Photography . . . Travel . . .

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mt. Washington Cog Railway - New Hampshire

One of the more interesting stops during our Fall of 2008 wander around New England (see previous post) was the Mt. Washington Cog Railway, which takes you to the top of Mt. Washington at an exciting 3.5 miles an hour (unless they need to shovel snow out of the way, then it goes a little slower).


Mt. Washington, at 6,288', is the highest point in New England. It is also known for having the worst weather in the continental U.S., and is thus home to a rather large weather research station. There is a toll-road you can drive to the top during good weather, but this looked like a lot more fun. 


Construction of the Cog Railway was completed in 1869, and it has been used ever since for its intended purpose of taking tourists to the top of Mt. Washington. The base station is at 2,700' elevation, and the 4 mile or so trip takes a little over an hour one-way. The single passenger car is pushed up the mountain by a coal-fired engine that burns over a ton of coal for each round trip. The steam boiler uses about 1,000 gal. of water, and the 750 gal. tank has to be refilled along the way. At one of the steeper points the grade is 37.14%, which means that the passengers seated in the front of the car are 14' higher up than the ones in the back.


When we got to the base station it was about 44F and lightly raining, which made for some great steam pictures.




We watched a few earlier trains go up and down while we waited for our train.






They told us at the bottom station that the day before there had been some brief bits of snow, the first of the season, and that we might get lucky and see some snow at the top. As we climbed it started getting foggier, and colder. Our seats were at the "front" of the car (the passenger car is pushed up the hill by the engine). We had a great view (well, sort of) through the open door.




After a while that fog turned to snow, and the crew had to walk in front of the train clearing the track. Here you can see the descending train waiting on a small siding for our ascending train to pass.




The excursion allows about 20 minutes at the summit. There is a gift shop, snack bar, and Park service offices and museum. Conditions at the summit were a bit different from those at the base station. The temp was 27F, wind was 29 MPH, and the peak wind speed over the previous 24-hour period had been clocked at 79 MPH. So . . . here is the picture from our Fall Colors trip to New England with the least amount of color. This could probably have been taken in black & white and except for the skin tones you wouldn't even notice. You can just see our train waiting in the background. Look closely and you can also see the effect of the wind. 



Quite a change for a native of Southern California.
  

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.