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A  little  Gentle  Geometry

A page about fitting templates together using the peg and notch functions, to build a complete track plan.

And some notes about using transition curves andslewing.

Page revised 28-Mar-01


PEG & NOTCH

The Peg & Notch is not a pub, but Templot's way of linking templates together, and aligning one with another.

When you want to link two templates together as part of a track plan, Templot will line them up for you if you use the fixing peg andpegging notch functions, you don't have to align them by eye on the screen. These functions are extremely flexible and allow you to join almost anything to anything, and to overlay templates.


pad symbols

FIXING  PEG :

Every template has a fixing peg. It normally shows as a red target symbol on the current template, and it can be positioned anywhere within the current template. To set it at one of severalpre-set locations use theadjust > set peg options menu items, or use the corresponding keyboard shortcutsCTRL-0 (zero) toCTRL-9 (0-9 on the main keyboard, not the number pad). To move it along a rail-edge or track centre-line use the adjust > move peg along menu options and then the move peg (CTRL-F8) mouse action.

    PEG  INDICATOR :

Showing in the coloured panel at the top-left of the drawing pad is thepeg indicator in red. This shows the current position of the fixing peg 0 to9 corresponding to the keyboard shortcutsCTRL-0 (zero) toCTRL-9, and also the letters S (meaning that you have Set the peg position directly), M (meaning that the peg has been positioned by Mouse action),F (meaning that the peg position is Free),N (meaning that the peg is on a pre-set position for which there is No keyboard shortcut) orU (meaning that the peg is on your own User-defined pre-set position).

 Clicking the peg indicator quickly toggles the fixing peg to the opposite end of the current template.

If you are drawing a turnout, try running throughCTRL-0 (zero) toCTRL-9 to see all the peg positions. Or select the adjust > set peg options menu items, which include some peg positions for which there is no keyboard shortcut. If you are drawing plain track, only peg positionsCTRL-0 andCTRL-1 are available.

Click peg positions for a full explanation of all the available peg positions.

In addition to its use with the pegging notch (see below), the fixing peg also acts as a lock between the current template and the drawing when making adjustments. You can imagine the current template "pinned" to the background drawing at the fixing peg. The best way to understand this is by experimenting. Try using thecurving (F6)mouse action with the peg in each of the above positions to see the different effects. Then do the same with thesize (F5) and other mouse actions.

It will soon become second nature to check the position of the fixing peg before making an adjustment.

The fixing peg has a third function as a position indicator when using thesnap length andblanking functions ( track > snap lengths menu items ), and the tools > make split > split at peg function.

The fixing peg can be positioned anywhere "within" a template. But because templates are in effect infinitely large, this is not in practice a restriction, and a template's fixing peg can be anywhere on the drawing pad, sometimes well outside the extent of its visible track. This is useful when using thealign over background functions.


Handy Hint (version 0.66 on):

When setting the fixing peg at the toe-point, the deflection-point or the fine-point, repeatedly selecting these settings toggles the peg alignment angle between the main-road and the turnout road. This is useful when superimposing partial templates.

adjust > set peg options > peg on TP menu item (CTRL-2)
adjust > set peg options > peg on DP menu item (CTRL-3)
adjust > set peg options > peg on FP menu item (CTRL-4)


PEGGING  NOTCH :

The pegging notch "belongs" to the drawing pad, not to the templates, and there is only one notch. It normally shows as a small square white box. At startup it is located at the drawing origin position in the bottom-left corner of the drawing pad.

The notch serves as a means of "remembering" the previous location and angle of a template fixing peg, so that the current peg can be aligned with it.

The notch is positioned using the geometry > notch > menu items, most usually thenotch under peg function (see below), which is quickly accessed using theDIVIDE key shortcut (slash key on the number-pad, next to numlock).

You can cycle the notch back through its recent locations using thegeometry > notch > cycle recent notch locations menu item (SHIFT-F7). Sometimes Templot uses the notch itself for some of thetools menu functions, so you might find the notch cycling through unexpected locations.


