Staggering Grades x3

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 across the valley toward the railroad switchbacks as it wound up Mt. Ouray. Photo [id=46318630] was taken at the highest point to the far right. Photo [ id=46318942] was taken downgrade from the bend where the tracks turn way from the camera and run up the canyon.