The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad justifiably called itself “the scenic line of the world,” but its main east-west route from Pueblo to Salt Lake City by-passed Denver and lacked convenient connections with Chicago. Meanwhile, the Denver & Salt Lake Railroad had (with help from taxpayers in the counties the railroad served) built a 6.2-mile tunnel through the Rockies west of Denver, but completed its line only as far as Craig, Colorado.
In 1934, the D&RGW completed a line connecting its railroad with the Moffat Tunnel route, and eventually acquired control of the D&SL. This cut 175 miles off the journey from Denver to Salt Lake and allowed the Rio Grande to offer two scenic routes through the Rockies: one via Pueblo and the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River and the other via Denver and the Moffat Tunnel. From 1934 to 1939, the main passenger train on the Royal Gorge Route was the Scenic Limited while the main train on the Moffat Tunnel Route was the Panoramic. From 1924 to 1931, a train of that name had operated on the Royal Gorge route, but was resurrected on the Moffat Tunnel route when that was opened up.