JOINING  TEMPLATES :

Here are the basics of using the peg and notch functions to join templates in perfect alignment:

The object of the exercise is to link a current template to an existing background template, and then usually to copy the current template to the background.

The fixing peg can only be moved on a current template, so first of all the background template you want to peg onto should be copied to thecurrent template. There are several ways to do this, but the simplest is to click anywhere on it, and then click thecopy to current item on thebackground pop-up menu.

The new current template will then be drawn over the top of the background template which remains underneath. (A clue to its presence is its name label, showing through.)

(Your previous current template will vanish, of course. If you will need it again later you can first park it in a parking bay (control > parking bay > park current menu items), or put it in the storage box, or simply rely on the undo changes roll-back function (CTRL-U) to restore it.)

Now put the fixing peg at the desired joining-on location, either by sliding it along with the move peg mouse action (CTRL-F8 or just press8), or by using the adjust > set peg options menu items (CTRL-0 (zero) toCTRL-9).

 Usually you will want to join templates at their ends, and clicking the peg indicator (see above) quickly toggles the fixing peg between opposite ends of the current template.

Do not make any other changes which would affect the position of this current template on the drawing, otherwise it will no longer match the original background template underneath.

Next move the notch to be "under" the fixing peg. Click thegeometry > notch > notch under peg menu item, or more usually just press theDIVIDE key (slash key on the number-pad, next to numlock). The notch will jump to a position under the red peg, and "remember" the alignment angle.

 If the background template was wiped or deleted on copying to current (its name label is not showing through), you will probably want to store it again now. ( This step is easily forgotten:control > store & background menu item orCTRL-V ).

Now set up the current template to be the one which you want to connect. You can either start with a fresh one (track > quick set... menu item), or retrieve it from the parking bay, or copy one from the storage box, or simply use the undo function to find it, that means repeatedly clicking adjust > undo changes or keep pressingCTRL-U until you find it. (If you go too far click redo changes orCTRL-D to backtrack.)

Now repeat the process of putting its fixing peg at the desired joining location.

Next comes the magic bit. Select the geometry > notch > shift onto notch menu item, or more usually just press theMULTIPLY key (asterisk key on the number-pad).

The current template jumps onto the notch and appears to connect itself to the background template. "Appears to" means that these two templates are actually separate items, they are not "glued" together in any way. They just happen to be lying on the drawing in such a position that they line up with each other.

It is possible that Templot has proved inferior to the human brain and has connected the current template facing the wrong way over the top of the existing background template. This is easily corrected, just press theMULTIPLY key again.

(If you first help Templot by shifting and rotating the current template so that it is in a position somewhere near to the correct location, Templot usually takes the hint and gets it right first time.)

If you now select the tools > examine peg menu item or press theNUMPAD-0 (zero) key Templot will zoom in close on the peg so that you can check that the tracks are perfectly aligned, and pressing it again will zoom back out.

Once the templates are in alignment it is not necessary to retain the peg and notch positions, which can now be used again as required.

You can now copy the joined on current template to the background (control > store & background menu item orCTRL-V), but first you might want to move its peg to the opposite end, and put the notch under, in readiness for the next joining-on operation.

Handy Hints :

If the peg on the initial background template is already in the desired position, it is not necessary to copy it to current simply to set the notch under its peg. Click anywhere on the template, and then click the peg / align tools > notch under background peg item on thebackground pop-up menu.

Further, if you have the current template ready to shift, clicking the notch under peg and shift current menu item does the whole job in one go. (If it is shifted facing the wrong way, follow up by pressing theMULTIPLY key as before.)

Remember that the background templates comprising your track plan are discrete templates which happen to be lying on the drawing in alignment. They are not actually "glued" together in any way. (It is possible to move background templates about as part of a selectedgroup as if they are joined together, using the link group, shift group and rotate group functions. See below for details of the link group and shift group onto notch functions).

