Sylvester Marsh , an adventurer and a mountaineer once got lost on the mountain , which got him thinking there must be a better way than hiking or horses in getting to the summit of Mount Washington .
One New Hampshire legislator thought it was such an impossible folly that he dubbed it and said “You might as well build a rail to the moon.”This a national historic landmark referred to as “a railway to the moon”today . P.T. Barnum called it the “Second Greatest Show on Earth” (after his show) . Locals simply say The Cog.
How does it work?
Basically, the engine pushed the cars, which hold 56 passengers, up the steep slopes rather than pull them. The train is traveling one hour to go three miles, through three climate zones.
On maps the White Mountains region is often colored green — to designate the national forests and state parks that blanket the 12,000 square miles of spread over northern New Hampshire. The mountains are among the highest east of tne Rockies, and they seem even higher than they really are because the valleys are so near sea level.
In summer and early fall, the White Mountains of New Hampshire are a hiker’s paradise. There are trails for every shape and age – from 15-minute waterfall strolls to scrambles up high summits .
Since most of the mountain is in the national forest,
And thus you may find the Mt. Washington Cog Railway more appealing. This was the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway, and today it’s the only one still powered entirely by steam. One trestle, called “Jacob’s Ladder,” climbs a 37% grade. This trip is very, very popular, and it’s wise to call for reservations.
Unlike most trains, where a locomotive pulls cars, cog railway locomotives push cars up the hill.
Construction of the Cog Railway was begun in 1866, however, and completed to the summit – approximately three and a half miles – in 1869. 150 years later, the railway is still popular among tourists, pretty much unchanged in operating practices.
As we approached timberline, trees thinned, then disappeared entirely. Amid this Arctic landscape . We passed Sky Line Switch, met a down-bound train (with the locomotive named Great Gulf in charge), crossed the Appalachian Trail, marked with piles of stones, and finally ended our hour-and-a-quarter climb by swinging around a craggy knoll and coming to a stop in front of Summit House.
The world’s first cog railway
engineering societies recognize The Mount Washington Cog Railway as one of man’s finest achievements.
The engine’s drive wheel has 19 cogs. As the wheel turns, the cogs mesh with the teeth along the central rail to draw the train up the grade, or, turning the other way, to brake its descent.
is that it was the first cog railway ever constructed, preceding those in Europe by a few years. it is the only one to be powered by steam,
”Train” almost seems a misnomer, for the transportation is provided by a single locomotive pushing a single coach. The average gradient is 25 percent, or one foot up for every four ahead; so delicate is the balance among gravity, inertia and force that the addition of another coach would seem to violate the laws of physics.
The main activities in the White Mountains are going up and going down. Skiers love it here in winter, and hikers year-round.
don’t wear white
Jacob’s ladder is a stretch of railroad built on high, curving trestling, its 37.41 percent grade the steepest on the line. The grade is so steep, passengers must lean forward toward the floor to stay balanced.
Mount Washington crowns the splendid Presidential Range , ias the tallest peak in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire’s White Mountains and the highest in the Northeast. The Presidential Range consists of mountains Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson and, somehow, even the Presidential aspirants, Franklin, Clinton, Clay and Webster.
The White Mountains’ tallest peak (6,293 feet above sea level) is famous for its treacherous weather, said to be the worst in North America.According to the “Guinness Book of World Records,” the fastest wind in world history ever recorded and not associated with a tornado or cyclone231 m.p.h. on April 12, 1934, was recorded on top of Mount Washington . Hurricane-force winds are observed at the summit an average 110 days per year.
The locals lovingly call it “Home of the World’s Worst Weather.”
Pro Tip : No matter how warm you are at the base, bring your winter woollies for the top. It has snowed at the summit of Mt. Washington every month of the year.
At the summit of Mount Washington
An hour ride and we were at the barren, breathtaking summit of Mount Washington.The summit is treeless, cold and empty . There you’ll find a cafeteria, an observatory and a museum anchored with chains over its roof.. Summit House is a concrete structure with wraparound viewing windows, a gift shop and a snack bar.A Sherman Adams Observation Center, named for a former New Hampshire governor .
After marveling this majestic panorama for about 30 minutes we reboarded the train the locomotive erupted into action and we were on our way back – the descent took about 50 minutes .
Despite that awful tragedy, the Mount Washington Cog Railway has the best safety record in the world.
Trains run from mid-April through November.
newer, more energy-efficient biodiesel trains. Biodiesel trains depart every hour on the half hour; steam trains make the first trip in the morning
Adults $72 biodiesel, $78 steam, ages 4-12 $41 biodiesel or steam, seniors 65-plus $68/$72.
Trains leave from the base station, called Marshfield for the railway’s founder, every day through Oct. 12, when the season ends.