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Features of Railroad-Professional

If you want to test all features of the track plan software, you can try the track plan program free of charge. Below you will find a list of the main features of Railroad-Professional (see also our general description with pictures).

- For details please click on the respective bulleted item -

Railroad-Professional comes with over 100 libraries with a total of several thousand individual construction elements for different track systems and accessories.
Best of all, you can design your own tracks and accessories using the integrated track editor and built-in drawing functions, and store them in your own libraries.

The intuitive drag-and-drop operation makes designing track plans with Railroad-Professional child's play. The operation is Windows-compliant, with context menus for elements in the track plan, etc. This is pure track planning!

Precise scaling both on the screen and when printing the plans. With the help of a special calibration dialog, Railroad-Professional can be calibrated on screens and printers. Afterwards, the displayed or printed quantities correspond to a fraction of a millimetre with reality (with additional consideration of a steplessly selectable scale within wide limits).

The track plan can be extended and moved as desired by simple dragging with the mouse or by scrollbars. There are practically no size or position limits. In addition, Railroad-Professional features dynamic soft-scrolling: if the mouse cursor is moved over the edge of the track plan field while holding down the mouse button, the plan is automatically scrolled, whereby the scrolling speed depends on the distance of the mouse cursor from the edge of the track plan field.
In connection with the choice of the largest possible scale 1:1000 and the so-called full screen mode, in which the track plan uses the entire screen, an entire track plan area can be displayed on a FullHD monitor, which in reality corresponds to an extension of approx. 500m x 280m, which is very convenient for planning with large tracks. Of course, even larger plans are possible (tens of kilometers), just by scrolling the track plan section.

Any(!) number of logical as well as real layers can be created in the track plan, which are located at definable heights. A graphical layer editor allows their management. Layers can be assigned colors and patterns that can be automatically adopted by elements in the layers (dynamic color assignment, as opposed to static color assignment, which is of course also possible). The display of the layers (and all elements contained therein) can be switched on or off at any time with a single mouse click. Furthermore, layers can be locked to protect their elements from accidental changes and it is possible to make layers transparent, so that underlying layers or their elements become translucent. All this can be done with a single mouse click! See also the example images in our general description.

Display settings concerning visibility and transparency of layers and their elements can be stored in so-called Display-Sets, which are saved together with the plan. In this way, it is possible to switch between different views of the plan with one mouse click.

Railroad-Professional already includes numerous track/accessories libraries of well-known manufacturers. The offer is constantly extended and updated. The libraries can also be downloaded here. So if a library is updated/corrected by us, you only have to download the new library and you don't have to reinstall the whole program! You can also easily share your own libraries with friends.

Railroad-Professional provides a library manager and a graphical track editor. With these you can create and maintain your own track and accessory libraries. In addition, all elements (including free drawings) can be transferred to libraries with just a few mouse clicks. Thus it is playfully possible to create your own element libraries, from which you can easily take your self-created elements.

Any number of libraries can be loaded simultaneously in the program. You can switch between them simply by mouse click. This applies to both track and accessory libraries.

Railroad-Professional has a library automation system: A loaded track plan can be checked for which track systems and accessories were used in it. If desired, Railroad-Professional will automatically load all missing libraries.

Semi-automatic track laying supports you in creating entire track lines and track layouts.

In addition to elements from the libraries, any free drawings and labels can also be drawn into the track plan. This includes lines, arbitrary polygons, rectangles, circles or ellipses (also circle or ellipse parts), as well as flexible curves and surfaces (so-called'splines') and texts. Splines can be selected between the common types in the CAD world - Cardinal and Bezier. A "flying" change between both types is possible at any time, even in retrospect. Splines can be intuitively dragged into any shape using the mouse.
Figures can be closed, opened, expanded or reduced by vertices, as well as scaled as desired. Lines and splines can be continued afterwards, connected at their ends or cut at any point. Under certain conditions, drawings can be converted into splines of the same shape at a later date. Closed drawings can be displayed filled or blank, with or without border. The colours for the border and the filling are freely selectable, for the latter also various patterns. In addition, an adjustable degree of transparency can be set for all colour schemes, which allows translucent elements to be seen, making underlying elements visible.
With arbitrary drawings, e.g. floor plates, frames, other mechanical superstructures or decorative material can be specified in the track plan. There are also form templates available for this, where only the dimensions have to be specified and Railroad-Professional does the rest.
In addition, freely scalable texts can be used to add annotations anywhere.
All drawings and accessories can be scaled to any size by specifying a factor. For example, you can easily convert your own, self-created symbols from one model scale to another and reuse them there.

