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Arvada to Leyden


After leaving North Yard, the railroad had a slight grade as it headed West, through what are now suburbs and suburban sprawl, towards the flatirons and steep range of the Rockies. A notable few places along the railroad in this section are Arvada and Leyden. Arvada is a small suburban town west of Denver, it has gone through a revival recently with a booming downtown area and it has benefited from access to the extension of a public transit light rail right into downtown. For the railroad, the east side of Arvada marked the split from the Moffat line and the line that heads west towards Golden, the Colorado Railroad Museum and the Corrs Brewery.

The Colorado Railroad Museum is a must see for anyone visiting Colorado or who has a passion for trains. A unique assortment of railroad equipment specific to Colorado lives here, with many days having real operating steam trains and Galloping Geese on the museums loop of track. It is a great outdoor venue for train enthusiasts with plenty of chances to climb aboard equipment that used to ride the rails in Colorado. Also at the museum are two model railroads. The Denver Garden Railroad Club has an outdoor space for G Scale trains running around a nicely decorated and maintained area, often operating on Saturdays when the weather permits. They also have an elevated loop designed for live steam models, operating under the same physics, heat, boiler, steam and pistons as the real ones did in days of old. In the basement of the museum lives the Denver HO Model Railroad Club. They have an excellently built and detailed layout with all sorts of operating accessories and unique characters hidden in the scenes. Be sure to drop in a coin and watch the carnival area. More links to the museum and it’s model railroad partners can be found here on our helpful links page.

The main entrance to the Colorado Railroad Museum

Next for the railroad as it heads west is Leyden, a small community for most of the railroads life, it served as a valuable siding staging trains before they entered North Yard. In recent years the area has undergone quite the change as vast developments of houses and commercial buildings have been built here. Despite the changes, the railroad still rumbles through here the same as it did over 100 years ago.

The Layout Model

On the MMRG we have Arvada modeled as it might have appeared in the 50’s and 60’s. It is one of the areas that is being currently worked on and changes each work session. Be sure to check out the downtown area, the spur that leads off to Golden and the Colorado Railroad Museum and the farm scene, how the area might have looked before suburban sprawl.

The MMRG model of Arvada, this area has undergone plenty of changes since the start of 2022

West (right) of Arvada and just over the small hill behind the mainline is the model of the Colorado Railroad Museum. Out model is fairly close to the real thing with a working loop of narrow gauge track, a roundhouse and a depiction of the museums main building. A member of the club actually volunteers time at the museum and was able to help add realism to the model with their expertise.

Our model of the Colorado Railroad Museum. A great museum in person and one we knew we had to recreate in miniature

West of the museum is our model of the Leyden siding, while short on the MMRG layout, the real siding is quite long. We chose to use some creative license here in order to spend more space on other parts of the line. Note the dinosaurs on the ridge behind the tracks. While not found in Leyden, dinosaurs were found just south near present day I70 and C470. This is our homage to the ancient creatures that roamed long before the railroad.

A view of the farm in Arvada and looking to railroad east seeing Arvada and then North Yard in the distance