Walt Schuchmann
Bear Mountain Division
January 28, 2007

The Denver & Rio Grande Western's Bear Mountain Division links Denver with the coalfields and recreational area around Columbine, Colorado and a connection with the Union Pacific near the Wyoming state line. From Denver, the line heads generally northwest, passing west of Boulder. It runs through former mining areas around Ward taking advantage of some former narrow gauge right-of-way and crosses the Continental Divide near Jackstraw Mountain and then follows Opposition Creek to the Columbine area.

The N scale railroad occupies a 40x13 room and reflects the builder's primary interest in operations. An effort was made to place switches within easy reach and view. Sufficient sidings and yard trackage was provided to keep a dispatcher, yardmaster and three or four road crews busy, plus a trainmaster. Operations are governed by a voice block authority system, and trains are operated using Easy DCC. At the same time, it was a goal that the trackage not overpower the scenery, because it certainly does not in Colorado! The era is set in the early/mid 1980s. Scenery is well along but will never be complete

The layout itself is a large U shape with Denver on one leg and Wyoming on the top end of the U allowing the engineer to take his train from Denver through the Rockies to Wyoming. It is easy to be impressed by the Rocky Mountain scenery, derailment-free operations, and the detail on the city, the mine scene, and various sidings and stops along the main line. The coupling of N-scale and a very large mountain that dominated the train strikes you as being so very real. Here is exactly what the 1'/1' scale really looks like, a track, a train, and very big mountain.

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