These shots of a Denver, Rio Grande & Western westbound freight were taken on the morning of May 21, 1987 at the east portal of Moffat Tunnel, on the front range of the Rockies west of Denver. Students of railroad history may know this was the original route laid out by the planners for David Moffat's Denver, Northwestern & Pacific. This wasn't a railroad for sissies. After climbing upgrade at nearly 2 percent from Denver to this point, the original line (the grade of which can barely be seen ascending the side of the mountain in the distance) crossed the Continental Divide at 11,660 feet above sea level. The line used a series of switchback loops and 4 percent grades to cross the very top of the mountain at Corona--Rollins Pass. The "Giant's Ladder," as it was called, was nearly impossible to operate in the winter because of snow. How anyone could survive hand-firing several tons of coal into the firebox of the Moffat Road's steam locomotives from Denver to the top at Corona---from 5,280 feet to 11,660 feet above sea level---is from another era of human strength and endurance. And---consider how little oxygen was available to breathe as the top was neared! The 6.2 mile tunnel that bears Moffat's name was completed in 1927, and opened for rail traffic the following year. Of course the track of the "Giant's Ladder" was abandoned almost immediately (although much of the line can still be driven today).