In preparation for cutting out roadbed and sub-roadbed, I have been creating the detailed track templates. General track planning software such as AnyRail which I use is good for general planning but does not produce templates for hand laying track. For that, the go-to tool is Templot by Martin Wynne.
Templot is free to use although I bought it when it was a licensed product. It is a powerful specialized CAD program specifically for producing custom trackwork templates according to prototype practice. If all of your turnouts are a standard, regular size then something like a FastTracks jig may be all you need. If, however, you need to produce more challenging track formations such as a yard ladder or a crossover on a curve, Templot can’t be beat.
That’s the good part. Not so good is that Templot, like other serious CAD programs, has a steep learning curve. It takes time to get up to speed which is an additional hurdle if you, like me, only need to produce templates every once in a great while. All of the terminology is based on UK prototype practice which also takes a bit of learning.
That being said, I have blown most of the dust off of my modest Templotting skills and am mostly done the tough bit of the Comstock Road plan. Here is a screenshot of some of the work in progress.
The lower right turnout is not a model railroad-esque right hand turnout with what should be the normal route going through the curved leg, it is a #6 left hand turnout diverging from a right hand transition curve. And incidentally going straight into an asymmetric crossing. Once I had got back up to speed with the Templot interface and watch a couple of subject specific videos, the actual template creating didn’t take that long.
Still to do are:
- spurs out from the crossing
- assorted tweaking of ties such as those overlapping and/or too widely spaced around the crossing
- check turnout motor locations against module boundaries.
Once everything is as good as I can make it, I will print out the whole thing full size on my home laser printer and there will then ensue a lot of trimming margins and taping sheets together. The whole thing then gets used as a template to cut out the Homasote roadbed and off we go.