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Frequently Asked Questions
Thinking about a custom track plan? Here are some answers to questions you may have. Feel free to use the contact form for additional information.
How much does it cost?
Cost is based on overall size, scale, number of decks, and minimum mainline radius. The formula accounts for the difference in complexity per square foot between scales and gauges. Plans typically range from $600-2500. There is a 25% surcharge for the use of sectional track (KATO Unitrack, GarGraves sectional track, etc.)
What do I get?
The modeler gets a totally custom plan similar to those found in the Gallery on this site, supplied in .jpg, .pdf, .dwg, or .dxf format. In addition to the full plan, a technical version showing curve centerpoints is supplied. All plans include curve radii, turnout sizes, elevations, grades, key structures, and suggested scenic treatments. Plans do NOT include material or track lists, 3D views, benchwork designs, or hard-copy prints.
How long does it take?
Plans are completed in the order deposits are received. There is typically a 3-6 month backlog. Once planning begins, most plans require 6-8 weeks.
What software do you use?
Plans are developed in a 2D CAD environment using a package called MacDraft Professional. It is a capable and reasonable CAD program but is not specifically made for model railroad design. It can export in .dwg and .dxf formats that are readable by some other software.
Can you work with sectional track?
Yes, however use of sectional track (KATO Unitrak, GarGraves track, etc.) is more constraining and requires more time. Therefore, there is a 25% surcharge for the use of sectional track.
I already built my benchwork. Can you do a design?
Yes, although designing to preexisting benchwork imposes severe limitations on what can be planned.
Can I get expedited service?
No, we do not offer expedited service. Plans are completed in the order deposits are received.
How do I transfer your plan to full-size for building?
Most clients use the plan as a guide to lay out track centerlines using rulers and trammel bars. Some have had plans blown up to full size and printed on large-format printers, but this can be very expensive. At least one client was able to use a .dxf file to drive a computer-controlled saw to cut out roadbed. Printouts are not included in the contract price.
What's the next step?
Submit basic information or an inquiry via the contact form at the bottom of each page. Once you accept a quote, a contract will be prepared. Upon signing, a 50% deposit is requested to hold your place in the queue. You are encouraged to supply additional information including detailed space drawings, prototype data (articles, track maps, photographs), and descriptions of your preferences.
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