Track Or Scenery

Track or scenery?

In Rail3D some things can be modelled in two ways: either as a track type or as linear scenery. Which is appropriate?

Track is the thing trains run on. Seems obvious, but how much extra can a track model include: should it include a third rail for electrified track? What about tunnels? or platforms?

Linear Scenery is scenery models that lie alongside track and follow the shape of the track. So this is appropriate for walls, platforms and fences, but what about tunnels?

To complicate things we also have “fit to curve” scenery - which is similar to linear scenery, but not quite the same.

Another factor is that linear scenery can include components at regular intervals - a feature which ought to be available in track models.

Rule of Thumb

  • Use Track for track types that extend for a long way or over many nodes.
  • Use Track for track types that you could conceivable want to set using the Track Setting options from a moving train.
  • Use Scenery for things that are not directly track, and could be applied to different types of track.



  • Different types of track (wooden sleeper / concrete sleeper).
  • Different gauges of track.
  • Third/Fourth rail electrification.


  • Platforms.
  • Walls and Fences.
  • Bridges and viaducts.

Things that can be either

  • Tunnels (short to medium tunnels should be scenery, long tunnels, eg tube railways, channel tunnel should be track types)

There’s no reason you can’t make, for example, walls and fences as part of the track model, but keep in mind you might end up having to make a lot of different models for all the possible combinations of track and fence!

Track and linear scenery modelling tips

Linear scenery and track models are in many ways the same thing. The main difference is that one can be applied to track, and the other is the track itself.

If you use a texture/skin for your model you will have to assign u,v coordinates for each vertex. However, Rail 3D will automatically render the full height of the texture over your model at regular intervals. If the texture is repeated too often (or perhaps not often enough), you can change the interval using the following syntax:

Skin "n/filename"


  • n is a scaling factor
  • filename is the name of the texture file to use

As an example, the broken centreline along a road can be modelled in a linear scenery element that can be added to tracks with a suitable road model. (This saves having to make a separate track model for each permutation of road type and things that can go along the length of the road, e.g. lines, gutters, kerbs, railings, barriers).

The texture needed for the line marking is only very small (16×64) and used as-is, the lines are too short and spaced too closely. To scale the size of the texture by a factor of 7, change the Skin line as follows:

Skin "7/RoadLineBroken.bmp"