The Siding Of
|West to Plain|
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 Clay is located at milepost 21.2 on the Moffat TunnelSubdivision. There are three sidings that fall in close proximity to one anotherbefore heading west into the tunnel district. Rocky, Clay, and Plain are allwithin six (track) miles of each other. The only thing between the west end ofRocky and the east end of Clay is Big Ten Curve. There is only one "block" betweenthe two sidings and no intermediate signals. Clay was once named "Fireclay", sonamed because of the red fireclay that can be found along the mountains here. Inthe days of the Denver & Salt Lake, the small town of Fireclay could be foundjust above Big Ten Curve.
Clay runs along a relatively narrow ledge right along the bottom of theRocky Mountains. Clay is not a particularly long siding, but even whencoal trains will fit, they are seldomly sent into the siding. The groundbeneath Clay is very soft and easily to sinking. For this reason, coaltrains stay on the mainline, which is further away from the slope.
After coming out of Big Ten Curve, trains are heading geographic north anddirectly into Clay. Here is a shot of the east end of clay. Notice that theblock signal is facing more to the southeast, away from the tracks. This isfor the benefit of trains coming up from Big Ten. Before curving around tothe north into Clay, trains can see the signal at the east end.
The east switch of Clay is seen here. Note the condition of the mainlinecompared to the condition of the siding. The siding is definitely one of thelesser used sidings and the rail reflects that. Some of the rail on thesiding is dated 1950!!
This shot looks down along the back end of the points of the east switchof the siding. The rusty surface of the rail running into the siding (therail on the right at the bottom) reflects again the lack of use that Clayreceives.
Looking back to the east, the curve leading out of Big Ten and into Claycan be seen. In the distance, above the tracks in the background, southwestMetro Denver can be seen.
Clay is deceptively straight. Many people assume that, running along theside of a mountain, the siding would have a large number of curves. However,much of Clay is perfectly straight, as in this picture.
The area around Big Ten is a truly fascinating area area, withliterally dozens of photo opportunities to capture trains snaking their wayup from the plains and into the Rocky Mountains. By foot (which requiressome hiking), Clay is less than 2,000 feet away from Rocky, although youwould never know it from the 3 miles separating them in the timetable, whichis of course by track.
In this picture, we are on the hill above the east end of Clay. In the middleof the picture is a shot of the tracks ascending from Rocky and heading intoBig Ten Curve. In the distance towards the right side of the picture is StanleyLake in Arvada and Westminster.
The curves at Big Ten are some of the most spectacular curves anywhere. Whilethey may not be quite like Tehachapi, they are still something to behold. In thisshot, the siding at Clay is in the foreground. In the background, much lowerin elevation, is Rocky! Specifically, Little Ten curve.
There is a lot of ballast at Clay due to its relative instability. Clay (the dirt)is of course very soft and therefore doesn't work as the basis for rail lines verywell. As a result, ballast is used to help compensate.
Moving toward the west end of the siding, the longest curve of Clay is found. Justto the right of this picture, there is an antenna array. The array can clearly beseen from highway 72 when driving west toward Coal Creek Canyon.
Date Added: 7/25/2001
Subdivision.. Moffat Tunnel
Length....... 5,780 feet
AAR.......... 23 (160.455)
House Track.. None
Grade Xing... None
Access Road.. None
Westbound......... Always On
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: 7/25/2001
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