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El Dorado Software, in cooperation with Kalmbach Publishing, is pleased to announce Layout Design 2000, an exciting contest for model railroaders!

First prize $500
Second prize $250
Third prize $100
Best loop $75
Best yard $75

We are seeking Layout Design Elements (or LDEs) as described by Tony Koester in the 1995 issue of Model Railroad Planning. "An LDE is a model of all or part of a specific yard, engine terminal, industry, junction, town or other prototype installation or scene that faithfully captures the key aesthetic and operational charaterstics of that prototype. Modelers, whether they follow a specific prototype or free-lance, can use LDEs to make it easier to design layouts that accurately reflect typical prototype practices." Tony Koester, Model Railroad Planning 1999*

Each entry is to be a single Layout Design Element as defined above and in the contest rules. All LDEs entered in the contest will be posted in both 3PI and DXF format on the TrackPlanning.com web site so they can be shared by a wide variety of modelers around the world. This broad library of LDEs will help all modelers, new and experienced, by providing a source of researched design elements that can easily be added to any custom track plan in virtually any CAD program.

Contest Rules

The Layout Design Element (LDE) must have a primary track through it. This can be a main line, a branch line, or a double-tracked main. Because this is to be used as a Layout Design Element rather than a module, the primary track may enter and exit any side, the first consideration being faithfulness to the prototype. Entries may be in any scale from N through G.

The entry must be in the form of a 3PI, DXF or DWG file and must be accompanied by a write-up of the history and function of the LDE. The CAD file must use the Layer Definitions as provided on the Contest Web Page so LDEs are interchangeable with each other and usable by all. The LDE must be at least 2 sq. feet in size, but not larger than 50 sq. feet. Entries will be judged on:

1. The functionality of the LDE from an operational standpoint. The trackwork must either match the prototype’s scaled dimensions exactly, or use selective compression to produce trackwork that allows switching and traffic to operate essentially as it did on the prototype.

2. Faithfulness to the prototype. This will be reflected in the visual impression of the 3D-rendered LDE, and the completeness and accuracy of the background information. Entries must contain at least 2 Snapshot locations that provide informative views of the LDE. The rendering time of the image will not be a consideration in this judging, so the submission can be faithful to the prototype to any level of detail.

3. Execution. The file must have the right objects in the right layers, properly aligned endpoints and accurate grades. If the LDE contains items that need layers beyond the Layer Definitions, they must be chosen for useful operation in both 2D and 3D.

4. Innovation. Every prototype-based model railroad is a set of compromises designed to best reflect the look and feel of the original. An entry with a new solution to a design problem, a new use of track in a tight area, or a new outlook on the use of scenery would receive a higher score.

Judging will be independently conducted by Tony Koester, Andy Sperandeo and other designated representatives of Kalmbach Publishing using 3rd PlanIt. Decisions of the judges are final. All entries must be submitted on or before 31 Oct 2000 and become the property of El Dorado Software. Winners will be announced in Model Railroad Planning 2001. Entries may be published in future issues of Model Railroad Planning or Model Railroader at the editors’ discretion. Published material will be paid for at standard editorial rates.

* Copyright 1999 Model Railroad Planning magazine, used by permission


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Last modified: February 12, 2000