Below you will find a list of the versions of the program and the respective innovations.
The list is in descending order, i.e. the most recent version is at the top of the list.
Version 3.3 :
- Integration of parallel track automation, i.e. fully automatic creation of parallel track running to existing track sections.
Both fixed tracks and flexible tracks can be present in the master track.
The parallel track automation of Railroad-Professional
not only calculates parallel flex tracks, 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 replace them with suitably shaped flex tracks at your request!
- Support of different units of measure 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 whether a decimal fraction representation (eg '1.25')
or a rational fraction representation (eg '1 1/4') is desired.
- Defined element positioning: Elements can be moved to a specific position or by a specific offset by entering specific coordinates.
Likewise, drawings can be deformed in a defined way, in that their handles can now be moved to any position or by any offset via the
positioning dialog in addition to moving them with the mouse.
- The moving of elements in the track plan is now additionally possible
using the arrow keys of the keyboard. The step size can be refined by simultaneously pressing the 'Shift' or 'Ctrl' key.
- Railroad-Professional remembers the last two hotspots clicked on in the track plan
and can mark them in the track plan if desired. In addition, the coordinates of the last hotspot are permanently displayed in the menu bar.
This makes it quite convenient to track the change of position of a previously clicked point, e.g. when moving elements.
- The libraries of Railroad-Professional are now multilingual (before only the program itself was multilingual).
- Export of the track plan in various image formats has been thoroughly revised
- You can now choose whether you want to export the entire track plan or only the section visible on the screen,
only selected elements, or only the section of the track plan that is located within the mouse frame that was last stretched.
- Extended design possibilities of the scale grid and scale labeling.
- The image size can be selected automatically depending on the area to be exported, in addition to the manual selection.
- The borders around the image content can be specified additively or inclusively with respect to the image size.
- The image quality (or compression factor) for JPEG images can now be set.
- In general, the picture quality has been greatly improved.
- Bugfixes. The following bugs have been fixed:
- If the rotation line was hidden, its handle was still sensitive to mouse clicks.
- If an empty track plan was added to a track plan containing elements, this caused a crash in further work.
Fortunately, this situation almost never occurred, since empty track plans are usually not merged.
- If the length of a flex track was changed in the track editor, this was not transferred to the library,
so that the track remained unchanged.
- If a circle or an ellipse was drawn at a location far away from the coordinate origin during large zooming
(dimension smaller than 1:1.25), the program could exit with the error message "Not enough memory" or "OutOfMemoryException".
- When rotating elements using the keyboard (left/right arrow while pressing the mouse button),
fixed elements were erroneously rotated as well.
Fix: Rotating fixed elements is still possible if the Alt key is held down at the same time.
- When printing the statistics/list of bill, the set paper format was ignored (DIN-A4 was always used).
- In rare cases it could happen on some computers that an error message was displayed when starting the program.
This could be clicked away without any damage and the program ran properly afterwards, but the error message could be irritating.
Version 3.1 :
- The element selection for picking elements (tracks / accessories) from libraries
has been completely revised. All elements of a library are now arranged as icons (thumbnails) in a kind of matrix
which can be configured in many different ways. The new icon matrix offers an improved overview of all available elements
and a much more comfortable access to each element. In addition, this icon matrix displays a history
of the last picked elements on request. The former classical arrangement of elements in combo boxes
(one combo box per category) is still available. The user can choose between the two display modes
by simply switching between them.
- Settings for visibility and transparency of the layers can be stored in so-called Display Sets,
which are saved with the track plan. This allows fast switching between different, recurring views.
The user can create and manage any number of such display sets. They can be provided with (meaningful) names.
When merging track plans, the display sets are overtaken and assigned to the existing layers.
- Up to now, the display scale could be adjusted continuously from 1:100 to 1:1. This range has now been extended
to 1:1000 to 1:0.1. This means that the track plan or individual components in it can now be made smaller or larger
by a factor of 10 than before. For one thing this allows for even more detailed work, for another also for
huge landscape garden railways the representation of the entire track plan within the visible field of view.
In addition, a scale can now be selected in which the distance between two
fine grid lines corresponds to a distance of exactly 1 mm in reality.
