Sometimes, when you are trying to represent a layout, seen in a model trains related book or magazine, it just won’t fit in SCARM as described in the book’s picture or magazine’s article. Why is this happening? Is it possible the track plan to be wrong? Or SCARM does not drawing the tracks accurately? Probably none of these, but let’s see what to do if this is the case.
As an example, take a look at the following real layout and its track plan below:
This layout is called “Rhenshagen” (TT scale 1:120; 1600mm x 800mm) and is originating from an old “BTTB Gleisplane” book. After rebuilding in SCARM, using BTTB tracks lib, it looks like this:
As you can see, even with the BTTB tracks, which geometry is precise and straightforward, there are two places where SCARM is unable to join the tracks.
The #1 is a small gap. However, there are 4 more straight tracks and a turnout on the left side of the opening, so in the real world, this gap can be compensated by little stretching of the tracks, because their joiners are about 5mm (0.2″) long each and will insensibly allow this without impair the quality of the railroad line.
The #2 is displacement between the curved track and turnout. Again, it is not a problem, because both tracks are close together, with correct directions and there are a lot of curved tracks above, which have enough natural flexibility to allow correct join to be obtained in the real world.
But what to do when the gaps and/or displacements are bigger than showed in the example? Well, you can rely on the following rules:
1. If there are enough track sections, which are able to compensate the gap or displacement with little stretching or natural flexibility, you will be able to make the join.
|Regular straight and curved track pieces (even those with built-in roadbed) have some little flexibility, mostly at joining places. To check this, connect several long straights together and then try to bend them a little, holding both ends of the joined section – you will see that they are really bending, but not as much as real flex-track. However, this is not always valid for turnouts, because they are joined at least on 3 places and are more stable by design.|
2. If the gap on a straight route is bigger than the length of a half joiner or if the directions of displaced tracks are visually not the same, you will probably not able to make the join without “forcing” the tracks.
|You can experiment by disconnecting of the problematic part of the route in SCARM at some place and connect it to the point of the gap/displacement and see how it will look on the other side. You can also try to use different track pieces or flex-tracks instead to cope with a potential problem in the real world.|
In general, most of the track plans that are published in books or magazines (especially old ones) are initially assembled with real tracks and then are transferred to paper drawings. Because of this, it is common that some of these plans will not able to be exactly reproduced in SCARM or any other CAD software, but this is not a problem and should not be a cause for concern. If you like the original plan, but want to change it, start with the parts, which you want to keep and continue with the changes. Try to avoid sectional tracks and use flex-tracks instead (if present in the given track system). Try to keep minimal recommended center-to-center track distance and always take into account placement of track side accessories and hidden parts (such as point motors, wiring, etc.).
|A new setting for user-defined joining tolerances is available in SCARM starting from version 0.9.19. Update your installation if you have not done so and set the necessary tolerances in order to resolve potential joining issues in the track plan.|