Mt. Washington--up the cog railway

cog railway museum

The entrance to the museum at the bottom of the cog was rainy when we started the trip.

the cog railway track

This was the first cog railway in the US (well, now there are two) built in 1869. Since the grade is too steep (up to 37%) for a conventional railroad (and too long for a cable-car system) the train is driven by gears on the bottom of the engine which mesh with an endless series of gear teeth mounted between the rails.

cog railway train

The boiler on the engine is tilted relative to the rest of the train, so that it will be level during the climb. The engines are manually coal fired--something the environmentalists don't like. The Appalachian Trail crosses the tracks near the summit.

on a siding

There is only a single track, so during the three-mile trip (at maybe 5 mph while you are moving) you have to stop on a couple of sidings to allow other trains to pass. The switches are very complicated since they involve not only the train tracks but also the gear teeth racks..

The top of Mt. Washington

Trust me, the summit of Mt. Washington is behind this sign. It was about 50F and misting, with very little wind.
the top of New England

One of the towers on top of the observatory building. The highest wind speed in the world, 231 mph, was recorded here in 1934.

Mt. Washington Observatory

The entrance to the observatory, part of the museum and tourist exhibit building. The observatory is a weather station and scientific research site. The present structure was built in the 1960's (?). Once upon a time there was a big hotel on top of the mountain; the cog railway was originally constructed for tourists. Now there is also a highway to the top from the east side of the mountain; the railway approaches from the west.

remember Maine!!

A view inside the train car on the way down. By the time we got to the bottom it was starting to clear up.

Old Man of the Mountain

We stopped in Franconia Notch on the way back, for a look at the Great Stone Face, which since has gone away...

on board

Documentation that Bill Spindler was in Maine--at last, I visit my 50th state (this was on Friday on the way towards Boston). George Bush wasn't home.

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