- Drawings of the type line/polyline and spline can be continued at their end points later.
A corresponding context menu entry is available for this purpose.
- Drawings of the type line/polylines and splines can be connected to each other at their end points
so that a single, coherent polyline or spline is created from individual polylines or splines.
A corresponding context menu entry is available for this purpose.
- Drawings can be converted to splines of the same shape with one mouse click
(except for text-, image and measurement line elements). A corresponding context menu entry is available for this purpose.
The resulting design possibilities are almost inexhaustible, such as round or over pointed corners,
concave or convex geometric figures, speech bubbles, etc.
- Drawings of the type line/polyline and spline, as well as flexible tracks and segments can be cut
at the clicked drag point or at any click point. By previously converting a drawing to a spline (see previous bullet point),
this is also possible with circles and ellipses.
- If a further drag point is inserted in lines/polylines, splines or flex tracks, it will be inserted exactly on the line,
even if the mouse is clicked next to the line. This avoids changes in shape when inserting another drag point.
- Now splines can be drawn continuously. The subsequent editing is of course still possible.
- If you close a Bezier spline via the context menu, the course is now smoother and more intuitive.
In the previous version, this could easily result in "overshoots" or "overshoots crossings".
- Flexible tracks/segments can be merged into a single flexible track/segment at their joined ends.
- If a flex track is to be assigned a specific shape via a dialog, the current shape of the flex track is analyzed
when the dialog is called and if it can be represented as a basic geometric shape (e.g. an arc),
the corresponding parameters are automatically entered in the input fields of the dialog.
Thus, a previously set shape is immediately read out when the dialog is called up again.
- When loading a track plan, the scale and position are automatically restored as they were when the track diagram was saved.
- Two new menu items now allow to save all track and accessory libraries with one click,
that habe been changed in the main program, i.e. it is no longer necessary to do this for each of the changed libraries individually.
- Dynamic soft scrolling: Depending on the distance of the mouse pointer from the edge of the track plan area,
the track plan is now scrolled at different speeds. This allows better control over the scrolling and prevents the
"speeding away" of the track plan (also known from other Windows programs).
- For fixed elements no drag points are shown anymore, because drag points are only needed for editing and such editing
is not desired for fixed elements. Therefore the display of drag points for fixed elements is only "ballast".
Furthermore, the "seam pattern" is only displayed for a position-fixed mainelement.
It is no longer displayed for supplementary elements, since it is also unnecessary there.
Both new features contribute to substantially clearer track plan representations without affecting functionality.
- The handling for the creation of new drawings, especially when aborting by Esc or right mouse button,
has been standardized across the different element types.
- If a text element is inserted into the track diagram, the editor for entering the text opens automatically.
An additional call is therefore no longer necessary, which speeds up the workflow.
- Gradients are given in per mille instead of percent throughout the program.
This applies in particular to the grade calculator. Per mille are more natural than percent in the environment of railways.
- Railroad-Professional now also handles modern, high-resolution monitors (e.g. 4k). The display is scaled accordingly.
- Railroad-Professional now also takes into account the size setting for text, apps and other elements in Windows 10.
- The dialog for the program settings has been completely redesigned.
Thematically related settings are now located on separate tab cards.
- For the definition of lengths and radii (e.g. for flexible tracks or for specifications in the track editor),
the maximum value has been increased from 9999.99 mm to 99000.00 mm. This extension was primarily made with regard to
large track gauges (track 1 and track 0).
- The presentation of the grid scale now allows even more design options.
- Printing and image export have been improved. Especially texts are now automatically scaled
so that the result is as close as possible to the screen display.
- The standard library path can be set by the user. This should be especially interesting for users of a network drive,
since libraries can now be centrally placed on a network server and can be used by different clients.
- Bugfixes. The following bugs have been fixed:
- If an arc of a circle with a negative angle was specified for flexible tracks via the 'Define Shape' dialog,
it could happen under certain conditions that the flexible track changed its position in the track plan.
- In some situations it could happen that flex tracks were very difficult to select with the mouse
because they were only sensitive in an extremely narrow area around the center line.
