New Hampshire Trip - Cog Railway
On Wednesday we woke early and took a ride on the
Mount Washington Cog Railway.
We were lucky it was still
running; 3 days later
got a record 3 feet of snow
ending the season. [and they continued to have the snowiest October
there on record].
This railroad was the first mountain climbing cog railway ever. I could go
on in excessive detail about it because I bought a book, but I won't.
We paid approximately a million dollars (well it wasn't quite that much)
for our tickets and got in line for the train. But of course we thought the
10:00A on our ticket meant 10:00AM, but rather it meant the ticket
was for the A train, and sure enough we were at the front of the B train line.
So by the
time we got to the A train it was full and we only got a seat together
because a nice man (who later took our picture and gave it to us on a floppy
disk) switched with us.
We were on the front train, the yellow one, sitting in the very back seat
(Isn't it neat how the train engine is tilted
so as to be level on the inclines -K):
The trains used are just like the ones
used over 100 years ago. They burn coal, and they use cogs (gears) that
grip in a middle grooved track to push the car up the mountain. It's steep,
with an average grade of 25% and "the most dangerous trestle in the world"
which has a grade of 37% and goes around a curve at the same time.
Here are the tracks going up the mountain:
Part way up the mountain you have to stop and get water, because the train
can't carry all of the water it needs to make the whole trip:
We passed the 9am train as it was going back down:
It took about 90 minutes to get to the top. The trees gradually thinned and
finally we got above the tree line. It was actually fairly warm at the top,
in the high 40s.
(Warm compared to three days later maybe.
I was freezing! -K)
But there were 55 mph winds, which made it extremely hard
to walk. We had 20 minutes to get out and explore; there is an elaborate
visitor center, weather station, and hikers lodge at the top.
There was also a pile of rocks you could climb to the summit. Here I am at
The mountain is 6288 feet, the tallest in New England. It felt super
high, although this point was barely as tall as the mountain passes
we'd drive through when going through the Rockies.
On a clear day you can in theory see the Atlantic Ocean, Canada,
and 5 states from the top.
This was our one mostly-sunny day in New Hampshire, but cloudy enough we
couldn't see quite so far. Here's a view, with the train tracks and the
auto road in the foreground:
And all too soon our windy 20 minutes were up and we re-boarded the train.
On the way down we pulled off on a siding to let another train pass us:
I didn't manage to capture it in picture form but you could see the coal man
shoveling with one arm and holding the boiler door open with his other.
Here is the view back down the mountain. The train yard is the clearing
about halfway along; what is after that is the access road. The green splotch toward the
horizon is the golf course around the fancy
Mt. Washington Hotel:
After this amazing trip, guess what we did? Why see more waterfalls of
Waterfalls of Crawford Notch