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Development of the
Sandflea and Redbud Garden Railway

Adding Rocks and Terrain

I constructed tunnel walls at a high point in the terrain. The tunnel is about 4 feet long. I first built a base out of concrete to support the structure (see photo below). I made the walls out of brick mainly because I had them available. I put four steel rebar rods across the top to support a rock cover (see second photo below).
Concrete base for tunnel
Tunnel walls showing rebar to support tunnel roof

Filling I then (October 1, 2004) began filling in dirt to bring the terrain up to the desired level. (see photo below).

Filled and covered with wood chips
After filling dirt to the level of the track base, I covered the dirt with wood chips to protect it from heavy rain and wind erosion during the winter. I also added rock over the tunnel to improve its temporary appearance.

Filled and covered with wood chips

In early November, I purchased three tons of decorative rock. But, due to foul weather, I wasn't able to begin laying rock until December.

Setting rocks in place I first laid the rock in place, selecting pieces that fit together as much as possible. I was able to chip off some minor pieces of rock to ease the fit. I then set each rock in place in a small trench so that each rock was "coming out of the ground" and not "sitting on the ground" for a natural appearance.

Concreting behind and between rocks After setting 8-12 feet of rock, I poured concrete behind each rock to hold it in place (see photo). I also put concrete between the rocks to give a smoother, continuous surface. In some places, a second or even third row of rock was needed to bring the rock up to the level of the nearby railroad bed. In some places I tilted the rocks back to give a gentler rock slope; in other places I wanted a shear rock, cliff-like face.

I made two gullies or washes out of rock for interest; both go under the railroad bed where I had left an opening for a bridge.
Gully on west side
Gully on south side

In a few places I left the rock below the railroad bed level so that I can place in-scale retaining walls to add realism. After the concrete set up, I filled between the rock and railroad bed with dirt and added chips on the surface to prevent erosion over the winter. A few rocks were scattered carefully about so that the rockwork blends together rather than just "framing" bedding areas. These rocks will be reset as plants and buildings are added. Some of these were placed strategically to serve as stepping stones for access to the track and plants. Completed rockwork and terrain

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Shoppe Foreman is the family website of Larry and Sandy Foreman.
Revised February 2018.