How To Make Control Panels and Diagrams for SCARM Track Plans

If you already have a layout design in SCARM that you intend to build, you may need to create also a symbol diagram of the track plan to be used for planning of train operations or as a plate for the control panel of the layout.

While you can use the track plan directly, there is another, better option – to make a clean outline diagram of the tracks with the dedicated Symbols library in SCARM.

To start working with the symbols, you need to select “Symbols” library from the “Objects” sub-menu in track libraries list.

The library consists of square tiles with stylized most kinds of tracks and switches – the most used are shown below.

Using these, you can represent any kind of station or yard and even whole track plans. To place the symbols, just drag and drop them from the selection panel to the drawing plot and attach them together using the joining arrows.

While you can draw the symbol diagram together with the track plan in the same project, it is advisable to save the diagram in a separate blank project file as SCARM cannot show the terrain in 3D when there are symbols on the layout.

Here is one example of track plan with a symbol diagram shown below. The plan is of the sample project from the post Baseboard/Workbench Support Structure For Your SCARM Layout.

And the diagram, drawn by the symbols.

To hide the remaining outer arrows, select each arrow and click on the last button in the selection panel, below the symbol for turntable. As the symbol for hiding of the joining arrows is invisible, there is no icon on the button (it is blank), but it is there, just below the last symbol in the list.

For fast hiding of all remaining outer arrows, just hit space bar after first use of the blank button.

To hide also the tile contours (borders of the symbols), toggle Track separators check box in “Tools” > “Settings” > “2D View” page > “Tracks” group or just press “S” key.

Now your diagram is ready for printing or export to BMP or JPG file formats. You can also add texts and labels to the diagrams using the text entering feature of SCARM as well as figures and objects from other libraries in order to represent control panel’s keys and indicators placeholders, layout signals and other similar items.

See also
Adding Text To Track Plan

21 thoughts on “How To Make Control Panels and Diagrams for SCARM Track Plans

  1. “To hide also the tile contours (borders of the symbols), toggle Track separators check box in “Tools” > “Settings” > “2D View” page > “Tracks” group or just press “S” key.!”
    That doesn’t work for me…

  2. Hello Max,
    Are you using the latest version of SCARM? If no, please update.
    If yes, are the control panel tiles created with older version of SCARM?
    If yes, please, replace the tile symbols with those from the latest version of SCARM and try again.

  3. hello, i’m trying use the symbols to make my layout but cant get them to join at the correct place how can you rotate them to line up correctly thanks , jim

  4. Hello Jim,
    To place the symbols, just drag and drop them from the selection panel to the drawing plot and attach them together using the joining arrows. If you want to re-attach some of the already placed symbols, select it, right click over it and use Move command from context menu.

  5. Is there any way to print off multi elevation track layouts – ie., several layers of track connected by a helix – the software only allows the baseboard to be printed not any higher or lower level track layouts – level by level even? If not – is there any way to export the track layout to a CAD package that will allow such printing – eg AUTOCAD?

  6. Thanks for info on printing layer by layer, however I’m still interested in getting vector (linework info) rather than raster (jpeg sty[e image) output. Is it possible to get something that can then be utilized in a CAD package – DXF out would be brilliant?

  7. You can export the track plan also in EMF vector format and then open it in some vector graphics editor such as CorelDraw. Use File > Export command to do that and select EMF for the file type.

  8. Thanks – managed to get to DXF via *.EMF file export however it seems that track elevation metadata gets lost and the track is only at one level – not 3D.
    I was able to get to DXF by the following route …
    Imported EMF → InkScape → saved as *.SVG; Imported SVG → QCAD → saved as *DXF; Imported into TrueView to check compatibility for AutoCAD.
    I don’t have Corel Draw so don’t know if that route would preserve the 3D data.

  9. Thanks for excellent tips – I have two more questions ..

    (1) Is there a way to set the program to zoom centred on selected object, without having to use the scroll bars all the time to track back across the layout? – this would really be a great time saver. Failing that a zoom window button would be a great help

    (2) Right now in 3D when creating multilevel tracks the default is that track supports are automatically introduced. Is there a way to change the default type? I would like to set the “track supports” as “removed” as the default, so its easier to see what overlays what when trying to arrange overpasses at the correct elevations.

    Thanks in anticipation.

  10. Hello Trevor,

    (1) – No, there is no way for now, but this is useful and I will add this to my To-do list.

    (2) – No way to do that for now, but I may add an option in the settings for that in some of the next versions of SCARM.

  11. Have you made any advances towards 3D export of Metadata – ideally in AutoCAD DXF format (or DWG) that can be read by other packages?

  12. How do I recover the “removed” arrows on the tiles? I’d like to modify my plan, but I’ve already deleted the outer arrows.

  13. The outer arrows are “closed” by invisible “Panel end” elements. To remove these elements do the following:
    1. Use selection rectangle and enclose one of the sides on a given tile with hidden arrows. Note that when you release the mouse, you will not see any selection, but if you do that correctly, the “Panel end” element will be selected in the program’s memory.
    2. Press “Del” key – that will remove the “Panel end” and you will see the arrow in the center of that side.
    Repeat this for all sides on all ties that you want to get back the outer (joining) arrows.

  14. Hi Milen,

    Nice feature! For the invisible blank button to remove outer arrowheads, how about a button icon of a gray arrowhead with a red circle and slash, meaning “no arrowheads”? Also consider a property for dashed font and line colors other than black. The tile concept could also be used for wiring with narrow lines, colors, and right angle turns.

  15. Hi Milen,
    Changing the color of the symbols would be very useful.

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