More detailed notes will appear here soon. In the meantime there are some additional notes about using the peg and notch functions, and about shifting groups of templates, in theemail Q & A section.


 

JOINING  GROUPS  OF  TEMPLATES :

Often you will want to join groups of background templates as if they were single units. This done by linking a group of templates to the pegging notch:

alert dialog Clicking the peg / align tools > notch under background peg menu item on the pop-up menu for a background template which is a member of a group of templates shows this dialog window. This gives you the option of linking the whole group to the pegging notch.

Activating this function by clicking the blue yes bar means that the selected group of templates will be linked to subsequent movements of the pegging notch. This means for example that subsequently clicking the geometry > notch > notch under peg menu item (or pressing the DIVIDE key) will move not only the notch but also shift the whole group into alignment with the fixing peg on the control template.

  While this link function is in force a warning label appears on the trackpad. This link function can be cancelled by clicking the warning label, or by clicking the group > unlink group from notch menu item, or by deselecting the group: group > group select none menu item (CTRL-Y).

Handy Hints :

A group of one or more templates must be selected before this link function can be activated.

Occasionally Templot may align the group of templates facing the wrong way. This is easily corrected by clicking the group > rotate group 180 degrees menu item (or pressing SHIFT-F6).

  Remember to cancel the linking as soon as you have finished using it to avoid making unexpected changes to the group.

Group moves made this way can be undone by repeatedly clicking the geometry > notch > cycle recent notch locations menu item (SHIFT-F7), provided the linking has not been cancelled. But it is wise to save the group templates in a data file before using this function, in case of errors (save group menu item on the storage box menus).

This function also permits direct pegging between background templates without affecting the control template. To do this click the peg / align tools > notch under background peg pop-up menu item for the background template onto which you wish to peg the whole group (this background template cannot itself be a member of the group).

In conjunction with the geometry > notch > link notch to template at peg function, a whole group of templates can be maintained in alignment with the control template while it is being adjusted by mouse action. For more information please click linked-notch mouse actions.



PRE-SET PEG POSITIONS :

Details of the pre-set peg positions available in theadjust > set peg options > menu are summarised in the table below. Where a keyboard shortcut is available it is usually more convenient to use it, and you will soon learn the common ones.

 All these peg positions are on the track centre-lines, with the exception of peg on FP and peg on TORG. (The peg on user position will usually be on a track centre-line.)

the following
CTRL+NUMBER
shortcuts use
the number
keys on the
main keyboard :
peg positions : details :
CTRL-0
(zero)
reset
peg on
datum
Resets the fixing peg on the datum rail-end position, from which all template dimensions are calculated.

For a turnout template with approach track, the datum position is at the outer end of the approach track.

CTRL-1 peg on
rail-joint
Sets the fixing peg at the toe stock-rail joint for turnouts, or the joint end for plain track.

The stock-rail joint is normally located two plain sleeper spacings in front of the switch toe (blade tips). On some pre-group prototype companies only one sleeper is used, and on others these are wide timbers instead of plain sleepers. (These spacings can be set as part of acustom switch.)

For a turnout template with approach track, the rail-joint position is at the inner end of the approach track.

For a plain track template, the rail-joint position is at the opposite end of the template to the datum position, and all rail lengths and sleeper spacings originate from this end. For more information see the snap length functions.

CTRL-2 peg on TP Sets the fixing peg at the switch Toe-Point (switch blade tips). Repeatedly selecting peg on TP toggles the peg alignment between the main road and the turnout road.
- peg on
end of planing
Sets the fixing peg in the turnout road at the end of the switch blade planing. For semi-curved switches (e.g. REA switches) this position marks the commencement of the switch radius, and is marked across between the rails.

This peg position can be used when creating special-purpose custom switches.

- peg on
switch heel
Sets the fixing peg in the turnout road at the heel of the switch. This position marks the commencement of the turnout radius, and is marked across between the rails.

This peg position can be used with custom switches and for catch points.

