The construction of the tracks between Rocky and Eisele (formerly Clay) is a truly remarkable feat of engineering. When the David Moffat started building the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific west out of Denver in 1902, there were some major obstacles. Between the west end of Barbara's Gulch and East Plain, the tracks needed to gain about 600 feet in elevation. As the crow flies, the distance was only 2.85 miles. That would equate to roughly a 4% grade. H.A. Sumner (the Chief Engineer on the project) did not want a grade steeper that 2%. The result was a creative route that includes a lot of curves (such as Big Ten Curve, seen here). The 2.85 miles was stretched out to almost 7 miles, and the grade stayed at or under 2%. The MNYRO is just pulling up to Big Ten Curve from Rocky, heading southeast (geographically), but slowly running around a curve that will result in the train heading west by the end of the curve.
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