By the mid-1800s, most U.S. railroads were set up on a standard gauge, which means that the rails were set four feet, eight inches apart. This system worked well across most the states but when they began building in the western mountains, the standard gauge did not permit a tight enough turning radius to negotiate the twisting passes and narrow canyons of the high-peaked ranges. The solution: the narrow gauge with rails just three feet apart.
Portrayed here is a Colorado Narrow Gauge train traveling through Fremont Pass just east of Leadville, Colorado. This particular engine is a Mogul owned by the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad between 1879 and 1889. Competition between rail companies was fierce and when silver prices fell, many rail companies went bankrupt. The Denver, South Park & Pacific is gone but if you travel through Fremont Pass, you can see the old roadbed and recapture the romance of the narrow gauge railroads.
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