O-31 curves or switches, when entering and leaving sweeping turns start with larger radius curves to get a better looking flow of the track (or use flex track with smooth transitioning curves you make yourself), and make the layout size as big as possible to avoid tight turns.

We all live and learn and I sure did. Next time...........

LDBennett
 
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