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Mount Washington Cog Railway: 2 October 2017

My brother- and sister-in-law had long promised they would take us to the Mount Washington Cog Railroad next time we were in New Hampshire. 2 October 2017 was the day chosen. Quite by chance the local newspaper - the Conway Daily Sun - was popped through the letter box the day before, and on the front and next four pages was an article featuring the Cog (the article can be read here).

The day was perfect with an almost cloudless sky and stunning 360 degree views on the summit.

The original base station was below the current base station. The original site now forms the engineering centre, where the locos and coaches are paired up each morning before the start of services.

Loco #1 Peppersass. Its funnel is in the bunker. Last operated in 1929, after it had been restored for the 50th Anniversay, but it derailed/deracked in spectacular fashion after its pinion/rear axle broke (sources vary) and was recovered from the mountain, never to run again.

One of the new generation of switches that helped revolutionise Cog operations. There is a film clip in the Museum that shows that highly labour intensive method of changing the original switches, with a particularly cumbersome method of ensuring a continuous rack through the switch.

A unique feature of the Cog is the dynamic loop which allows all six trains - in two flights of three - to pass each other at full line speed. Steam still powers the first working of the day, but despite an 8 am departure, it is fully booked some days before hand. There is a suggestion that a second steam trip might be re-introduced.

There is a surprising amount of redundant rack sections lying alongside the trestle at various points.

An interesting feature are these short sections of rail inserted at a number of joints. Note how they are firmly clamped by the fishplates. Also note the light section of rail compared to the much heavier rail section at both terminuses.

Note the roller mounted on the loco. The steam loco has a simple buffing plate.

The racks run beyond the end of the rails...

Halfway House

Loco #9 'Waumbek' of 1908. Wikipedia states: "First horizontal boilered engine to have the cab on the same plane as the boiler. For a short time, this locomotive burned bio-diesel, but was reconverted to coal."

Only two steam locomotives are currently serviceable, and here is the second which in early October had been up the mountain twice so far this year.

Why do the more modern locos on mountain railways get withdrawn first? Wikipedia states: "Uses a larger, welded boiler built by Munroe Boiler. Has the cab tilted on the same plane as the boiler. Converted to burn oil for a short time and converted back to coal. Was renamed the KroFlite. Now sits at the intersection of U.S. Route 302 and Base Station Rd. bearing its original name as a sign for the entrance to the railway."