(This switch heel position may not correspond to the joints in the switch rails. See also thetrack > snap lengths > turnout > snap to catch points menu item, which does correspond to the joint in the switch stock rails.)

CTRL-3 peg on DP Sets the fixing peg at the Deflection-Point (track centre-line intersection). Repeatedly selecting peg on DP toggles the peg alignment between the main road and the turnout road.
- peg on CESP Sets the fixing peg in the turnout road at the Crossing Entry Straight Point. This position marks the end of the turnout radius, and is marked across between the rails.

This peg position is only available for turnouts withregular or parallel types of V-crossing.

For curved and generic types of V-crossing, usepeg on TCP instead (see below).

CTRL-4 peg on FP Sets the fixing peg at the Fine-Point of a V-crossing (the rail gauge-face intersection point). Repeatedly selecting peg on FP toggles the peg alignment between the main road and the turnout road.

The fine-point is a little way in front of the actual nose of the vee, which is blunted off to a width of 3/4" (scale) on bullhead track.

 Do not confuse this Fine-Point at the gauge-face intersection with the term "frog point". This means the location of the blunt nose of the vee and is also sometimes abbreviated to FP, for example in North America (where the nose is usually blunted to 1/2" width).

- peg on TCP Sets the fixing peg at the Turnout-side Crossing Point. This position is on the turnout road centre-line in line with the fine-point.

For a generic type of V-crossing, this position marks the end of the turnout radius, and is marked across between the rails.

CTRL-5 peg on TXP Sets the fixing peg at the Turnout-side crossover mid-point. This peg position is determined by the current turnout-side adjacent track centre-to-centre dimension (geometry > adjacent centres... menu item).

This peg position is used when forming crossovers between running lines.

CTRL-6 peg on TVJP Sets the fixing peg at the Turnout-side Vee Joint Position (vee splice-rail end).

This is the position normally used when adding further templates to the turnout road. See also the snap length functions.

- peg on TRP Sets the fixing peg at the Turnout-side Return Point. This position is only available for a parallel type of crossing, and is on the turnout road centre-line at the end of the return curve.

This position marks the end of the return curve radius, and is marked across between the rails.

- peg on MCP Sets the fixing peg at the Main-side Crossing Point. This position is on the main road centre-line in line with the fine-point.
CTRL-7 peg on MXP Sets the fixing peg at the Main-side crossover mid-point. This peg position is determined by the current main-side adjacent track centre-to-centre dimension (geometry > adjacent centres... menu item).

This peg position is used to maintain a running clearance over the turnout roads when turnouts are placed back to back in the main road.

CTRL-8 peg on MVJP Sets the fixing peg at the Main-side Vee Joint Position (vee point-rail end).

This is the position normally used when adding further templates to the main road. See also the snap length functions.

- peg on MRP Sets the fixing peg at the Main-side Return Point. This position is only available for a parallel type of crossing, and is on the main road centre-line opposite the end of the return curve.
- peg on
mid-length
Sets the fixing peg at exactly halfway along the overall length of the template. This position is intended mainly for use with plain track on turntable decks.
CTRL-9 peg on length Sets the fixing peg at the end of the template length.

For a turnout, this position may be anywhere within the turnout, according to the current overall length setting (F4 mouse action).

For a turnout template with exit track, thelength position is at the outer end of the exit track.

If the turnout is set to length free, the overall length will be two exit sleepers beyond theCTRL-8MVJP position (see above).

For plain track, this length position is the same as theCTRL-1rail-joint position. See also the snap length functions.

- peg on TORG Sets the fixing peg at the Turnout radius Origin (radial centre). This peg position is only available for straight turnouts having a curved type of crossing.

This peg position is used with theF8rotate mouse action, to swing a template around the radial centre of the turnout road.

- peg on
transition start
Sets the fixing peg at the start of the transition zone. This peg position is only available for templates which include atransition curve.

