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A new site for Templot2 is under construction. Click New Templot Companion.

Until it is finished, please be sure to refer to both sites.


revised 3-Nov-2004

What  is  a  Template ?

In Templot the word "template" has the same meaning as in established model railway track building practice. A template is a design for a single item of trackwork such as a turnout (sometimes called a "point") or a length of plain track.

When printed full-size on good quality paper for use in actual track construction, it is known as a construction template, and the production of these is the primary purpose of this Templot computer program.

More complex formations are created by linking together several such templates. For example, a crossover is formed by linking two turnout templates back-to-back. Complete track plans are created as a collection of several discrete templates.

This meaning of "template" differs from its meaning in many other drawing and CAD applications. In Templot a template is the intended final output, not simply a drawing aid.


There are four types of template in Templot:

1. the control template.

2. unused stored templates.

3. background stored templates.

4. stored library templates.


1. the control template :

There is only ever one control template. It appears in the foreground on the trackpad screen and is the object of all the design changes and adjustments which you make. When you set a new curving radius, for example, or change the V-crossing angle, it is the control template which changes.

You can imagine the control template as being drawn on a loose sheet of clear film, and the trackpad screen as your baseboard.

The template containing a B-6 turnout which you see on the trackpad at startup is the starting condition for the control template; it is waiting there for you to make the changes to it which are needed to suit your track plan. If you have just started Templot, one of the first changes which you are likely to want to make is to set your required gauge and scale by clicking an item on the gauge menu.

The control template can only be changed. There is always a control template in existence because it represents the current output from the template generator engine. It can never be removed or deleted. It can however be temporarily hidden (press the ENTER key or the HOME key on the keyboard ) so as not to obstruct your view of the background, on which you may be developing a complete track plan design.

When you want to print out a single construction template, you will normally print it as the control template (output > print the control template menu item or F11).

If you are using trim and fit methods with printed paper templates directly on the baseboard, you will probably do all your work with the control template. Many users will be content to use Templot this way. It can be great fun printing, trimming and fitting full-size templates, and you are sure to gain interested onlookers as your layout plan takes shape.

Remember to give each template a name and store it (see below), so that you can print it again later if needed. Be prepared to use up plenty of paper! If this is a problem the templates can be printed at a reduced size. Discarded paper templates need not be wasted, young children love to cut and glue them, and colour them in.

Designing your track plan entails making frequent changes to the control template, often on a trial-and-error basis. You can quickly revert to a previous control template by repeatedly selecting the do > undo changes menu item or CTRL-U.

There are 80 slots in the undo register, which works cyclically so that pressing CTRL-U 81 times reverts to the most recent change, and so on round the cycle again. If you go back too far, you can cycle forward round the register to re-trace your steps by selecting the do > re-do changes menu item or CTRL-D.

The undo register is intended for use after making inadvertent or unsuccessful changes, and can only go back so far. When you know in advance that you will want to revert to the current settings, but are not yet ready to store the template (see below), you can temporarily park a copy of the control template in a parking bay.

Select the do > parking bay > park current menu items; there are three bays and you can have three different parked templates at any one time, one in each bay. They will remain there undisturbed until you select the do > parking bay > retrieve menu items, or park another one in their place.

You can retrieve the same parked template as often as you wish, which is very useful when experimenting. A template retrieved in error can be cancelled using undo changes, as above.

For some further notes about the meaning of control template, see also utterly baffled.


2. stored templates :

When by adjusting the control template you have achieved a template design which you want to keep, either as part of a complete track plan, or simply for future reference and printouts, you can store a copy of it in your storage box.

Simply storing it (program > store as unused menu item) does not make any visible change on the trackpad, you have merely made a record of the existing condition of the control template.

What you have stored in the box is a copy of the control template, not the control template itself which remains unchanged on the trackpad to be further adjusted, or re-used elsewhere in you track plan.

If you look in the storage box (program > open storage box menu item or CTRL-B), you will see that this template is shown numbered in blue, meaning that this template is unused. In other words, it does not currently appear on the screen trackpad, or in a printed track plan.

All stored templates have a name for identification. Click the rename... button on the storage box to set the name of your choice for this template. This makes it much easier to find required templates later.


3. background templates :

When designing a track plan on-screen, you do so on the background, in other words your design is built up "behind" the control template.

Planning a complete track layout on-screen gives you much more flexibility to try different designs than trim and fit methods. But it is also a more demanding process, and it is recommended that you first become familiar with all the functions for working with the control template.

A template which has been stored in your storage box can be copied to the background so that it appears on the trackpad and in printed track plans. It then becomes a background template and is numbered in the storage box in red. Often you will want to store a template and immediately have a copy of it on the background, and you can do this in one go by clicking the program > store & background menu item, or by pressing the INSERT key.

Templates on the background normally appear in different colours from the control template, which is always drawn over the top of them (unless it has been hidden).

 store & background automatically hides the control template, so that you can see the new background template behind it. Press the HOME to see it again. This option can be changed in the options > on store & copy from trackpad menu items on the storage box window. 

If a template is no longer required on the background it can be wiped, and it then becomes an unused template again. Stored templates can be copied to the background and wiped as many times as you wish. In this way you can try several different designs, and "mix and match" between them. A template cannot appear on the background unless it is in the storage box, but you can in addition have many more unused templates in the box.

All the background templates and unused templates are included in the file when you save all your templates in a .box file.

To print the complete track plan design click the (output > print background templates menu item or CTRL-F11 keys.

Stored templates can be copied back to become the control template again for reworking, and you can choose whether this causes them to remain on the background, or be wiped, or be deleted completely from the storage box. When a template is on the background, you can click anywhere on it to show a pop-up menu on the left of the screen giving these and several other options.

For more information about using your storage box to store and save templates, click the what? button on the storage box, or click here.


 A note about UK track terminology.

A turnout is frequently called a "point" by modellers, but not by railwaymen who refer to points (always plural) meaning only the movable switch blades which are, of course, pointed.

A turnout comprises a set of points and a V-crossing linked together. A set of points is also known as a switch.

(Because it is the points (blade tips) which are connected to the signal box, terms such as point-lever, point-motor, point-rodding, etc., are however entirely sensible.)

Templot does not use the term "points" to avoid confusion. In Templot a turnout  is comprised of a switch and a V-crossing, and the point blades are called switch blades.

A V-crossing comprises the vee and a pair of wing rails (an assembly which is sometimes called the frog) and a pair of check rails.

A vee is comprised of a vee point rail (in the main road), and a vee splice rail (in the turnout road).

The outer main rails of a switch or turnout are called stock rails. The inner rails linking the switch blades to the wing rails are called closure rails or closer rails or filler rails.

The position at which the wing rails come closest together is called the knuckle.


more notes here soon

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page revised  © 22-Sep-2005