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Bootlegger Canyon

Description based on material supplied by the layout owner

Bootlegger Canyon  
Steve Adcock 0n30 gauge 7mm scale

A fictional location set deep in North America’s resource rich "Frontier Land". Extreme railroading in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the town of Bootlegger is a rough tough place; this is the real "Wild West", the "West" that Hollywood did not show you.

The year is 1925. The town of Bootlegger Canyon is a major railroad junction; it is the hub of the Denver, Darius, South Park and Pacific Railroad (DDSPR). Coal is the main source of freight traffic with rich veins of Anthracite running throughout the area; add this to livestock and the timber trade and you have a classic old west railroad town.

Bootlegger was given its name by early prospectors; the area was renowned for the brewing of illicit alcohol which went on in the densely wooded areas of the Canyon. However heavy logging has changed the landscape in recent years, the extraction of the Rockies natural resources have decimated some areas, this is the era well before any concern for the mountain environment.

When surveying a route for the DDSPR from Denver through the Platte Canyon towards the first mines at Darius, Leadville and Mt Zion it was clear that gradients of 4 per cent could not be avoided. This would not only make it difficult to haul trains from Denver into the Rockies but also to safely manage full coal trains back down through Bootlegger. The tight curves and steep grades mean the only option was to use a narrow gauge track. Our town grew situated here at the western end of the 10 mile long geological fault that is the Canyon; it was a natural course for the railroad to follow on its final part of the climb into the Rockies and actually saved the railroad builders the need for a substantial tunnel.

Bootlegger Canyon is my third exhibition layout. This time I wanted to produce a rural, scenic diorama, a definite departure from my previous urban based railways. The Bachmann On30 revolution has caught my imagination in recent years with some amazing ready to run items of narrow gauge rolling stock. Add this to some inspirational photographs of the present day preserved 3 foot gauge railways of Colorado. This part of the world has the most amazing scenery but when I saw photographs of autumn in the Rockies I was hooked. It is unusual to see a particular season modelled in any gauge so I decided that it had to be autumn in Bootlegger Canyon, Colorado.


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