This peg position is often used with theF6curving mouse action, or when adjusting the transition settings.

It can also be used with the tools > make split > make split at peg function, to divide a transition curve template into separate templates for the 1st radius section and the transition sections.

- peg on
transition length
Sets the fixing peg at the end of the transition zone. This peg position is only available for templates which include atransition curve.

This peg position is often used with theF6curving mouse action, or when adjusting the transition settings.

It can also be used with the tools > make split > make split at peg function, to divide a transition curve template into separate templates for the 2nd radius section and the transition sections.

- peg on
adjacent track TS
Sets the fixing peg at the datum position on the Turnout Side adjacent track centre-line.

This peg position is determined by the current turnout-side adjacent track centre-to-centre dimension (geometry > adjacent centres... menu item).

This peg position is useful when working with double track.

- peg on
adjacent track MS
Sets the fixing peg at the datum position on the Main Side adjacent track centre-line.

This peg position is determined by the current main-side adjacent track centre-to-centre dimension (geometry > adjacent centres... menu item).

This peg position is useful when working with sidings and loops alongside a running line.

- peg on
user position
Sets the fixing peg at your own user-defined pre-set position.

To set this position for subsequent use, move the peg to the required position (CTRL-F8 move peg mouse action) and then click the adjust > set peg options > set user position at peg menu item.


TRANSITION  CURVES   and  EASEMENTS

In a transition curve, the curving radius is progressively changed from the 1st or initial radius to the 2nd or final radius within the length of the transition zone.

Any track preceding the start point of the transition zone will be curved at the 1st radius. Any track beyond the end point of the transition zone will be curved at the 2nd radius.

The 2nd radius can be greater or less than the 1st radius, and the transition zone length can be set to zero if an instant change of radius is desired.

It is possible for one of the radii to be straight, but not both.

If the first radius is positive and the second radiusnegative, or vice versa, an S-curve effect is achieved, as in the first diagram above. For further explanation of the meaning of a negative radius select the geometry > curving data... menu item and read the help notes. Thetrack plan tutorial sequence also includes some notes about negative curving.

An easement is a short transition curve in which one end is straight, commonly used to ease the running of rolling stock from straight track into a curve, and providing a length in which the superelevation can be ramped up to suit the requirements of the curve.

A transition curve is selected by clicking thegeometry > curved ( transition ) > menu items, and there are four options for the initial settings (which can be changed subsequently):

The start and end points for the transition zone section of the curve are indicated by special marks across the track. The transitionstart mark is a large arrow-head symbol pointing into the transition zone, and the transition end mark resembles a set of "goalposts" (see the diagram above).

To move the whole transition zone along the track, select themove transition start mouse action (SHIFT+CTRL-F3 or just press the[ (left square bracket) key).

To lengthen or shorten the transition zone, select the adjust transition length mouse action (SHIFT+CTRL-F4 or just press the] (right square bracket) key)`.

The transition radii are adjusted using the sameadjust curving radius (F6) mouse action as for a fixed radius curve.

To toggle between adjusting the 1st or2nd radius, click the triangle symbol on the mouse action panel. Or select either of the adjust > transition radius options menu items (SHIFT+CTRL-F1 orSHIFT+CTRL-F2), or press the- (minus) or= (equals) keys for 1st or 2nd radius respectively. You can do this while the mouse action is in force.

 These1st or 2nd radius selections also apply to other mouse actions such as theCTRL-F5 swing function. TheBACKSPACE key continues to work normally to repeat a previous mouse action.

To enter the radius and length settings directly, select thegeometry > curving data... menu item while a transition curve is in force, or click the figures showing on the lower line of text in the mouse action panel.

When using the move transition start and adjust transition length mouse actions, there are two options for the way the transition curve is calculated (adjust > transition zone options > menu items).

The radii fixed (normal) option maintains the 1st and 2nd radii constant, and adjusts the transition alignment between them accordingly. The transition fixed (roll-out) option maintains a constant alignment in the transition zone, and adjusts the 1st or 2nd radius accordingly.

