ColoradoRailfan.com » Data Warehouse » Maps » Map of the Month

Map Of The Month
December 2005
Denver-Metro Rail Lines
Please Note: Javascript is Required to properly view this page. Click on a small map to view it in the large display.

Map 1
Denver-Metro Rail Lines: 2006

Map 2
Denver-Metro Rail Lines: 1976

Map 3
Denver-Metro Dispatchers: 2006

Track Information
  • Moffat Tunnel Subdivision: Former Denver and Rio Grande Western mainline west through the Rockies running to Grand Junction and eventually over Soldier Summit into Salt Lake City. This line primarily sees coal trains coming east from the mines on the Craig Branch (Energy and Axial) or mines on the North Fork Branch (Somerset and Bowie). BNSF does have trackage right (as a result of UP/SP merger), and the California Zephyr runs over the line as well. The first siding Leyden  (Search Photo Gallery)  is located just west of left border of the map in Arvada.
    • Average Trains Per Day: 18 to 24. These trains include 2 to 4 BNSF manifest, 2 Amtraks, 2 to 4 UP manifests, and coal.
    • Disptcher: UP Dispatcher 86 (AAR 92/92)
    • Line Details: Single Track CTC
    • Images:  Denver,   Arvada 
  • Front Range Subdivision: Former BN (nee-C&S) mainline north from Denver to Cheyenne. Since the BNSF merger, this line does not see the traffic it once did. There are four regular daily trains, but there are several locals, intermodal trains, and an occasional re-route. Trains must receive a track warrant (heading north) before leaving Utah Junction. Once they do leave, they move at restricted speed until they are north of 64th Avenue.
    • Average Trains Per Day: 2 to 5. These trains include the DENLAU/LAUDEN and DENTAC/TACDEN daily trains, plus occassional intermodal trains or the sulphur train.
    • Disptcher: BNSF Front Range Dispatcher (D94, AAR 70/70)
    • Line Details: Single Track TWC (Track Warrant Control)
    • Images:  Denver,   Westminster 
  • Greeley Subdivision: UP mainline north from Denver to Cheyenne.
    • Average Trains Per Day: 18 to 24. These trains usually include a wide variety such as coal, auto racks, intermodal, manifests, and several locals. If Amtrak needs to re-route through Wyoming, they take the Greeley Sub. Each July, The Cheyenne Frontier Days Steam Train takes this line as well. The line is controlled by D86 from Denver to Hazeltine (the first siding north), where control changes to UP D16.
    • Disptcher: UP Dispatcher 86 (AAR 92/92)
    • Line Details: Single Track CTC
    • Images:  Commerce City
  • Brush Subdivision: Former BN mainline northeast from Denver to Lincoln, NE (and eventually Chicago).
    • Average Trains Per Day: 20 to 30. These trains include several Powder River Basin coal trains, intermodal trains (including Z-trains), a few manifest, and Amtrak.
    • Disptcher: BNSF Brush Dispatcher (D87, AAR 66/66)
    • Line Details: Single Track CTC
    • Images:  Denver,   Commerce City
  • Limon Subdivision: UP mainline east from Denver to Sharon Springs, KS.
    • Average Trains Per Day: 12 to 16. These trains are almost all coal trains coming off (or heading to) the Moffat. However, there re-routed intermodal trains, a manifest or two, and several locals.
    • Disptcher: UP Dispatcher 86 (AAR 92/92)
    • Line Details: Single Track TWC (Track Warrant Control)
    • Images:  Denver
  • Joint Line: Former Denver and Rio Grande Western/AT&SF mainlines south from Denver to Pueblo. Today, the line is owned by BNSF between the yards and the triple track mainline near Alameda Avenue. In the triple track section, Main 1 is owned by UP and Mains 2 and 3 are owned by BNSF. At Littleton, the tracks drop to two, Main 1 (south) being owned by UP and Main 2 (north) being owned by BNSF. The ownership changes as you move south. On Union Pacific, this is the Colorado Springs Subdivision. On BNSF, it is the Pikes Peak Subdivision.
    • Average Trains Per Day: 30 to 40. Many of these trains are coal trains that come off (or head to) the Brush Sub for the PRB. BNSF definitely runs more trains than UP on the Joint Line. Both railroads do, however, run a few manifests.
    • Disptcher: BNSF Brush Dispatcher (D87, AAR 66/66)
    • Line Details: 2MT CTC (Prospect Jct to South Denver), Triple Track CTC (South Denver to Littleton)
    • Images:  Denver,   Littleton
  • Belt Line: Former Denver and Rio Grande Western line that was used to interchange with both UP and the Rock Island. Now used by UP to move trains between the former Grande (Moffat and Joint Line) and the traditional UP (Greeley Sub and KP).
    • Average Trains Per Day: 14 to 18. The majority of these trains are coal trains moving between the Moffat and the Limon Sub. However, North Yard does send a receive a few manifests each day to the Greeley Sub, and a switcher comes out of North Yard to switch industries along the line too.
    • Disptcher: UP Dispatcher 86 (AAR 92/92)
    • Line Details: Single Track CTC
    • Images:  Denver
  • Golden Branch: Former C&S branch line between Denver and Golden. While there are a few small industries served along the line, the major customer is the Coors Brewery in Golden.
    • Average Trains Per Day: 4
    • Disptcher: BNSF Front Range Dispatcher (D94, AAR 70/70)
    • Line Details: Single Track TWC (no sidings)
    • Images:  Golden Branch
  • Dent Branch: UP branch line that used to run from Denver all the way to the Valmont power plant in Boulder. UP now uses trackage rights to access Valmont (via the BNSF Front Range Sub), and the Valmont Spur has been severed east of where it crosses I-25.
    • Average Trains Per Day: 0 to 1
    • Disptcher: Yard Limits
    • Line Details: Single Track Yard Limits
  • Kountry Line: Originally part of the DSP&P (later C&S) line to Leadville. Now a five mile spur that leaves the Joint Line near 6th Avenue.
    • Average Trains Per Day: 1
    • Disptcher: Yard Limits
    • Line Details: Single Track Yard Limits
Questions or Comments? Email the Webmaster

Points Of Interest
  • C&S Junction: This is the location where the Golden Branch breaks away from the Moffat Tunnel Subdivision. BNSF "Beer Trains" use UP's track between C&S Junction and Utah Junction. Heading east, C&S marks the start of the new Belt Flyover, completed in December 2004.
    • Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Original Railroad: Denver and Rio Grande Western, Burlington Northern (C&S)
    • Images:  C&S Junction
  • Utah Junction: This is where the UP mainline curves from the east to the south to enter North Yard. At Utah Junction, BNSF trains cross over between the UP main and the BNSF Rennicks lead, the North Yard Siding ends, trains enter the Moffat from North Yard, and trains enter the Belt from North Yard. There is a signal bridge (for eastbounds) at Utah Junction that still has original Denver and Rio Grande Western signals on it. It is the only signal bridge east of Glenwood Springs like it.
    • Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Original Railroad: Denver and Rio Grande Western
  • Belt Flyover: Opened in December 2004, the Belt Flyover allows coal trains to quickly move between the Moffat and the Belt Line. Prior to completion of the flyover (see Map 2), coal trains heading east had to enter North Yard, cut out the swing power, and move control of the train from the south end (as look at the train in the yard) to the north end. Then, the train could leave moving in the opposite direction that it arrived back out on the Belt Line.
    • Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Original Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Images:  Belt Flyover
  • North Yard: Once the main yard for the Denver and Rio Grande Western, this is now a relatively small classification on the Union Pacific. It consists of 25 yard tracks, several RIP tracks, a small engine repair facility (for minor issues), fueling tracks, and ready tracks.
    • Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Original Railroad: Denver and Rio Grande Western
    • Images:  North Yard
  • Rennicks Yard: BNSF's primary intermodal facility in Denver. Rennicks was not builty until the 1980's. Prior to that, there was just an empty field east of North Yard.
    • Railroad: BNSF
    • Original Railroad: Burlington Northern
    • Images:  Rennicks
  • 38th Street Yard: BNSF's classification yard in Denver. This is the largest of the three classification yards in Denver. It even has a few receiving tracks for coal trains coming off the Brush Sub.
    • Railroad: BNSF
    • Original Railroad: Burlington Northern (CB&Q)
    • Images:  38th Street
  • 36th Street Yard: UP's other classification yard (in addition to North Yard) in Denver. It is rumored that this yard is going to be relocated to Watkin's, Colorado on the Limon Subdivision. The existing yard would probably be reduced to one or two tracks, and the rest would likely be torn out and converted to condos.
    • Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Original Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Images:  36th Street
  • Denver Union Station: This has been the hub for rail travel in Denver for well over 100 years. In the days before Amtrak, dozens of passenger trains from the Rio Grande, Union Pacific, Missouri Pacific, CB&Q, Rock Island, and Santa Fe all came into Union Station. There were nine station tracks that could be used for trains. Today, there are five tracks, only two of which are regularly used. Amtrak uses track one and the Ski Train uses track two. Other trains, such as the American Orient Express or Cheyenne Frontier Days trains will typically use track three. Denver's public transportation system, RTD (Regional Transportation District), now owns Union Station and is using it as a central hub for the relatively new Light Rail system. In the past (see Map 2), Rio Grande trains headed for the Joint Line would actually run through the station tracks and head south to meet with the ATSF track at South Denver.
  • Burnham Yard: This was the primary maintenance facility on the Denver and Rio Grande Western. Today, the yard is not used for much, but Union Pacific still uses the facility for repairs to engines. Engines are also patched here if it is needed. The Ski Train is stored here when it is not being used, and a Rio Grande GP30 (#3006) is being stored here as well.
    • Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Original Railroad: Denver and Rio Grande Western
    • Images:  Burnham
  • Belt Junction: This is where the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific line breaks away from the Belt Line and heads southeast toward what was once Sandown Junction. Until recently, the track was owned by the Denver Rock Island Railraod (DRIR), a shortline operated in Denver. The track has actually been acquired by Union Pacific, however, with the intention of rehabilitating the line and reconnecting Sandown Junction. This was once an interchange point (see Map 2) between the Rio Grande and the Rock Island.
    • Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Original Railroad: Denver and Rio Grande Western, Chicago Rock Island and Pacific
  • UP Junction: Trains coming off the Belt can either head south toward 36th street yard (and the Limon Sub) or north toward the Greeley Sub here. This was once an interchange point (see Map 2) between the Rio Grande and the Union Pacific.
    • Railroad: Union Pacific
    • Original Railroad: Denver and Rio Grande Western, Union Pacific
    • Images:  UP Junction
  • Sand Creek: Two major Denver area rail lines cross each other (via a diamond) at-grade at Sand Creek. Union Pacific's Greeley Subdivision and BNSF's Brush Subdivision cross each other, roughly underneath I-76. The diamon itself is controled by Union Pacific's Dispatcher 86.
    • Railroad: Union Pacific, BNSF
    • Original Railroad: Union Pacific, Burlington Northern (CB&Q)
    • Images:  Sand Creek
  • UP Engine Facility (1976 Map Only): Union Pacific used to have a substantial engine facility in Denver. It sat on the location where Coors Field (ballpark for the Colorado Rockies) rests today.
    • Railroad: (No Longer Exists)
    • Original Railroad: Union Pacific
  • Sandown Junction (1976 Map Only): The Rock Island used trackage rights on Union Pacific between Limon and Sandown Junction in order to reach Denver. Sandown Junction, once located east of Quebec street in east Denver, was the location where the Rock Island left the Union Pacific to proceed northwest and interchange with the Rio Grande at Belt Junction.
    • Railroad: (No Longer Exists)
    • Original Railroad: Union Pacific, Chicago Rock Island and Pacific
    • Images:  Sandown Junction
Questions or Comments? Email the Webmaster

1976 Map: Things To Note
  • Belt Flyover: In 1976, the Belt Flyover had not yet been thought of. Actually, the flyover is only one year old (at the time this map was created). In 1976, Rio Grande had no need to run trains directly across from the Moffat to the Belt Line. Coal trains all ran south on the Joint Line to Pueblo.
  • CRIP Line: In 1976, the Rock Island was still in existence and still left the Union Pacific at Sandown Junctifon to interchange with the Rio Grande at Belt Junction. Back in 1976, the North Yard tower actually had a Rock Island sign on it in addition to the Rio Grande sign.
  • Sandown Junction: After the Rock Island went belly-up, Sandown Junction was torn out and the CRIP line was removed up to the north side of I-70. The former right of way was filled in with dirt and a hotel was built in one spot to support travellers at Stapleton International Airport.
  • UP Engine Facility: Union Pacific kept an engine facility in Denver until the 1980's when they ripped it all out. Coors Field today sits where the UP facility was in 1976.
  • DRGW Mainline South: In 1976, Rio Grande trains heading south for the Joint Line would cross over the BN tracks south of 38th street and the run through one of the station tracks at Union Station. Trains would run south and wrap around into Burnham. South of Burnham, the tracks would joint with the ATSF tracks to start the Joint Line at South Denver.
  • Federal Center Branch: Burlington Northern had a branch line that ran all the way out to the Federal Center west of Denver. This spur had to cross 6th Avenue, which had speeds of 55 MPH. 6th Avenue out west was more like a highway rather than a city street. The spur went right across the highway, complete with crossing gates!
  • Rennicks Yard: Rennicks yard was not constructed until the 1980's when Burlington Northern decided they wanted an intermodal facility in Denver.
  • I-76 Missing: The section of I-76 between I-25 and I-70 was not constructed until the 1980's. In 1976, if you were headed for I-70 and I-76, you had to go south on I-25 to I-70 and then head west from there. The final leg of I-76 was not completed until 1988.
  • I-270 Missing: A small piece of I-270 between I-76 and I-25 was not constructed until 2002.
Questions or Comments? Email the Webmaster

22846 people have viewed this Map.

Check out ColoradoRailfan.com on Facebook

ColoradoRailfan.com Email Subscription
To receive updates made to ColoradoRailfan.com via Email, Click Here.

The D&RGW Site Ring
This site owned by: Kevin Morgan
Add Your Site

SiteRing by Bravenet.com

SiteRing by Bravenet.com

All content 2000,2017 by Kevin Morgan, except where noted. Please do not use any material from this site without permission. Thank You.