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3. what am I looking at?
So Templot generates and prints templates. What you are probably looking at is this - a turnout template:
There are just 3 basic types of template in Templot:
1. plain track templates:
A length of plain track.
2. turnout templates:
A length of plain track into which a turnout has been inserted somewhere along it. Only one turnout per template.
3. half-diamond templates:
A length of plain track into which half of a diamond-crossing has been inserted at one end. These templates are almost always used in pairs to create a full diamond-crossing or slip, like this:
Let's forget about half-diamond templates for now. There is a lot to learn about turnout templates first.
But note in passing that this diamond-crossing is curved, like everything else in Templot. When you want something to be straight, Templot simply increases the radius to a very large number.
When Templot starts up the template generator engine starts running, and initially it creates a left-hand B-6 turnout template, curved onto 10 chains radius. We shall come back to what all that means later. It also sets the model gauge and scale to T-55 - which needs changing before you do anything else.
If you look at it for long enough you will probably see this message pop up:
Templot can do any scale or track gauge. But on the screen they all look very similar, so it is easy to forget to set your required scale and gauge before you start. Finished track plans can be converted to a different scale or gauge afterwards, but for geometrical reasons the conversion is seldom entirely perfect. For this reason it is much better to start as you mean to go on, and set your required scale and gauge before you begin.
To do that, click on the gauge menu now:
If you don't do that, Templot shows the above reminder message after a few minutes running. Left to itself Templot starts up in an unusual gauge called T-55 (5.5 mm/ft scale, 1 inch track gauge). Almost no-one models this gauge, so if you are still using it after a few minutes, it is a reasonable assumption that you have forgotten to set your gauge.
But you can if you wish click the blue bar continue with T-55 gauge to continue without interruptions.
You will see this style of message often in Templot, with various coloured bars to click in making your chosen response. When in doubt you can always safely click the green bar, or press the ENTER key.
Now what? Click next page for the answer.