A readability direction (text orientation) can be specified for all texts in a track plan. This specification includes the directions 'from below', 'from the left', 'from above', 'from the right' and 'any'. Railroad-Professional then ensures that texts are never upside down from the respective viewing direction on the plan, but automatically "flips" them accordingly, except for the setting 'any', where no such automatic "flipping" takes place.

With the aid of a so-called graphic measuring line, dimensional data can be easily inserted into the track plan. Using the mouse, simply draw such a measuring line from the beginning to the end of the distance to be measured and the corresponding dimension line is inserted into the track plan, together with the length of the measured distance. If the length of the measuring line is changed later, the label with the measured value also changes automatically. Particularly chic: the label can be formatted, colored or dragged to another location, but remains connected to the measuring line!

The display of the track plan can be switched to full screen mode so that the track plan fills the entire screen without borders. This allows more clarity for extended planning. The full screen mode can be switched on via function key 'F11' or via a corresponding toolbar button and can be switched off again via 'F11' or 'Esc'.

Rotations of elements and selected element conglomerates are possible around any (mouse) point. You can choose whether you want to perform the rotation using the keyboard or the mouse or a special rotation dialog. Defined rotation angles can be specified on the latter.

Elements or entire track sections can be mirrored. Railroad-Professional optionally searches for matching, mirrored counterparts in the libraries and inserts them into the track plan (e.g. the mirror-symmetrical right switch of a track system to the left switch). If no such elements are available in the libraries and if desired, Railroad-Professional can also generate mirrored elements automatically or make a suitable rotation instead of a mirroring. Mirror images and mirror texts can be either created or avoided. The mirroring can also be used when creating your own elements (tracks, accessories) to have Railroad-Professional automatically generate the mirror-symmetric partner.

An innovative flex-track system in Railroad-Professional allows any track (even rigid tracks from the manufacturer!) to be switched and deformed flexibly with a simple mouse click. This can be used, for example, to simulate the 'pushing' or 'bending' process, which can be used to close smaller gaps that can occur when planning with rigid tracks. It goes without saying that nothing stands in the way of building your own tracks with this procedure, which is unique on the market. See also the example illustrations in our general description. In addition, flexible tracks can be cut or welded together again at any point. The previously given shape is of course retained.

Railroad-Professional supports you in track planning with a fully automatic creation of parallel track runs to already existing track sections. Both fixed and flexible tracks can be present in the existing track. The parallel track automation of Railroad-Professional not only calculates parallel flex track, but is also able to determine the parallel fixed tracks matching the existing fixed tracks. If there are no suitable fixed tracks in the manufacturer's track library, the parallel track automation can also replace the "missing" fixed tracks with suitably shaped flex tracks at your request!

Tracks whose touched ends are approached to a free, dockable end of another track to an adjustable distance dock automatically, i.e. they orient themselves accordingly so that both tracks appear connected. This is also possible with complete track conglomerates that automatically align themselves, including associated drawing elements.

In conjunction with grid snapping, the preceding point becomes a powerful instrument. If grid snapping is activated (one mouse click is sufficient), elements can only be moved or placed on grid points and their size can only be changed in this way. Exact alignment becomes child's play. The distances between the grid points can be easily defined using the display scale. Simply drag with the mouse on the zoom slider (and if you need it exactly: the display scale can also be entered directly as a number - e.g. 1:3.5).

Railroad-Professional constantly informs you about the most recently clicked important points in the track plan (so-called hotspots) by not only displaying their coordinates, but also graphically marking them in the track plan if desired. In this way, you are always aware of the most recently performed operations.

