A mainline train on the Santa Fe in Raton Pass on the Colorado side of the Colorado-New Mexico border. The cone-shaped pile in the background is the slack pile from making coke, derived from coal. The freight is climbing a mountain grade. The three-track main is flanked by a mountain on the right, poles and wires on the left.
Because of their interest in the Super Chief, Beebe and Clegg photographed Santa Fe trains at Raton Pass, a long route that began in the coal district of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Some of the coal from the district was heated to remove gases, producing coke, which was used in industrial processes because it burns with intense heat and little smoke.
Again, Clegg has captured a large plume of smoke, this one rising vertically on the right side of the image, balanced the left by the four crossbars and wires of the railroad's utility lines. They fill the upper half of the picture: the middle third is the sky, comparatively uninterrupted. The lower third contains landscape and the train. The tracks curve enticingly, taking the viewer from the lower right into the center of the picture, suggesting that what lies behind the train in the middle distance is of great import.