This setting reverts to the radii fixed (normal) option whenever a new transition curve is set up.

As for the other mouse actions, the way in which the template responds to transition and overall length adjustments is determined by the position of the fixing peg within it. Normally, before making an adjustment, the fixing peg should be moved to a position where you want the template alignment to remain unchanged.

A frequent need is to slide a template along a transition curve alignment without disturbing the alignment. This is done using thesnake (CTRL-F6) mouse action. Compare the results with the otherwise similarslide (F9) mouse action.

In addition, a transition curve can be combined with a slew to give a virtually unlimited range of alignments. Click for more information about slewing, or see the help notes for thegeometry > slew (nudge) > slewing data... menu item.

When changing from a transition to a fixed-radius template,geometry > curved (fixed radius) menu item (CTRL-F), the new fixed radius will be the radius at the current position of the fixing peg within the transition template.

Bear in mind when using transitions that a long transition curve will significantly extend redraw times because of the amount of calculation needed to draw it. If you are using a slow processor you will want to keep transition zones as short as possible.

A common use for a transition curve is a "do-it-yourself" return curve. There is a tutorial sequence showing how to do this, which includes some additional notes about how to use transition curves.

For more information about the transition mathematics, see the notes for the program > expert > transition maths > custom terms... menu item on the control room window.


SLEWING 

The slewing function shifts a section of the track sideways from its normal position. There is a section between the slewed and unslewed portions called the slewing zone in which the amount of slew (sideways shift) is progressively increased so that the slewed and unslewed portions are joined by a smooth reverse curve.

Slewing is a useful means of nudging the track into an alignment to fit the existing site, but should normally be used for plain track only. A turnout placed in the slewing zone is likely to be distorted and/or difficult to construct, and Templot will be unable to warn you about the minimum radius within it.

A common use for slewing is to increase the space between double-track running lines to make room for a fixed obstruction such as a signal post, or perhaps to accommodate an island platform.

Unlike a transition curve, slewing introduces some distortion into the rail lengths and sleeper spacings. This will be negligible if slewing is used as intended to make small adjustments to the alignment. If you use the slewing functions to generate a sharp S-curve some noticeable distortion is inevitable. It is better to build up such curves with transitions instead whenever possible. The diagram above shows an exaggerated slew to help make things clear.

A slew can be applied to any existing alignment, whether straight, a fixed-radius curve or a transition curve. For simplicity, the diagram above shows a slew in straight track.

Slewing is enabled by clicking the geometry > slew (nudge) > slew using mode menu items, and can be cancelled without losing the current settings by selecting thegeometry > slew (nudge) >cancel slew menu item. The slew settings can be adjusted by the mouse actions only while slewing is in force.

While slewing is in force a reminder notice appears on the drawing pad. This shows in blue normally (as in the diagram above), but will change to yellow if Templot judges the slew to be excessive.

The start and end points for the slewing zone section are indicated by special marks across the track. The slewing start mark is a double arrow-head symbol pointing into the slewing zone, and the slewingend mark is a double-forked symbol (see the diagram above).

To move the whole slewing zone along the track, select themove slewing start mouse action (SHIFT+CTRL-F5 or just press the' (quote) key).

To lengthen or shorten the slewing zone, select the adjust slewing length mouse action (SHIFT+CTRL-F6 or just press the# (hash) key).

To change the amount of slew, select theadjust slew amount mouse action (CTRL-F7 or just press the7 key on the main keyboard).

To enter the slewing data directly, select thegeometry > slew (nudge) > slewing data... menu item, or click the figures showing on the lower line of text in the mouse action panel.

 
There are two slew modes, using different maths for the reverse curve.
  1. Mode 1 makes the centre reverse curve as gentle as possible to avoid buffer-locking problems and is suitable for slews in large radius curves or straight track.

