Adventurers in New England
Mount Washington Cog Railway,
Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad
June 22, 2015
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Today's journey began
after a quick breakfast in Lincoln and then we headed
north on US 3. We continued on US 3 to Twin Mountain
and the junction with US 302. We continued east now on
US 302 to Bretton Woods and then just 6 miles on Base
Station Road to Mount Washington Cog Railway and
The Mount Washington Cog
Marking the entrance at the highway.
Marshfield Base Station.
Begin your excursion to
the highest peak in the Northeast at Marshfield Base
Station. Here you can peruse the gift shop, walk the railway
museum and grab a bite to eat while observing the busy train
operations before they ascend the mountain. Spring through
fall, the fleet of ten trains climbs to Mount Washington
State Park at a peak elevation of 6,288 feet. On a clear
day, the view extends all the way to the Atlantic Ocean,
while other days you literally climb into - and sometimes
above - the clouds. And, as it has been since its inception
in 1869, a trip on the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the
only cog railway east of the Rockies, is a must -do
adventure for anyone visiting New England.
View from base station parking lot.
This will be our train for the trip to the top. Vintage
coal-fired steam is the first train in the morning.
Start of track up the mountain.
Later, when we were coming down from the top, we will pass
this train as it sits on a siding.
Click for cog
railway video. Click back button on your browser to return
to this page.
A green future for the Cog. As concern over the environment
has increased, biodiesel has become the fuel of choice. In
addition to the existing fleet of antique steam engines, The
Cog now has a fleet of five biodiesel locomotives that have
been completely design and built at the railway. The many
new technologies built into the biodiesel locomotives have
created the opportunity to add more trains to the schedule.
Chris and I walked down the
hill to take photos of the trains.
Whoa! Don't move! End of line.
Transfer table for transporting equipment between shops.
As we were taking pictures,
a couple of workers came over to chat. We told them that we
had just spent the past week in Vermont at the 2015 NHRS
convention and were going to spend this week seeing as much of
the rest of New England that we could cram in. Riding The Cog
was high on both our bucket lists we said and were taking
pictures for stories we were going to write about our trip.
They then offered to give us a quick peek of the shops if we
wanted. Well Yea!!!
All the engines and cars are made and repaired on site in these
Belt drive for distribution of power to machines.
A new eco-friendly biodiesel engine waiting for a cab.
The fine work of a machinist.
Pit for under carriage inspection and repair.
Steam engine getting a new paint job.
Blueprints in the wood shop.
Supports for seats in new coaches.
After a tour of the inside,
the workers took us outside to the real treasures.
Example of the crud that builds up on equipment.
And more here too.
We finished our tour and
thanked the workers for their time and the opportunity to look
around. We then walked back up to the Marshfield Base Station.
The clouds have gotten lower since we arrived.
First in the World
The Mount Washington Cog Railway was the first
mountain-climbing cog railway in the world. The building of
the railway began in 1866,with the first excursion to the
top on July 3, 1869, marking 2015 as the 145th anniversary
of operation. Sylvester Marsh of Campton, NH, designed and
built the now-famous Cog Railway, while living in nearby
Littleton. Several years before the Cog's opening, Marsh
climbed Mount Washington with a friend and was caught in a
fierce storm that forced them to stay the night on the
mountainside. Having almost perished in the frigid cold,
Marsh set about to invent a mountain-climbing train so
everyone could get to the top in comfort and safety.
Laughed at and scorned by the New
Hampshire Legislature, Marsh was reluctantly allowed to
build his "Railway to the Moon." The Mount Washington Cog
Railway was designated a National Historic Engineering
Landmark and is part of our American heritage. The current
owners, also New Hampshire natives, have been stewards of
the Cog for more than 30 years.
Old time steam roller.
Named after the river that we will cross soon on our ride.
It was now time to board for our 9:15 am departure.
Limited view before departure. The switches slide as one piece.
Happy riders in our car.
Our tour guide and brakeman. His narration was excellent
Ammonoosuc River. The namesake of our steam engine.
New Hampshire wildflowers.
There is a lot to see on a clear day.
We will be going around the train on the siding with the switch
in that position.
Steam engine will use 1,000 gallons of water for round trip and
burn a ton of coal.
Trusses are numbered the whole way for easy location. There are
14 miles of railway.
to see map. Click back button on your browser to return to
We made it.