Besides the mandatory selection of individual elements by clicking or enclosing (framing) with the mouse, as well as the function ´select all´, Railroad-Professional also has the possibility to select elements according to certain search criteria, such as brand, type, order number, price (range), etc. It is also possible to select all existing elements in a track plan that are identical to those already selected or to select all tracks connected to certain tracks - so-called connected track strands - with a single mouse click. Last but not least, Railroad-Professional can be instructed to show all intersections between layers by selecting all those tracks that establish a connection between different layers.

Railroad-Professional can create and print comprehensive statistics on the number and price of used elements - separately for tracks and accessories - on request. In conjunction with the selection functions described above, this becomes a powerful feature. Bills of materials or shopping lists are thus conveniently created and the cost framework quickly estimated.
For further processing of the created statistics with other programs, e.g. Excel etc., the statistics can be exported into a text file, whereby various characters can be inserted as column separators in order to adapt the output format to the importing program.

Before printing your track plans, Railroad-Professional shows you a real preview image where you can see in detail how the print result will look like, including the sheet distribution when printing over multiple sheets.

Railroad-Professional supports different units and unit systems (metric and imperial). The representations can be selected separately for different areas in the program. Various units (mm, cm, yard, foot, inch, etc.) are available, as well as decimal fraction representation (e.g. '1.25') or rational fraction representation (e.g. '1 1/4').

The program can be instructed to determine the distance and the inclination angle between two track ends and to determine whether a linear connection is possible at all within the tolerances selected by the user.

The precise alignment of elements is supported by Railroad-Professional not only interactively using the mouse or by directly entering precise coordinates, but also visually via a crosshair that can be displayed or hidden. This allows you to see immediately whether elements are on exactly the same line. In addition, elements can also be moved in small steps using the arrow keys on the keyboard - always to match the selected units and zoom level.

Railroad-Professional provides a ramp computer for checking gradients. This allows the gradient (in percent or degrees) to be determined quickly for each route or, conversely, the necessary gradient or height can be calculated for a given route.

The shortest path between two track ends is quickly and easily determined and displayed by Railroad-Professional, as well as its total length in millimeters.

Permanent indication of the dimensions of the track plan and, if desired, parts of it.

When moving the mouse over the elements in the track plan, a short information about the element can be shown in a small info panel. This function can be switched on or off in the settings dialog. For a track, it is also indicated to which other tracks it is connected as soon as the mouse pointer is moved over one of the end points of the track.
In addition, a click with the middle mouse button on an element shows all information available about this element in tabular form. This includes information on the manufacturer, order number, type and name of the element, etc., as well as its position in the track plan, its dimensions, orientation, colouring, etc.

Most input fields and controls are equipped with tooltips that pop up as soon as the mouse pointer is over them for a while. The notes contained therein provide brief information on the usability / meaning of the respective operating element. This offers - especially in the learning phase - a reminder. If you don't need it (anymore), you can of course disable this feature in the program settings.

Contains a complete documentation of the program, with chapter selection and keyword search. It can be called from within the program or independently. In addition, there is a context-sensitive help that leads to the corresponding entry in the documentation via the F1 key in any situation.

The track plan can be printed out as a whole or in sections over a wide scale range. If the printout exceeds the set paper size, Railroad-Professional distributes the track plan to be printed over several sheets, whereby the user is informed beforehand about the required number of sheets and the sheet assignment is displayed in a kind of print preview. All display options listed below can also be used in printouts.

Railroad-Professional allows you to export the track plan in various image formats. This is extremely useful if you want to exchange information about your track plan with others, e.g. in forums, etc. For this purpose, the entire track plan or any selected elements and sections can be exported with different display options.

The color and pattern selection can be changed at any time, not only for free drawings, but also for elements used from libraries. For example, track sections located in tunnels or on bridges or slopes (ramps, spirals) can be highlighted in colour with just a few mouse clicks, right up to independent colouring of track sections such as rails, sleepers or track bed - if desired even fully automatically depending on the level in which the elements are located!

