Saturday, September 28, 2019

Mt. Washington, Mt. Rigi, the Cog Railway

Just back from a 3300 mile road trip to New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Maine.  It was fun but exhausting.  While in New Hampshire visiting family, we had the opportunity to do something that we promised ourselves we would do someday - take the Cog Railway to the top of Mt. Washington.

A few years back while in Switzerland we went up Mt. Rigi in the Swiss Alps.  It was an excursion prior to going on a Viking River cruise.  As it turned out, we were the only ones who signed up that day and that meant we had the undivided attention of the guide.  Our guide was very good; she provided us with an incredible amount of information.  While we were waiting for the train at the Vitznau station, Prisca (our guide) told us that the cog railway that we would ride on was the first one built in Europe, built two years after the first cog railway in the world in Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, USA.

Once we heard that, knowing there would be more trips to New Hampshire to see our daughter, we decided someday we'd go on that cog railway also.

Sign on wall at the Cog Railway station in Mt. Washington, New Hampshire

So What is a Cog Railway?

A cog railway, according to the dictionary, is a steep mountain railroad that has an extra rail with cogs engaged by a cogwheel on the locomotive to ensure traction.

The cog wheel 

Bridge has a grade of 37%, steepest part of the trip up

Tundra & view top of Mt. Washington
The tundra and view from the top of Mt. Washington is very different than the view we had on Mt. Rigi!

An interesting side note on Mt. Washington, highest wind speed ever recorded:

 Wind - 231 MPH! 

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