If you want to dive deeply into this stuff (as train simulator route developers sometimes do) you probably will need to get familiar with GIS software. Two that I know of, that are full-featured enough to do the job without going full-on corporate, are:
Q-GIS (free, open source, very hard to learn but truly full-featured): [www.qgis.org
Canvas GFX, Canvas (year) GIS version (very corporate, and expensive, but still much less than something like ArcGIS; also quite easy to use if you ever were exposed to Mac graphics programs, even though it runs on Windows; also, they will probably refuse (at first) to sell a copy - they're into subscription with a vengeance now): [www.canvasgfx.com
If you have the time and money to go truly professional, there's ArcGIS. Truly subscription (rental)-only, like Adobe now. [www.arcgis.com
There are some other things out there, too. Browsing the route developer sections of forums at places like [www.trainsim.com
] might be informative.