updated 11:50 am EDT, Thu April 26, 2007
Mac model train software
TrainPlayer Software has released Mac versions of its TrainPlayer and TrackLayer software for model railroader enthusiasts. Users can operate virtual trains on hundreds of prepared track plans, including all of the "101 Track Plans for Model Railroaders" contained in the classic layout book by Linn Wescott. The TrackLayer module enables enthusiasts to draw and operate custom plans in Mac OS X, simulating operating of a model railroad. Each track plan comes with a layer of electronic track, a modifiable assortment of trains, and a control panel resembling an old-fashioned power pack. Four versions are available which include TrainPlayer ($30 with 10 Westcott layouts), TrackLayer ($50 with TrainPlayer and 10 layouts), TrainPlayer Deluxe ($60 with all 101 layouts), and TrackLayer Deluxe ($80 with TrainPlayer and all 101 layouts). All software versions require Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Users select a train and drive it via the control panel, manipulating graduated speed control along with realistic coupling and uncoupling, as well as one-click switch throw and "yard mode" for controlling speed or direction with a single dial. Users can zoom to cover a small area while automatically following the train around the layout, and can operate multiple trains at once.
TrackLayer is an add-on module for drawing track, curves, switches, and turntables. Users typically start with a track plan scanned from a drawing or magazine or prepared in another program, then trace over the track lines using TrackLayer tools. The software is optimized for ease of use and rapid drawing of straight track and circular curves, according to TrainPlayer, with switches created automatically when track segments join. Users can create an operating turntable via a single drag, and those without a plan image can sketch as well as test track plan ideas on a blank page.