- If all but two of the handles were removed from Cardinal splines and the resulting line was then extremely reduced in size
(to one point in the borderline case), it could happen that the program hung up.
- If the rotation line (= the handle with which selected tracks can be grabbed with the mouse and rotated as desired)
was made so small that it no longer had any extension, an error message could occur.
- If the text box of a measuring line was double-clicked, the dialog for editing the text was displayed,
although the text of a measuring line must not be editable, since it is determined by the length of the measuring line.
- If a track was transferred from the plan to a library (e.g., after supplementary elements were added to the track),
then the global settings for "Track Ends" were inadvertently included.
- If one of the toolbar buttons was double-clicked, the corresponding function was also invoked twice.
This was especially fatal when loading track plans or loading libraries in the library manager,
as it caused the program to hang.
- Some minor / cosmetic bugs.
Version 3.0 :
- Several accessory libraries with accessories from well-known manufacturers, as well as general symbols are available from version 3.0.
- To improve the overview of all available component libraries (both tracks and accessories),
a Library Selection Dialog has been introduced.
There are now all available libraries clearly sorted by gauge and manufacturer etc.
The choice which libraries you want to work with can be made by simply clicking (ticking) them.
Railroad-Professional can automatically compile all available libraries that it finds
in various file directory trees (search directories). This is the perfect synthesis of both worlds:
on one hand, offering libraries in loadable files that the user can create/extend himself,
combined on the other hand with a clear compilation of all available libraries for a comfortable selection.
- Railroad-Professional now has a library automatic: a loaded track plan can be examined
to find out which track systems and accessories have been used. On request Railroad-Professional
loads all missing libraries automatically.
- Elements or entire track plan parts can be mirrored (flipped). In doing so, Railroad-Professional
optionally looks for suitable mirrored counterparts in the libraries and inserts them into the track plan
(e.g. the mirror-symmetrical right-hand turnout of a track system for the left-hand turnout).
If desired, Railroad-Professional can also automatically generate mirrored elements if none of them are available
in the libraries or can make a suitable rotation instead of mirroring. Mirror images and mirror texts can be created or
avoided as desired. The mirroring can also be called up in the Library Manager to automatically generate the mirror-symmetrical
partner for self-created elements (tracks, accessories).
- The rotation of elements is now also possible with the help of the mouse and a so-called rotation line
and additionaly via a Rotation Dialog. As soon as elements are selected in the track plan,
a line appears with a drag point. If the drag point is moved with the mouse, all selected elements rotate accordingly.
The Rotation Dialog allows you to rotate selected elements by specifying an absolute or a relative rotation angle.
Of course, you can still rotate elements by an adjustable step size using the keyboard, as was the case in earlier versions of the program.
- If elements hide each other, they can now not only be shifted to the foreground or completely into the background. In addition,
a stepwise positioning is now possible with one concealing element to the front or the back. Thus, the arrangement in height of individual elements
has become much easier.
- Creating polylines and polygons has been improved and simplified. You now build a line in a natural way,
i.e. by using the mouse to move off the desired line and clicking on the "kinks" with the mouse. When you're done,
right-click or tap 'Esc' on the keyboard. The situation is now similar when creating polygons: you simply draw them from edge to edge.
- Polylines and splines can now be provided with various end caps at the line ends.
This creates a large pallet of new design options for symbols and graphic additions.
- With the help of the new shape templates, ground plates and other structural elements and geometric shapes can now be created
simply by specifying their dimensions. This is not only easy and fast, but above all accurate,
because the dimensions are guaranteed.
- The new drawing element type measure line now makes it easy to insert dimensions into your track plan.
Simply drag the line from the start to the end of the line to be measured and the corresponding dimension line will be added to the track plan,
along with a label showing the length of the measured distance. If you later change the length of the measure line,
the labeled value will automatically change accordingly. Especially chic: you can format the label as desired,
color it or move it to another location.
- Drawing elements can now be scaled in size by specifying a factor. With this you can, for example,
transfer your self-designed accessories to another model building scale with just a few mouse clicks.
- Track strands, consisting of connected tracks, can now be selected with a single mouse click.
This means that Railroad-Professional is able to search for all tracks connected to a selected track and selecting them automatically.
