Walking Tour: The C&S Northern Division has a single aisle that winds through two basement rooms. Let's walk its
serpentine route, starting with this sweeping entrance view of Rice Yard — designed to impress a visitor.
Turning right, we have Boulder on the right, with the narrow-gauge Denver Boulder & Western RR. On the left is the engine facility of Rice Yard. Below Boulder, sloped rain gutters guide Pinewood Derby cars with train orders in and out of the adjacent room.
As we turn around the far end of the Rice Yard peninsula, we see the roundhouse on the left and Ara Wye straight ahead. The foam pad on the bottom of the fascia marks the easy duck-under shortcut below the base of the center penisula — only 16 inches wide.
Another left turn brings the Valmont aisle into view, with its namesake power plant on the right and Rice Yard's arrival/departure tracks on the left. The gap between the peninsulas in the foreground is a tight 16 inches. The carpet below Valmont is a favorite place for crews to sack out while waiting for a meet.
Here we see the Cherry Creek bridges with Denver's Union Station beyond. Below is the South Denver staging yard, with a collection of C&S steam on the Main track. The phone is shared by the Rice Yardmaster (left) and the Denver Union Station Asst YM position (right). The YM desk is at bottom left.
At right, the main line climbs Burke's Hill, curving over a mid-50s Chevy at the end of the center peninsula. At left is the north end of Union Station, with Prospect Jct and the Valley Highway underpass ahead. That's the south end of the Longmont staging yard below, with an E-unit diesel and a steam engine on the Main track.
This is the long Louisville aisle, extending from the (near) original room and into the (far) expansion room. Louisville is on the right with Hecla Mine in the foreground; Fox is on the left. The fascia notch below Fox is the CB&Q staging yard, and Longmont staging yard Track 1 is just visible in the lower left. Padding on the fascia bottom just beyond Louisville is this side of the center peninsula duck-under.
These final four photos are in the expansion room. While the lower deck in the original room was dedicated to staging, here the lower deck is all visible layout — giving us two scale miles on the two decks combined. On the left top we have the Rio Grande's North Yard and Utah Jct; the lower left and both right decks are Colorado countryside, and just 6 to 8 inches wide.
As we turn to the right, Niwot, a small farm town is on the lower left. Niwot is modeled as it was in 1910, with suitable industries, train order signals, and a team track with real teams. The large Monarch No. 2 Mine is on the upper right. In the distance, I took advantage of low light in a former closet to model a summer thunderstorm.
The storm continues on the upper deck into the distant town of Broomfield, a small farming community 14 miles from Denver. The train order gutters from the original room can be seen below.
This is the end of the serpentine aisle — nothing but countryside. The
Big Cut directly ahead on the lower deck nicely hides the sides of passing train cars while allowing the car tops to be seen — a common experience for railfans along the prototype C&S between Boulder and Longmont.