Best 6 Atlas Track Planning Alternatives – Take Your Model Railroad Design to the Next Level!

Whether you’re a seasoned model railroad enthusiast or just starting out, having the right track planning software can greatly enhance your design process. Atlas Track Planning is a popular choice among hobbyists, offering a range of features to create detailed layouts. However, there is a wide array of alternatives available that offer unique features and benefits. In this blog post, we will explore the top 6 alternatives to Atlas Track Planning and help you find the perfect software to take your model railroad design to the next level.

What can Atlas Track Planning Do?

Before we dive into the alternatives, let’s take a closer look at what Atlas Track Planning can do. This software is designed specifically for model railroad enthusiasts and offers a host of features to bring your layout ideas to life. Here are some key functionalities offered by Atlas Track Planning:

1. Track Planning Tools: Atlas Track Planning provides a comprehensive set of tools to easily create and modify track layouts. You can design multi-level layouts, add curves, turnouts, and customize track elements to suit your needs.

2. 3D Visualization: With the 3D visualization feature, you can view your layout from different angles and get a realistic sense of how it will look. This helps in identifying any design issues or optimizing the placement of track elements.

3. Inventory Management: Atlas Track Planning allows you to keep track of your inventory, including track pieces, trains, and accessories. This makes it easier to plan and manage your layout within the constraints of available resources.

4. Wiring Diagrams: Wiring is an essential aspect of any model railroad layout. Atlas Track Planning enables you to create detailed wiring diagrams, ensuring smooth operation and minimizing potential issues.

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Top 6 Alternatives to Atlas Track Planning Recommendation

1. XTrackCAD

XTrackCAD is a free and open-source track planning software that offers a plethora of features for designing model railroad layouts. It supports a wide range of scales and allows you to create complex layouts with ease. XTrackCAD has an intuitive interface, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced users. One of its standout features is the excellent library of track elements, including a variety of brands and types. Additionally, XTrackCAD offers customizable grid options and the ability to export layouts to other formats.

Pros:
– Free and open-source software.
– Extensive library of track elements.
– User-friendly interface.
– Customizable grid options.

Cons:
– Limited 3D visualization capabilities.

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2. AnyRail

AnyRail is a versatile track planning software that supports various scales and offers a range of tools to create detailed layouts. It features a user-friendly interface and allows you to easily design multi-level layouts, add landscaping elements, and simulate train operations. AnyRail also provides excellent integration with popular model railroad brands, ensuring that you can find the right track elements for your layout. The software offers 3D visualization capabilities, allowing you to get a realistic view of your design.

Pros:
– User-friendly interface.
– Extensive integration with popular brands.
– 3D visualization capabilities.
– Simulation of train operations.

Cons:
– Not available for free, but offers a free trial with limited features.

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3. SCARM

SCARM (Simple Computer Aided Railway Modeller) is a popular choice among model railroad enthusiasts for its ease-of-use and powerful features. It offers a wide range of track libraries, including Atlas, Peco, and many others. SCARM allows you to create complex layouts with multiple levels, bridges, and tunnels. The software provides a realistic 3D rendering of your design, helping you visualize and fine-tune your layout. SCARM also features a useful autosave function and supports exporting layouts to various file formats.

Pros:
– Intuitive and user-friendly interface.
– Wide range of track libraries.
– Excellent 3D rendering capabilities.
– Autosave function.

Cons:
– Limited support for train and accessory inventory management.

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4. TrainController

TrainController is a professional-grade software that offers advanced features for model railroad design and operation. It features a highly realistic simulation engine that allows you to control multiple trains simultaneously on your layout. TrainController provides sophisticated control options, including automated train routes, signal systems, and block detection. The software also includes a comprehensive library of track elements and allows for customizations to suit your specific needs.

Pros:
– Advanced simulation and control capabilities.
– Extensive library of track elements.
– Customizable options for fine-tuning control.
– Supports automation and signal systems.

Cons:
– Higher learning curve compared to other options.
– Relatively higher price point.

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5. WinTrack

WinTrack is a feature-rich software that offers powerful tools for designing model railroad layouts. It provides an extensive library of track sections, turnouts, and accessories from various manufacturers. WinTrack allows you to create complex layouts with multiple levels and offers intuitive tools for adding landscaping elements. The software also includes a comprehensive wiring editor, allowing you to easily plan and manage your layout’s electrical system.

Pros:
– Extensive library of track elements.
– Intuitive tools for adding landscaping elements.
– Detailed wiring editor for easy electrical planning.
– Compatible with various track brands.

Cons:
– Limited 3D visualization capabilities.
– Higher price point.

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6. RailModeller Pro

RailModeller Pro is a macOS-exclusive track planning software that offers a wide range of features for designing model railroad layouts. It provides an extensive library of track elements, including popular brands like Atlas, Peco, and Märklin. RailModeller Pro offers an easy-to-use interface and allows you to create realistic 2D and 3D layouts. The software also includes helpful features like collision detection, flexible track element modification, and integrated stock management.

Pros:
– Rich library of track elements.
– Intuitive interface.
– Realistic 2D and 3D layouts.
– Collision detection and flexible track element modification.

Cons:
– Exclusive to macOS users.
– Relatively higher price point.

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Comprehensive Comparison of Each Software

SoftwareFree TrialPriceEase-of-UseValue for Money
XTrackCADYesFreeMediumHigh
AnyRailYesStarts at $59HighHigh
SCARMYesFree (Lite version), Starts at $39 (Full version)MediumHigh
TrainControllerYes (Limited features)Starts at €289HighHigh
WinTrackNo€149HighMedium
RailModeller ProYes$39.99 (one-time purchase)HighHigh

Our Thoughts on Atlas Track Planning

Atlas Track Planning is a solid software that provides many useful features for model railroad enthusiasts. Its track planning tools, 3D visualization capabilities, and inventory management options make it a reliable choice for creating detailed layouts. However, if you are looking for more specialized features, such as advanced automation or realistic train operation simulations, some of the alternatives mentioned above might better suit your needs. It’s essential to consider your specific requirements, budget, and level of expertise when choosing the right software for your model railroad design.

FAQs about Atlas Track Planning

Q1: Can I import my existing track plans into Atlas Track Planning?

A: No, Atlas Track Planning does not support importing existing track plans. You would need to recreate your layout manually within the software.

Q2: Is Atlas Track Planning available for macOS?

A: No, Atlas Track Planning is currently only available for Windows operating systems.

Q3: Can I create 3D models of buildings or scenery in Atlas Track Planning?

A: No, Atlas Track Planning focuses primarily on track planning and does not include features for creating detailed 3D models. You may need to use additional software or external resources for that purpose.

Q4: Is Atlas Track Planning suitable for beginners?

A: Yes, Atlas Track Planning offers a user-friendly interface and intuitive tools, making it accessible for beginners in the hobby of model railroad design.

Q5: Can I share my layouts created in Atlas Track Planning with others?

A: Yes, Atlas Track Planning allows you to export your layouts in various file formats, making it easy to share your designs with others.

In Conclusion

Choosing the right track planning software is crucial for bringing your model railroad layouts to life. While Atlas Track Planning is a popular choice, it’s always beneficial to explore alternative options that may better suit your specific needs. The six software recommendations mentioned in this blog post offer a range of unique features, from extensive track libraries to realistic simulations and automation capabilities. Consider each software’s pros and cons, pricing, ease-of-use, and value for money before making your final decision. Happy track planning!