Chris and Robin hanging on to caps on a windy, cold, wet day.
Observatory deck and snack bar area. I had a bowl of hot clam
chowder. It was rainy and snowy outside.
Mount Washington Weather Museum
Past equipment use at the weather observatory.
The Appalachian Trail crosses the mountain top here at the
# 2 waiting to take us back down the mountain to base station.
View as we begin our trip down from the summit.
Train heading for the top waiting for us to pass.
Eco-friendly biodiesel locomotive.
On our way up the mountain, the docent/brakeman was giving the
narration. On the way back down the mountain it was his job to
brake our car to keep it from pushing the engine down the grade.
By manually applying the hand brake, he is able to keep our
distance from the engine. He was busier than an one-armed paper
Riders debriefing after their ride on the Mt. Washington Cog
The first cog railway locomotive, "Ol' Pepperass" (so named for
its pepper sauce bottle shape.)
After our wonderful
adventure of going to the top of Mt. Washington, we had to
leave and get on the road. We give thanks to the Cog Railway
for all their help.
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Leaving the mountain, we
travel to US 302 going west to US 3, then north to Rte 115 and
meet up to US 2.
Fabyan's Station Restaurant & Lounge.
This restaurant is located in a restored railroad station in the
heart of the White Mountains at the Jct of US 302 and the access
road to Cog Railway.
Heading east on US 2 we
arrive at our next stop. I noticed that the major highways are
numbered in small digits because they start in the Northeast
part of the country.
In my part of the country, in the
southwest, we have the higher numbers , and a three digit, US
1951 Russell Snow Plow
1911 Baldwin 0-6-0, rescued from the scrap pile in 1986.
1949 F-7 B & M diesel.
Click for Railroad Museum.
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After leaving Gorham, we continued east on US 2 to the
state of Maine. A few miles out of Gorham, we crossed the
Appalachian Trail. Entering Maine we continued on US 2 till
West Peru where we take Rte 142 to the hamlet of Phillips,
Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad
We were deep in the woods of
Maine, going down side roads, dirt roads and dirt trails when
we arrived at this gem of Maine history. We were met by two
nice gentleman, Ray and Ryan who gave us a tour of the
buildings and equipment.
They were agreeable to start up #4 and offered us a ride on
They had to move # 4 out of the roundhouse and onto the turn
table to hook up with car # 559.
Our ride today. #559 built 1988.
Backing up to attach # 559. View from back of loco.
View out of cupola on #559.
It was a short ride through the thick forest to the
End of Line.
Chris bought a tee shirt and I bought a cap in the nice gift
Our photo runby.
Click for SR
& RL RR video. Click back button on your browser to
return to this page.
During our ride we received a
short oral history of Maine. Over one hundred and twenty years
ago transportation deep in the woods of Maine was limited to
wagon trails and horse paths. At that time the narrow gauge
railroads were the answer and the savior. There were many
short lines that crisscrossed the state in an integrated
transportation system. Dairy farmers had a way to get their
milk and butter to markets, students had transportation to
school and citizens were able to leave home, traveling,
experiencing and exploring the world. Then the automobiles
appeared with their paved roads and the narrow gauge railroads
disappeared. Fortunately we have a few of these surviving
railroads trying to keep their part of history alive.
Railroads such as the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes
Railroad deserve our help and support.
Sandy Lakes & Rangeley RR. Click back button on your
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After saying goodby to our
helpful ambassadors, we headed south and west toward New
Hampshire. Later, as it was dinner time, we stopped in Mexico
for a sandwich at the local Subway shop. Then it was time for
our next stop in Newry, ME.
Sunday River Bridge
aka The Artists Bridge
for GPS map. Click back button on your browser to return to
for bridge information. Click back button on your browser to
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Located near the Maine and New Hampshire state line.
Our last stop of the day was for the
Honeymoon bridge in Jackson.
Jackson NH Covered Bridge
Honeymoon Bridge spanning the Ellis River at junction of Rte
16 and Rte 16A.
Sidewalk side of bridge on the upstream side.
more on Honeymoon Bridge. Click back button on your browser
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Tonight we will be resting
our heads at Perry's Motel & Cottages, Intervale, NH and
close to tomorrow's starting point to ride Conway Scenic
Railroad in North Conway Village, NH.