- Track markings now allow tracks to be provided with additional markings via a simple mouse click.
With predefined markings, you can identify tracks that are located on bridges, dams, in tunnels or shadow stations, etc. in no time at all.
On request, you can vary these markings in their style and color scheme.
- The options for editing a line element (drawings) have been extended by a segment editing mode.
Double-clicking on one of the lines (segments) of the line element highlights the clicked line for editing.
Afterwards the selected line can be moved with the mouse. This also takes into account settings for side parallelism (in the context menu) of the element.
Clicking on a place outside the line will end the line edit mode.
- Elements can now also be dragged and dropped into the track plan by simply dragging and dropping them from their library into the track plan.
The previous method of first selecting library elements by clicking on them and then inserting them in the track plan by clicking again
is still possible and both methods can even be used side by side. Depending on the situation, one or the other approach may be more advantageous.
- Grid snapping (placing only on grid positions) can now be temporarily toggled by holding down
the 'Alt Gr' key. This is especially useful if you generally want to work with or without grid snapping, but temporarily need the opposite
for a single positioning. Instead of the 'Alt Gr' key, you can also hold down the 'Alt' key together with the 'Ctrl' key ('Alt+Ctrl').
- The possibilities to update your old track plans have been extended. On request, you can now replace old library elements (especially tracks)
in your track plan with their respective counterparts from more up-to-date libraries. This eventually results in a "facelifting", for example,
if in newer libraries elements are filigree designed or with additional supplements (e.g. a turnout box, etc.) are included.
- Changing the presentation scale has been extended by one convenient option: By pressing the '+' or '-' buttons, the presentation scale is enlarged or reduced
by one zoom level and by pressing the '0' button, it is moved to the middle level set. In this case, the tip of the mouse pointer is taken as the center
of the enlargement or reduction, unless the mouse pointer is located outside the track plan area - then the size is changed with respect to the center
of the visible track plan area. These new possibilities can be advantageous, for example, if you want to zoom in on the exact location of an element
"just in time".
- To create bills of material and statistics, criteria for grouping items can now be specified. For example, different variants of an article
can be grouped into a common item, or all items used in the track plan can be added up separately by manufacturer, and so on.
- Color settings for fonts, grids and scale numbers, separated for screen and printer, are now possible. Thus, for example, the grid can occur more
subtly in the background or be varied in color, which in particular may be desirable during printing.
- Some options in the program settings have been added and allow Railroad-Professional to suit your needs even more.
So now country-specific or language-related settings are possible (e.g. you can choose whether you prefer to see a comma or a dot as a decimal separator, etc.).
- Railroad-Professional now runs with all .NET versions from 2.0 upwards. This eliminates the annoying unlocking or even installing of a specific .NET version,
as long as only some version as from 2.0 or later is available on your computer (which should be the case on almost all Windows machines in the meantime).
Version 2.5 :
- Improved memory management. The new memory management allows the handling of large files, while at the same time requiring less resources.
This is accompanied by a higher processing speed, especially with extensive track plans.
- Extended possibilities of track presentation. Especially for technical track plans,
various symbols can be selected for marking of track ends and - if desired - the presentation can be reduced to the pure routing.
- Defaults for all element color contexts.
This can be used, for example, to specify that newly inserted elements or tracks in the track plan should automatically be colored
with the color of the layer in which they are located. This makes it immediately obvious whether one has inserted an element or track
in the right or wrong layer. In the program settings you can also select for which elements from which sources these settings should apply.
- Optimized context menu. If a layer has only one color context
(which is usually the case), it is now easier and faster to apply to elements/tracks.
- Optimized positioning menu. The new, context-sensitive structure
and the associated submenu items make it easier and faster to move elements to other layers.
- Automatic update info. You will now be automatically informed whether an update is available for your version
and how you can easily import this.
- If track plans of earlier versions are loaded, which refer to older libraries, these can be automatically converted to the current libraries,
whereby a comfortable dialog is displayed, which offers appropriate choices.
- When unloading libraries, the program now automatically selects the appropriate tab, depending on the type of library.
This simplifies operation and avoids sources of error.
