The Golden Sands Southern is a steam transitional era layout featuring the Milwaukee Road, Soo Line and Southern Pacific Railroads. As the name implies the railroad runs through the golden sands of central Wisconsin. It is set up for continuous running and designed for extensive operation. Not only is the layout well built, it is also well planned out. Track planning and initial benchwork construction took some of the best minds in the area well over 18 months to complete.
The open grid style of benchwork construction was used for the Golden Sands Southern. This method consists of joists, risers, cleats, sub-roadbed and roadbed. This method allows scenery to be constructed above and below track levels. The rails are all hand laid as well as the turnouts. There is never more than a 2% grade throughout the layout. Minor changes in trackage are still being made as the scenery is being completed.
Landforms are made with insulation foam carved to the desired shape. All surface areas are then covered with brown paper cut from shopping bags and glued to the foam or homasote. The paper is then painted and ground foam sprinkled on the paint. A spray of water/glue on top of the foam and everything stays in place. Additional shrubs and trees will be added where necessary to complete the scenery. The track has a fine gray ballast glued in place with the same water/glue combination.
Up to 6 people are needed for an operating secession. Jobs include a yard master, industrial switching, passenger service and of course a dispatcher. A computer generated switch list will be used assign cars to their destinations. A typical operation session will last about 2 hours. The layout is wired with 6 cabs and 10 blocks.
Here are a few more layout photos of The Golden Sands Southern: