The Siding Of
|West to Rocky||
The Siding Gallery, by design, does not show any trains (unless it is unavoidable) in pictures of the sidings. This is so you can see the layout of the land and get your own ideas on how to take pictures of trains. However, if you'd like to see pictures taken from various spots at this siding, then you can Search the Photo Gallery for pictures here on ColoradoRailfan.com!
The Siding of Leyden is located at milepost 12.4 and is the first sidingwest of North Yard. Currently 7,020 feet in length, Leyden marks the transition fromthe urban metropolis of Denver to the rural foothills leading to the Moffat Tunnel.
Leyden is easily accessible from 80th Avenue if you are coming from Arvada fromthe east. If you are coming from the south, Indiana Street is your best bet. You willhave the option of turning right on 82nd Avenue just before going under the tracks.This is the west end of Leyden.
I thought it might be interesting for everyone to see a topographical representationof the area of Leyden. The first picture above is just that. It is was taken fora USGS topographical map, revised in 1994.
This picture was taken at the east end of Leyden looking (trackwise) west. Ifyou'd like to take a picture from this site yourself, here are the coordinates you'llneed to have:
Elevation: 5679 feet
This picture was taken at track level looking at the hill from which the pictureabove was taken. This is looking east towards Denver. Two skyscrapers can justbarely be seen peeking between some trees. Note the "X" to the right of the tracks,indicating to oncoming trains that the crossing at 80th Avenue is straight ahead!
In addition to being used as a passing siding, Leyden is also sometimes used as aplace for temporarily parking trains if North Yard is too full. In fact, itwas used for this purpose so frequently in 1999, Union Pacific installed a "derail"switch at the east end, right at milepost 12. The crew of a train need only set theswitch to the derail position, which would cause the train to derail if startingrolling downgrade toward the mainline. Previously, the crew had to manually attach a special derail device to the rail.
The derail switch, as mentioned above, is at the east end of the siding. This is,of course, because the east end is the downhill end of the siding. If anything were toroll out of the siding, it would roll out of the east end.
This is a rather "busy" picture. The siding is track in focus. The derail switchstand is just off to the right of the track, just to the left of milepost 12. Thewhite pole with the orange top located at the right of the track is an access pointto the underground fiber optic cable used for signals and switches in the modern world.Notice at the lower right of the picture, the rails branching away from the siding.These are the rails which guide a stray car off the tracks, away from the mainline.
Okay all you modellers out there! Here is a picture of the derail switch standand switch upclose and personal! The purple circle with the white "D" on the topof the switch stand represent the "derail". The "D"-plate is parallel to the tracks,indicating the derail is not set. When set, the "D"-plate faces the tracks, tellingtrains not to run over the switch!
After the first 2,000 feet or so (heading west) of the siding, Leyden hasa straight shot for the remaining mile heading due west. There is a ranch at Leydenthat still offers horse rides to the public. Some of the paths taken by the horsesparallel the tracks in a few places. There is also an access road (for railroadpersonnel) that parallels the entire length of the siding.
As metioned, the 5000 western feet of Leyden are perfectly straight. And, thecompass heading when heading west is 270 degrees...due west! In this picture, we lookdue west and can see the railroad access road to the south of the tracks. This picturewas taken on a hill which leads up to 82nd Avenue.
Signs of the times and increase in population can be seen in this picture! If youhaven't been to Leyden in the last year, you will not recognize Ralston Valley HighSchool. It is northwest of the intersection of 80th Avenue and Alkire Street. Thispicture was taken from the exact same spot as Picture 5 above, but this picture looksto the southwest. The horse pasture can be seen just below the high school in thepicture. Ralston Valley was built to relieve the over populated Arvada West HighSchool, which had a student body of well over 2,200 students.
Approximately half way through the siding, there is a bit of history to beseen. The concrete remnants of a station that serviced Leyden many years ago can stillbe seen. Leyden, like many siding on Rio Grande's system, has a third track, known asa "house track". It is approximately 1,500 feet long and located near the middle ofthe siding. While one of its uses is for temporary (or even long term) storage ofcars, particularly covered hoppers, the primary use for house tracks is to provide ameans for cutting out "bad order" cars; cars with a defect that prevent them fromremaining on the train.
Here you can see the cement platform that is all that remains of the siding thatonce serviced Leyden near the upper right corner of the picture. In the foreground,near the bottom of the picture, you can see the switch for the east end of the housetrack.
Just like at the east end of the siding, the east end of the house track is alsoequipped with a derail switch. In this picture, you can clearly see that the switchis set and that it is bad news if any cars came rolling through the switch. In thedistance on the house track, you can see the end of a strand of ten hoppers which, atthe time of this picture, had been stored there for roughly five weeks.
As you start to reach the west end of the siding, toward milepost 13, thehouses and signs of urban development begin to vanish. Leyden has not always been7,020 feet long. There was a time when it was only about 5,020 feet long. But, astrains (particularly coal) grew in length, the need for longer siding was clear. Thewest end of the siding used to be at milepost 13, but is now significantly past that.
Although Leyden has been increased in length, this does not mean there are notstill signs of the times when it was shorter. This picture was taken just west ofmilepost 13, which can be seen in the picture. In the foreground, the cement base, nutsand bolts that where once used to support a block signal still lies embedded in the ground next to the mainline.
The Moffat Road has gone through several ownerships in the past fifteen years.Being owned, of course, by the Denver and Rio Grande Western until 1989 when theRio Grande / Southern Pacific merger was official and Southern Pacific took ownership.Then again, in 1997, Union Pacific purchased Southern Pacific and ownership changedhands again. While Southern Pacific never really got around to updating the "NoTrespassing" signs to read "SPLRR" instead of "DRGW", Union Pacific has taken thetime to white out the "DRGW" on most of the signs, but has not yet put their own"UPRR" on the signs.
We finally reach the west end of the siding. It almost seems like a completelydifferent siding from the one we saw at the east end. The west end acts like the gatewayto the west! There is a wonderful view of the Rocky Mountains as you leave Leyden andwest toward the next siding of Rocky.
Just 500 feet or so from the west end of the siding, this picture does not requiremuch text...
The west end of the siding is located only 50 feet or so east of the bridge thatruns over Indiana Street. After leaving the siding and heading west, the tracks curvesto the right and continue in a northwesternly direction. They will pass throughBarbara Gulch before reaching the next siding of Rocky, five miles to the west. The trackswill then challenge Big Ten curve.
Finally, we leave Leyden looking to the east in the picture. To the left (north) ofthe tracks here, there is some major development underway, no doubt preparing for the building of some new homes. Just to the left of the signal stand, you can see the westend of the railroad access road which runs over the cut on the south side of the tracks.
Date Added: 1/7/2001
Subdivision.. Moffat Tunnel
Length....... 7,020 feet
AAR.......... 92 (161.490)
House Track.. Yes -- Approx 1,500 feet
Grade Xing... None
Access Road.. Yes, Full Length (Private Property, Railroad Use Only
Westbound......... Approach Lit
Eastbound Main.... Approach Lit
Eastbound Siding.. Approach Lit
Eastbound......... Always On
Westbound Main.... Always On
Westbound Siding.. Always On
Last Data Update:
Last Picture Update:
Date Added: 1/7/2001
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