Creating Parallel Line with Flex Tracks

This article describes how to create a parallel line to already existing track route by use of the flex tracks in SCARM. It utilizes the Parallel Start point feature and requires knowledge for working with the flex tracks in the program.

Creating of parallel track route with flex tracks requires several preconditions in order to work. They are listed below:

1. The curves in the first line should all have radii, bigger than the sum of minimum flex track radius + parallel (center-to-center) track distance for the selected track system. Otherwise the parallel distance when laying inner parallel curves cannot be kept.

2. If the first line is made also from flexes, each flex track there should contain only one section, either straight or curve.

If there are flex tracks with more than one section, you can split these flexes by select them, right click over the point between sections and use “Split” command from the context menu.

3. If there are curved flex tracks laid in their full length in the first line, they may need to be split too. This is required when the flex piece in the parallel line is representing an outer curve because it will haven’t enough length to join to the next parallel start point.

If this is the case, you can split the flex piece in the first line somewhere in the middle of the curve.

If all the above requirements are met, you can start laying of the parallel flex track route. Before begin, activate the track heights from “View” > “Show Track Heights” command in the menu – the height markers will be needed in order to place Parallel start points next to the joining places in the first line.

In this tutorial, you will be instructed how to lay a parallel route above the single sample railroad line shown below:

If the track system that you use has a parallel crossover (or double level crossing track) as a single piece, you can place it at the left end and use it as a starting point for the parallel line. The same effect can be achieved with two equal turnouts, joined in a crossover and used as a template for the required parallel distance like in the example below:

If there is already placed parallel track at the correct distance, use it as a reference. If there is no such track as in the example, then you should start directly with Parallel Start point feature and a temporary straight piece in order to fix the required parallel track distance.

Read the article Placing Parallel Tracks for more details about using of Parallel start point function.

In this example, I am using Tillig TT-scale (1/120) Advanced track system with default parallel (center-to-center) track distance of 43mm (1.69″). So I will start with placing a Parallel start point (using “Edit” > “Parallel Start point”) above the the left end of the first line with parameters “Distance: 43mm”, “Side: Right” and “Direction: Same” in the Parallel Start point window. When you are laying your parallel line, enter the required parallel distance according to the track system used in your project. The result in the example is shown below:

Now, you can attach a temporary straight track to the parallel start point:

And now you are ready to start laying your parallel flex route. Select the first track in the line and then select the right height marker:

Place parallel start point next to it and adjust the “Side” and “Direction” parameters, so the new parallel start point to be above the line and directed to the temporary straight.

Lay a flex track, starting from that start point and steer it to the temporary straight. The flex-track auto shaping feature will make exact join to the temporary straight.

Select the second track in the first line and then the right height marker as before:

Again, place parallel start point and lay a flex from it to the first track of the parallel route.

The third track in the first line is a straight – just copy/paste it and attach the copied piece to the second curve in the parallel line.

Using parallel start point feature, lay the remaining two curves as before and finally remove the temporary straight from the beginning of the parallel line. When ready, the double line should look like in the picture below:

This is the way for making exact and precise parallel lines with flex tracks. Do them only when you have already finished design of the first line because if you decide to edit it and make corrections, the second (parallel) line in most cases will require to be removed completely and then laid again.

See also
How to work with flex-tracks
Placing Parallel Tracks

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