Staggering Grades x2

By Brent Burger; posted January 5, 2003

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To gain access to the San Luis Valley, the D&RG headed west over 10,000+ foot Marshall Pass in 1879. The eastern approach was a lark, compared to the western side. Grades were no less than 4% for much of the route, forcing freight drags to be cut into short sections to be hauled to the top and reassembled before proceeding east. Here we are looking upgrade toward the pass. This shot was taken just around the corner, where the track disappears to the right in this photo [id=46318630]. Below lies the headwaters of the San Luis Valley, Mears Jct. and the line to Salida, Colorado.