- Accelerated program start. By shifting initialization processes into the background, the program start could be accelerated.
- Bug fixes. The following bugfixes have been made:
- If elements from an accessory library were newly inserted into the track plan, this could not be undone.
- The menu item 'Clear Undo List' was not clickable if only contents in Redo and none in Undo existed.
- Macros were breakable when a track contained within them was touched with the mouse on one of its supplementary elements (e.g., turnout box)
instead of the track body.
- A few more, smaller 'make up' bugfixes.
Version 2.3 / Version 2.4 :
- Support for Windows 10 implemented.
- Possibility for feedback implemented.
- Simplified installation / uninstallation process. In this context, the supplied libraries had to be stored
in a different directory path than before. For more information to this, see chapter Important changes compared to previous versions.
- Support for multi-monitor operation and high-density monitors (from Windows 8) implemented.
- Now images can be included in the track plan. The drawing element types have been extended so that in addition to Line,
Polygon, Circle, Text, etc., there is now also a drawing type called 'Image'. Images can be loaded in the formats
*.bmp, *.gif, *.ico, *.jpg, *.png or *.tif and displayed in the track plan. These can be framed, arbitrarily zoomed, rotated,
their aspect ratio changed (distorted), as well as a background (possibly even patterned) can be faded in, shining through
in transparent areas of the image.
- Track plans can be exported as image files so that they can be included as an image in other programs or documentation, for example.
The image formats *.bmp, *.gif, *.ico, *.jpg, *.png or *.tif are available for this purpose. The size of the image to be created, margins, etc.
can be set in an export dialog.
- Texts can now be displayed with a frame and a background, the latter possibly even patterned.
- An automatic backup function has been integrated. With this, track plans are automatically backed up at regular intervals.
Should a system crash occur, Railroad-Professional can read in the backup copy the next time the program starts.
This increases the work safety. Whether such an automatic backup is desired, as well as the duration of the time intervals,
can be specified via the settings dialog.
- The print options for printing track plans have been extended by new possibilities of the print image.
For example, selected elements can now be displayed unselected in the printout, only a part of the track plan defined by a mouse frame can be output,
path information of the track plan can also be printed out, etc.
- When starting the program, the track plan that was last worked on can now be automatically loaded.
This function can be switched on or off in the settings dialog.
- Elements can now also easily be moved to other layers via their context menu.
- Curved tracks (curves) can be taken from the library in either right or left curvature.
For this purpose, only one option need to be ticked on the 'Tracks' tab. This saves the subsequent turning around in the track plan.
- When the mouse pointer stays over elements, a short info about the element can now be automatically displayed in a small panel.
This function can be switched on or off in the settings dialog. In the case of tracks, it is additionally stated which other track
it is connected to as soon as the mouse pointer is moved over one of the endpoints of the track. The detailed information about each element
is still available via the middle mouse button and more recently via the context menu of the respective element.
- The zooming of the track plan with the help of the mouse wheel has been accelerated, so that depending on the current scale
there is always an "intuitively suitable" speed.
Version 2.1 :
- Flexible tracks are supported. Any track can be switched flexible via the context menu and then be deformed as required using the mouse.
During the deformation, constantly updated data about the track is displayed. It can also be assigned a certain basic shape (e.g. circular arc)
whose parameters can be specified.
- Layers and layer management: Layers at definable heights can be created in the track plan. A Layer Editor allows their administration.
Layers can be assigned colors and patterns that can be automatically inherited by elements in each layer (dynamic color assignment,
as opposed to static color mapping, which is of course also possible). The display of the layers (and all elements in them) can be switched on or off.
In addition, individual layers can also be switched to transparent, as a result of which underlying layers or their elements become transparent.
- In addition to track libraries, accessory libraries are now also available to manage design and decoration materials.
- Any number of libraries can now be loaded in the program at the same time. They can be chosen by a drop down list.
This applies to both track and accessory libraries.
- Playful extension of libraries: Elements can be taken over from the plan in libraries with a few mouse clicks.
This also applies to free drawings, which can be transferred to accessory libraries in this way.
- Free drawings have been extended by splines (= flexible curves) and circular or elliptical parts.