Railroad-Professional offers some predefined marking options for elements via context menu to mark / highlight them. This allows elements to be shaded or brightened. On tracks, it is also possible to call up predefined markings to mark tracks on bridges, on dams, in tunnels, in staging yards, etc. accordingly. These markings can even be edited / modified individually afterwards.

Especially for technical track plans and construction drawings, various symbols for marking track ends can be selected and - if desired - the display can be reduced to the pure track layout. This greatly facilitates the overview and gives a clear picture of the route.

Images / graphics can be embedded into the track plan from image files. Thus you can decorate your track plan photorealistically or increase the information content with appropriate icons. Or you can unterlay a (historical) map and reproduce the tracks on it. There are no limits to your ideas here. Railroad-Professional processes numerous common image formats such as *.bmp, *.gif, *.ico, *.jpg, *.png or *.tif. Of course, the presentation of the images can be adapted to a large extent. They can be framed, zoomed, rotated, their aspect ratio changed (distorted), mirrored, as well as a background (if necessary even patterned) can be underlayed which shines through at transparent parts of the image. You do not need an external graphics program for this - in Railroad-Professional you can do it all with just a few mouse clicks!

Elements of the loaded libraries are offered in categories and can easily be picked by mouse and positioned and oriented in the track plan. Tracks, for example, are divided into the categories 'Straights', 'Curves', 'Switches', etc. For accessory libraries, the user can define the categories himself.

Several elements / drawings can be combined to a single, new element. One of the elements is the main element, while the others serve as supplementary elements. Since supplementary elements may themselves have additional supplementary elements, a hierarchically structured 'element tree' can be designed in this way - and all this with just a few mouse clicks.

Elements can be fixed to protect them from accidental movement / manipulation.

When editing drawing elements, the most important, current data of the element is constantly displayed next to the mouse cursor. This way you are already informed about the size, length, expansion, etc. of an element while it is being changed. This even applies to splines (bendable elements) !

The most important element functions are easily accessible via context menus for the respective element. This is simple, direct and efficient.

At any time, the mouse position is output with an accuracy of 1/10 millimeter. Exact positioning is therefore always possible.

The track plan is already created during processing in high-resolution graphic quality. Thus elements are already perfectly represented during the construction and with all details. It is also possible to hide or show parts of the presentation, whereby a rather technical representation can also be achieved. For less powerful computers, the graphic quality can also be reduced.

Railroad-Professional supports hardware graphics accelerators and anti-aliasing. This considerably increases the display speed and offers in particular the possibility to activate so-called anti-aliasing for smooth, pixel-free display. In addition, Railroad-Professional supports modern, high-resolution monitors (e.g. 4k) as far as possible, as long as they are also supported by the operating system. Furthermore, it takes into account the settings of Windows 10 regarding "Size settings for text, apps and other elements" and scales its own display accordingly.

Track structures can be defined as (indestructible) macros. This means that recurring track combinations (e.g. a switch and its counterpart) can be used as a single unit. Macros can be resolved at any time. They can be stored in a separate clipboard for macros in any number and can also be labeled and saved in a (loadable) macro file.

In addition to the basic choice between a construction mode and a fixed view mode, track details can also be selected, such as the representation of the track bed, the sleepers, the choice of rail representation as a true-to-scale double rail or schematized centre line, highlighting of the track ends and their docking points, output of the track order number next to each track, etc.
In addition, it is possible to display a millimeter paper as a measure grid, to zoom the display area as desired (continuously using a slider or the mouse wheel or by explicitly specifying the scale) or to center it on a selected area, as well as to hide temporarily unused program elements in order to have more space available for the track plan. All drawing elements (ground plates, decoration material, etc.) and accessories can also be shown and hidden at the push of a button. The same is also possible with the track material.

Any number of elements and element conglomerates can be stored in the program's clipboard and removed again. Cut, copy and paste are mandatory.

Railroad-Professional automatically informs you whether a current update is available and how it can be easily installed. But you will not be forced to updates - Railroad-Professional leaves the decision up to you.