Home
Order
Features
Downloads
Photo Gallery
FAQs
Links
Product List
Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

What is WinRail?

Will WinRail work on all types of computer?

But I don't know anything about computers!

What features does WinRail come with?

Do I have to draw in each track section myself?

What if my manufacturer isn't listed? Or what if I make my own track sections?

I want to build a layout on several different levels. Is that possible with WinRail?

What about buildings? I want to make sure I've left enough space for them.

Can I add notes to show which building is which?

Can I design catenary using WinRail? Can WinRail calculate what parts and lengths of wire I will need?

Can I also plan the wiring using WinRail? If so, won't it all get hideously complicated?

Can I print my layout design, so I can use it to help me assemble the layout?

What libraries of commercial railway products are included?

What is the difference between WinRail Standard and WinRail DeLuxe?

Where can I buy WinRail?

I need an answer to a specific difficulty with WinRail

More FAQs: common problems associated with creating layouts using WinRail


What is WinRail?

WinRail is a computer software product for designing and drawing model railway layouts.

Will WinRail work on all types of computer?

WinRail can be used on any Personal Computer running Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, or Windows XP. These are the computers that are readily available in high-street stores and via mail order from a wide variety of sources.  Note that WinRail no longer runs on versions of Windows older than Windows XP.

But I don't know anything about computers!

Don't worry. WinRail is very easy to use and does not require any computer knowledge. Familiarity with the use of a keyboard and mouse is helpful, but even a first-time Windows user should be able to produce results within an hour or two.

What features does WinRail come with?

WinRail provides a very full set of features for covering every aspect of layout design. Track work can be drawn in great detail, with or without roadbeds (or track underlay). Pointwork of all descriptions can be shown, and connections between track units can be easily made and unmade. With the DeLuxe version of WinRail, you can draw custom sections of track yourself, allowing very accurate definition of dimensions, angles and radii. You can even run a "Virtual vehicle" around the track of your layout, to check the clearance required for track-side structures, signals, catenary masts, etc.

Do I have to draw in each track section myself?

No! A large array of commercial track products is built-in to WinRail, including ranges by Peco and Hornby, by European manufacturers such as LGB, Märklin, Fleischmann and Roco, and by various American producers, including Atlas, Lionel and Bachmann. All standard scales and gauges are catered for. Of course, if you want to draw in additional track sections, you can, using the design features included with WinRail DeLuxe. Here's a list of the commercial product ranges included.

What if my manufacturer isn't listed? Or what if I make my own track sections?

You can download more libraries for additional manufacturers from this website. With the DeLuxe version of WinRail, your own custom designs of track can be drawn and saved. The Standard version of WinRail includes the facilities to design, draw and save your own custom designs of structures and buildings, including in 3D.

I want to build a layout on several different levels. Is that possible with WinRail?

Yes. WinRail supports gradients and track and other elements at different altitudes. A layer concept allows viewing and drawing of elements at one or more levels. This effectively takes a horizontal slice through the layout to make a design with objects at different heights more easy to manage.

What about buildings? I want to make sure I've left enough space for them.

Buildings and other structures on the layout can also be drawn. A vast selection of commercial products is already defined, ranging from railway buildings such as stations and engine sheds, to houses and shops, and even fun fair models from the likes of Faller and Vollmer. The user's own scratch-built models can be drawn by means of lines, or, for more complex models, the features in the "Parts Compiler" included in WinRail Standard and Deluxe provide the ability to produce arcs, colour-filled areas, and so on, and to draw structures in 3D.

Can I add notes to show which building is which?

Yes, you can. Descriptive text can be added to the layout at any point, and, for commercial products, the manufacturer's name, part number and item description can optionally be shown. For all this text, there is a wide choice of type sizes, and the use of any font that is available on your PC.

Can I design catenary using WinRail? Can WinRail calculate what parts and lengths of wire I will need?

WinRail has a comprehensive catenary design feature. Masts can be placed and attached to the track, and the "running wires" are automatically calculated and adjusted if masts are moved. Using one of the many libraries of commercial catenary systems, all the correct parts will be determined, including the running wires. Where running wires are not of the exact length produced by the manufacturer, the next length up will be chosen so that it can be cut to the reduced length. Wires can optionally be marked as variable-length to allow for this.

Can I also plan the wiring using WinRail? If so, won't it all get hideously complicated?

WinRail does handle the planning of electrical wiring. Insulated track joints can be marked, and wiring drawn where required. Each piece of wire can be assigned a colour, so that different circuits for lighting, motive power, signals, etc, can be shown. This allows track blocks to be electrically separated. The wiring colours can be given user-defined names, describing their purpose as well as colour. To avoid confusing the layout design, wires can be drawn on a separate layer.

WinRail will also tell you how much wire you need to buy, and of which colours, although you probably should buy more than the estimate to allow for real-world considerations such as negotiating round baseboard supports and routing of cables for neatness.

Can I print my layout design, so I can use it to help me assemble the layout?

WinRail can produce a printed copy of your layout design, in full colour if you have a colour printer. This printout can be scaled anywhere from life-size (over many sheets of paper) to a small scale that will fit on a single piece of standard stationery. Small sections of the layout, or individual pages, can be printed if necessary.

What libraries of commercial railway products are included?

WinRail has a large range of libraries of many model railroad manufacturers' products. We are constantly adding new libraries and updating our existing ones. We also welcome libraries of new product ranges that may be submitted by WinRail users. Click here to see our current list.

What is the difference between WinRail Standard and WinRail DeLuxe?

Both Standard and DeLuxe versions of WinRail contain all the track and structure libraries of the manufacturers listed in our Product List. Also, flexi track is supported in both versions.

WinRail DeLuxe additionally contains the Parts Compiler facility for you to create your own track designs, and to modify or augment the libraries we supply. All of the "source" definitions of all the libraries are also supplied with WinRail DeLuxe, so you can create your own libraries that are variations or subsets of the ones we supply - this can sometimes make it more convenient to use by cutting out a lot of track, for example, that you know you are not going to use.

Where can I buy WinRail?

WinRail is available from the UK distributor, Span Software, or from model shops. The prices are:

WinRail X3 Standard - £49.95 (approx US$80.00)

WinRail X3 DeLuxe - £69.95 (approx US$115.00)

WinRail X3 Super DeLuxe (special price includes WinRail Deluxe plus a special WinRail wagon) - £87.50 (approx US$140.00)

WinRail Wagon H0 Märklin AC version - £19.95 (approx US$32) - [See picture below]

WinRail Wagon H0 two-rail DC version - £19.95 (approx US$32) - [See picture below]

Upgrades from version WinRail 10.0 onwards to WinRail X3 are available - see the online ordering page for prices.

I need an answer to a specific difficulty with WinRail

Please contact us.

 

Top of the page

More FAQs: common problems associated with creating layouts using WinRail