If the CPR had followed the original route proposed by Major Rogers along the north shore of the Kicking Horse River passing 500 feet above Field, then there would have been no necessity to climb to Muskeg Summit west of Field. But William Cornelius Van Horne, president of the CPR, wanted to use the flats at Field to establish a maintenance facility for the helper locomotives used to assist trains over the Kicking Horse Pass. As it was, helpers were also required for the climb to Muskeg Summit west of Field. The track rose with an average grade of 0.89 % and a ruling grade of 2.2% for 2.3 miles from Field (elevation 4,200 feet) to Muskeg Summit (elevation 4,330 feet) then descended with a grade of 1.88 % for 3.2 miles to Ottertail Bridge (elevation 3,864 feet). Helper locomotives were required in both directions adding to the considerable costs of operations at Field.
Heading west from Muskeg Summit towards Ottertail Trestle.
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In 1902, the CPR constructed the 8.2 mile long Ottertail Diversion, to eliminate Muskeg Summit. The diversion followed the south bank of the Kicking Horse River west of Field. The route adds 1 mile to the distance between Field and Ottertail but reduces the grade to a maximum of 1.5%.