Denver Bar Association
March 2006
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Q&A: DA Bertram

• You’ve been interested in trains since you were a child. What’s held your interest?

Any hobby ebbs and flows as other interests develop, but trains are what we had when I was growing up. When I was a kid, I’d make things from Styrofoam or paper, but now I’m cutting real rock and making my own mortar rocks.

• What was your model train, the Virginia & DACS Railroad, named after?

Virginia is the street we live on and DACS are the initials in my family’s first names: Don, Aubrey, Chelsey and my wife Sue. It’s called a railroad (instead of a railway) because of our dogs Rowdy and Rocket.

DA Bertram is a lawyer and architect in Denver, and as if that doesn’t keep him busy enough, he’s also a train enthusiast. His extensive, outdoor model train is pictured above. The son of a Missouri Pacific Railroad employee, Bertram’s interest in trains developed at a young age. In February, he wrote the cover story for Garden Railways, which included eight pages of his ever-expanding railroad. Photos by Marc Horovitz, reprinted with permission, Garden Railways magazine.
• What’s your family’s involvement with the railroad?

My daughters are 16 and 17 years old, so they reluctantly help. Sue is more enthusiastic and loves to garden. I’ll tell her I need a long, skinny plant to put somewhere and she knows what to do. We found a place near Fort Collins that sells only miniature plants, which is what we need.

• Are there many train hobbyists?

I belong to the Denver Garden Railroad Society. I’m just a participant and the group meets monthly. The group itself is quite active. They refurbished a caboose and will be at the Home and Garden Show this year. Two years ago it had the featured garden. The group also hosted the 2004 National Garden Railway Convention in Denver.

• Did you take part in the 2004 National Garden Railway Convention in Denver?
I started my garden railway in April 2002, in ’03 laid the tracks and by ’04 I was on the national tour. There were eight buses taking people to houses on the tour — one guy counted 942 people who came through his house in four hours.

• Why do you enjoy this particular hobby?

It’s a great escape after eight hours of depositions. I can just go cut up wood and nail things. I’ve always had to have something to do other than "projects" — like remodeling the kitchen. This is an R&R thing where I can putter around and watch a game while I work.

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