With splines, you can choose between the common types in the CAD world - Cardinal and Bezier. A "flying" change between the two types
is possible at any time, even retrospectively. Splines can be intuitively dragged into any shape with the mouse using the corresponding "drag/control handles".
- Transparency: A transparency value can now also be set for the coloring of all elements. This makes elements translucent
and underlying elements visible. This is also possible for entire layers, so that all elements of the relevant layer become translucent
(with a single mouse click).
- Dynamic Coloring: Layers can be assigned (even more) colors and patterns, and elements can be instructed to accept the color(s)
of the layer to which they belong. When these elements are moved to another layer, they automatically change their color by adopting the color of the layer.
- Predefined markers: Predefined mark options for items can be selected via the context menu to mark or highlight them.
This allows elements to be shaded or brightened. On tracks, it is also possible to show side lines next to the tracks (especially well suited for bridge tracks).
- Supplementary elements: Elements can be defined as so-called supplementary elements to another element (the parent or main element).
As a result, several elements can be combined into a single element. In addition it is possible, for example, to complement tracks with drawing elements
in such a way that their accessories are displayed (e.g. the switch box of a turnout, etc.).
- Elements can be fixed to protect them from being moved or changed accidentally. This can even be done separately for supplementary elements
and their main element.
- Extended element info: The information panel, which can be displayed for each element with a middle mouse button, has been greatly expanded.
It now includes both information on the manufacturer, article number, type and name etc. of the element, as well as its position in the track plan,
its dimensions, orientation, color, etc.
- Extended context menus: The right-click context menu for each element has been extended and is now also available for tracks
(and therefore basically for all element types). Addional menu items are offered here, in particular with numerous functions for managing supplementary elements, a
s well as for coloring and marking elements.
- Current editing data: If an element is changed with the mouse (e.g. the size of a square, etc.) then the most important, current data of the element
are constantly displayed next to the mouse cursor. Thus one is informed already during the change of an element about its size, length, extent, etc.
That even applies to splines!
- Current mouse position: The position of the mouse in the plan is always displayed with the accuracy of 1/10 millimeter.
- Z-Position / Height Information: Although Railroad-Professional is still a 2D planner, it nonethless manages height information.
So it is easily possible to arrange elements in a desired height (layering). For this Railroad-Professional provides corresponding functions.
- Precise alignment using grid snapping: If grid snapping is activated (one mouse click is enough), then elements can only be moved or placed
on grid points and their size can only be changed within grid steps. Precise alignment becomes child's play. The distances of the grid points
can be easily set via the display scale.
- Crosshair: Railroad-Professional additionally supports the exact alignment of elements via a switchable crosshair.
You can see immediately whether elements are exactly on the same line or not.
- Shortest path: The shortest connection between two track ends is quickly and easily determined and displayed by Railroad-Professional,
as well as its total length in millimeters.
- Grade Calculator: A grade calculator is integrated for checking slopes/ramps. Thus, the slope (in percent or degree) can be quickly determined
for each route or the necessary slope or height can be calculated conversely to a given route.
- Extended selection options: The already extensive selection options have been enhanced with the option to select precisely those tracks
that are involved in transitions between different layers. This allows layer transitions to be detected in no time at all.
- Named macro and clipboard entries: Macros and clipboard entries can now be assigned names. This makes them easier to distinguish from each other.
- Retooled Library Manager and Track Editor: The Library Manager (formerly called 'Database Manager') and the Track Editor have been retreaded.
In the Library Manager several libraries can be edited at the same time, which allows the exchange of elements between the individual libraries.
In addition, accessory libraries can be created and their headings can be specified. The Track Editor now also allows the specification of a sleeper offset
at the beginning and end of a track, for tracks whose sleepers begin irregularly. In addition, the appearance of the track being processed has been improved.
It now allows you to fade in all accessories that belong to the track, including any supplementary elements.
- Extended statistics: Statistics now also collects accessories and lists them separately from tracks.
- Dragging: The entire workspace (the whole plan, so to speak) can now be moved with the right mouse button as you like,
which is much easier than using the scrollbars. Of course, the latter still works.
Older versions before 2.1 are not listed here.