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6147Re: [FJGRailroad] Mt. Washington Cog Railway (Re: trolleys to Chicago)

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  • Malcolm Horton
    Jan 3, 2002
      Everyone interested in railroads should make it a point to ride the Mt. Washington cog railroad. It is virtually the same as it was when it was built in 1868. All the trains are steam powered (hand fired with coal). There is never more than one passenger car to a train and it is always on the uphill side of the locomotive. There is no coupling between the locomotive and the car. Gravity alone keeps them in touch. One has a horizontal steel roller and the other has a vertical steel roller at their point of contact, to allow for gross misalignment. The maximum grade is 35% (climb is 35 feet for 100 feet of track). There are no level sections. The locomotive boilers are short and large in diameter and are tilted forward with respect to the plane of the four wheels. This is necessary to prevent the water from uncovering the flue pipes when on the steep grades. When going upgrade, a hinged pawl on the underside of the car is let down and bounces along on the gear rack. This is to prevent the car from rolling backward in case the locomotive derails and leaves the scene. When going down hill, the pawl is fully raised and the brakeman on the lower end of the car constantly mans the brakes such that the car is just barely touching the locomotive. This is to prevent the car from running away if the locomotive derails. The fireman has to work very hard when going uphill for obvious reasons. When going downhill, the pistons are used as air compressors to hold the train back. Steam is only turned on to stop the locomotive. Obviously the fireman has very little to do when going downhill. The switches are very complicated and require several separate manual operations to switch both the running rails and the gear track.
      Don't put off going to see this mechanical marvel. Someday you may read that they have gone to diesel operation and then it will be too late.
      The ride is not very bumpy because the speed is always very slow. Because of the steep grades, you feel like you are lying on your back with your feet in the air.
      Malcolm Horton
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Richard A. Finn
      Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 1:18 AM
      To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [FJGRailroad] Mt. Washington Cog Railway (Re: trolleys to Chicago)

      I have been told by a friend who did the trip on the Cog Railway that it is a very jarring ride and a once (only once) in a lifetime experience.  We did the auto road once in July.  Temperature was in the low 80s at the base, and 37 at the summit.  The wind chill is very severe.  The summit is about 6,300 feet.


      glenn_j_williams wrote:

       --- In FJGRailroad@y..., "Dicarlo, Gino" <Gino.Dicarlo@q...> wrote:
      > Isn't there a Mount Washington in New Hampshire that could be
      > reached by some sort of a trolley or tram?
      > Gino


      You're thinking of the Mount Washington Cog Railway, a truly unique

      railroad.  It runs from the base to the summit, including a meet with
      a train from the other direction.  Cog railway switches are something
      to see.

      Anyone going to visit it should bring warm clothes, as the summit
      never gets above 65 degrees and is frequently in the clouds.  Be
      warned, too: it's an expensive trip.


      Visit Gino's F.J.G.R.R. Page at

      Visit The Greater Capital District Railfan Assocation At http://www.trainweb.com/gcdra/

      Visit The Site For Existing Railroad Stations
      in New York State at

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