Ancient geology and modern horticulture have determined the shape and features of the Monarch & Sand Railroad. The home sits atop a “stabilized dune,” an ancient layer of tumbled, smooth sea sand, lacking true soil or dirt. Any place in the yard not covered with lawn is exactly the texture of your favorite sandy beach.
The railroad conforms to the contours of an already established garden and fence line. The owners liked the attempt at a lawn made by previous owners, as well as some major plants, shrubs, and trees that seemed to be growing well. They designed the M&SRR to disrupt this as little as possible, as well as to provide opportunities for future plantings.
Because there is no firm base for track-laying, Will installed a strong foundation of concrete masonry blocks placed several inches in the sand. These foundation blocks were then topped with concrete masonry cap blocks, ultimately giving a wide and firm, but definitely “unrealistic” base for the actual tracks.
Because this is such a young railroad (and has such foundation issues), there are few structures in place. It does feature a fully functional Western-Cullen-Hayes Model 333 crossing bell.
The railroad basically is an “L.” The main line, a dog bone about 40 feet by 10 feet, is near the back (west) fence, then from the south end of the main line, the upper branch and the lower branch run about 65 feet along the south fence, culminating in a 53 foot reversing loop. Including two sidings, the entire track available is about 270 feet long.
This track-powered layout is divided into eight electrically-isolated blocks, which include two reversing opportunities, a wye and a loop.
|Track gauge (mm)||45|
|Total length (ft.)||270|
|Maximum gradient (%)||2.0|
|Minimum radius (ft.)||10|
|Control system||DC Analog|