  2. Mode 2 eases the radius at each end of the slewing zone and is therefore more suitable for slews in sharply curving track. But it does this at the expense of a more pronounced reverse curve at the centre of the slewing zone.

For slew mode 2 there is an adjustable slew factor which permits fine tuning of the alignment within the slewing zone by mouse action, click the adjust > mouse actions: current > adjust mode 2 slew factor menu item. (There is no slew factor for slew mode 1.)
 

As for the other mouse actions, the way in which the template responds to the slewing adjustments is determined by the position of thefixing peg within it. Normally, before making an adjustment, the fixing peg should be moved to a position where you want the template alignment to remain unchanged. Please experiment fully with the various settings before finalising a template as there are a number of interesting effects.

A frequent need is to slide a template along a slewed alignment without disturbing the alignment. This is done using theCTRL-F6snake mouse action. Compare the results with the otherwise similarF9slide mouse action.

A common use for slewing is a "do-it-yourself" return curve. There is a tutorial sequence showing how to do this, which includes some additional notes about how to use the slewing functions.

In addition, slewing can be combined with a transition curve to give a virtually unlimited range of alignments. Click for more information about transition curves, or see the help notes for the geometry > curving data... menu item while a transition curve is in force.

 Note that slewing does not change the track radius (except within the slewing zone). The slewed and unslewed sections are of the same radius, and by zooming out you can see the two radial centre marks, one for each section.

 If you want the radius of the slewed section to differ, you can combine a slew with a transition curve. By careful adjustment of the starting points and lengths of the transition curve and slewing zone, it is possible to make the slewed and unslewed sections concentric. (If adjusting a slewed transition curve seems daunting, it may be simpler to contain the slewing zone within its own template, and then combine separate templates for each section in the usual way using the peg and notch functions.)

For more information about the individual slew settings, please click thegeometry > slew (nudge) > slewing data... menu item, and then click the help flag for each setting on the data-entry form.


SNAP  LENGTH functions :

Select the track > snap lengths > menu items.

The length of a template can be snapped to the centre of the nearest sleeper, or extended or reduced by one sleeper at a time.

These functions are mainly for use with plain track, or with turnout templates having approach or exit track.

It is important to understand that (unlike model set-track) the two ends of a straight length of plain track are not usually interchangeable. This is because Templot uses correct prototype rail lengths and sleeper spacings, which do not usually fit exactly within the required template length. The lengths and spacings originate from the joint end which, contrary to expectations, is at the opposite end to the datum end.

When you start with a fresh length of plain track (control > reset to plain track menu item), the datum end is at the left-hand end, and the joint end is at the right-hand end. You can swap these over by selecting thetools > swap current end-for-end menu item. The rail lengths and sleeper spacings will then originate from the left-hand end. For plain track templates the joint end is marked across on the pad (but not on the printed template) for easier identification of the ends.  

It is intended that when joining templates at the datum or outer end (peg positionsCTRL-0 for plain track and approach track,CTRL-9 for exit track) the join should be at the centre of the sleeper, as the rail lengths and sleeper spacings originate from the opposite end. This means that the joining sleeper is actually drawn twice, once on each template, and superimposed. This will not be apparent on the finished print, but is something to bear in mind when using the shove timbers  functions.

When joining plain track templates at the joint end (peg positionCTRL-1), the join is between the sleepers at the actual rail joint, and the rail lengths and sleeper spacings originate from this end.

This also applies when joining turnout templates without approach or exit track (peg positionsCTRL-1,CTRL-6,CTRL-8). If there is no approach trackCTRL-0 andCTRL-1 are the same peg location, but the response to the adjust length  mouse actions differs.

You can quickly swap the peg from end to end by clicking thepeg indicator. If you alternate between doing this and clicking the tools > make mirror on peg menu item (SHIFT-F1), you can quickly build up a long string of linked templates with correct sleeper spacings at the joins. (To maintain correct rail lengths the starting template length should first be set to include an exact half rail length.)


more notes here soon

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page revised  © 22-Sep-2005