Best Practice

ContentGetting Started

This page is meant as advice to keep in mind before proceeding.

Track plan (CTC)


  1. Keep the track plan design simple and schematically and leave out all unnecessary tracks.
    Every symbol in the track plan is a Window object 1) and needs computer resources.


This is a track plan example in which every track on the layout is copied to resemble the real one.
It is usable, but not the advised way to define a layout in Rocrail.


Advice for this example:

  1. Split it up into 3 or 4 station tabs.
  2. Do not make tabs for different layout layers; Split it up logically.




  1. Plan block length to fit the longest train which will run on this layout.
  2. Plan at least 4 sensor sections in each block; Using two of them will do at start.
  3. Plan switches or switch motors with position feedback.

Large layouts

Large layouts with Windows is not a good choice:

A free Linux distribution on the same hardware is preferred.

Command Station

  1. Select a simple CS because Rocrail offers all control needed and saves a lot of money.
  2. Choose an event based sensor system like LocoNet, mergCBus, xPressNet

File names and IDs

In Rocrail all file names and IDs are case sensitive.

  • Avoid using blanks in ID's.
  • ID's should be short codes; Use the description field for more information.

Modifying XML Files

In case an XML Layout file should be manually modified, which is normally not necessary, an UTF-8 capable editor must be used to save none ASCII characters like umlauts.
The standard Windows 'editor', Notepad, will damage the encoding.

Recommended editors

  • Notepad++ for Windows
  • Gedit for Linux
  • TextEdit or TextWrangler for Mac
1) Objects on the screen are not only graphic symbols, but are managed by the program, ie responding on mouse actions and if necessary changed

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