I designed the track plan for my Wyoming Division of the CB&Q using CadRail 7.11. It's a double deck plan, with a five-loop helix connecting the levels. Below are overall diagrams of the two levels. They're rather complicated looking, so on the "LINES" page I've broken the plan down.  I've also included 12" gridlines in the overall diagrams to give a perspective of the size of this monstrosity. Those don't show up in some of the breakdown diagrams because they tend to obscure too much.

These diagrams will be updated with more complete versions in the future, as I refine the design and add more details to the plan. The lower level plan and overall scenic pictures are slightly out-of-date now - Cody has moved to the left side of the helix, and Lander has been added to the plan in the spot where Cody is shown. Other track diagrams on the site have been updated with this new configuration (I just wanted to get the site updated, so I didn't take the time to re-create these views yet. I will for the next update).

Here's the LOWER LEVEL:

Here's the UPPER LEVEL:

The big orange four-track oval near the bottom left of each diagram is, as you might guess, the four-track "helix" between levels. The magenta (purplish) lines are approximate benchwork outlines. The light grayish/blue gridlines are spaced at 12" intervals.

All that visible and hidden track looks like a bowl of spaghetti, so I put together a general scenicked representation of the railroad with only visible track showing, so I would have an idea of how things would actually look. 

Here's the LOWER LEVEL:

And the UPPER:

The Wind River Canyon will sport scenery that reaches up near the ceiling, which is why there isn't a second level to that peninsula.

"Lines" takes you to a page that breaks the plan into the various lines represented on the railroad, and they in turn will lead you to specific locations on the layout. It's kind of the doorway to the more in-depth modeling parts of the site.

Where appropriate and available, descriptions and photos of the real-life locations are provided, along with photos of the model (or of the blank floor if the model hasn't started).

If you'd like to see something of the evolution of my modeling concept, plus some photos of previous layouts and their track plans (including the one that this plan grew directly from), take a look at the Old Track Plans page. If you'd like to see a much larger version of the scenic renderings for both levels, without the slight blurriness inherent in the reduced-size versions above, click here. Beware - this page will take a few minutes to load on a dial-up connection - there are two large pictures, each of which is over half a megabyte in size.



As I said above, this plan was developed, in its entirety, using CadRail 7.11 & 8.01. Without it, defining this many levels of track and determining grades, while maintaining clearances wherever tracks are nested one over the other, would have made developing this plan much more arduous. 

There are certainly flashier products on the market for track design, but from what I have seen only CadRail provided the serious design power needed for this layout. Years ago I tried using Abracadata's "Design Your Own Railroad," and quickly gave up on it because of its lack of sophisticated tools, and its "Gee, look what I can do" approach. 

The interface design philosophy is very important, as the interface in may ways dictates the approach the designer must use. CadRail's no-nonsense, engineering design style interface works very well for me, because it matches the approach of the mainstream CAD packages, such as the one I use at work, CATIA. For what it's designed to do, CadRail performs its job admirably. It provides all the tools required to design a layout as complex as the one I've designed here.

What CadRail is not big on (intentionally, as I understand) is the "glitz." Pretty 3-D pictures are great, and they may help one visualize the finished layout to some degree, but in designing the layout, the substance, not the glitz, is what will buy your lunch, so to speak.