The Mount Washington Cog Railway

By | Category: Travel destinations

Image © Mt. Washington Cog Railway

If you are going to celebrate your 150th anniversary why wait until the very year? In America there seems to be a traditional that you build-up or count-down to the actual anniversary and this is certainly the case with one of the most popular attractions in New England.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire is the oldest mountain climbing cog railway in the world and, if you look at the images, you wonder how on earth they managed to construct it in the first place. And why?

When one man, Sylvester Marsh, got lost there he decided there had to be a better way to travel around although given the terrain you might think he would have opted for pack mules or journeying there by mountain goat. But he decided on a train. But no traditionally designed train could do this journey so it had to be a cog system. Between his idea and the opening of the railway, seventeen years passed. Seventeen years to build a railway that journeyed only three miles on its way up the 6,288-foot Mount Washington.

“Old Peppersass”

Since the 3rd of July 1869 when ‘Old Peppersass’ (a most peculiar looking engine as you can see) took the first passengers on the route, the railway has operated under different owners and carried any number of important people including President Ulysses S Grant who travelled on it in the very first month of its operation. He probably travelled at the same speed 2.8 miles per hour as passengers today do.

Today tourists make up the travellers with more and more coming from overseas. Over the next few years they will be able to take part in the 150th celebrations and enjoy the new museum that has opened at the base station. Unlike the old days, they have the option on travelling on one of the two steam trains or they can opt for an engine that uses a 20% biomass/80% diesel mix.

All images © Mt. Washington Cog Railway

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