Friday, November 5, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - Pikes Peak Cog Train

I love POSTCARD FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY. Every week I dig through my collection and find an interesting card or two or three of a place. Then I research it. I have learned so much about places near and far. Of places that no longer exist and those that have evolved with time. Today I am sharing Pikes Peak Cog Train. I am happy to say it has evolved with time.

A cog railway is a railway with a toothed rack rail, usually between the running rails. The trains are fitted with one or more cog wheels that mesh with the rack rail allowing the train to operate on steep grades. Most cog railways are mountain railways. More about cog railways here on Wikipedia.

You can see the cog rail in the middle of the track.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

In 1889, the Manitou & Pike's Peak Railway Company was founded and track construction began in earnest. Top wages were 25 cents per hour. Six workers died in blasting and construction accidents. The Age of Steam predominated the late 1800’s, and from Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, three engines were delivered in 1890. Limited service was initiated in that year to the Halfway House Hotel . These locomotives were eventually converted to operate upon the Vauclain Compound principle, and a total of six were in service during the "steam" era. The original three were named "Pike’s Peak," "Manitou" and "John Hulbert," but they soon were assigned numbers. Of the original six, only #4 is still in operation and along with a restored coach makes infrequent trips short distances up the track.
Summit House pictured here was built around 1900. The current Summit House was built in 1963. Today you can shop and eat at the cafe at the summit.
My final vintage postcard of Pikes Peak cog trains.
This train was in service about 1938.
You can see the cog rail in this postcard!

  • Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote the words to “America the Beautiful” after a trip to the summit in the late 1800's! HERE
  • There are 91 peaks above 14,000 feet in the United States? Of that 54 are in Colorado, 21 in Alaska, 15 in California and one in Washington! HERE
  • The first cog railway (rack railway or rack-and-pinion railway) operated in England in 1812. The first in the US was in New Hampshire in 1868. HERE
More about Pikes Peak
Thanks to Beth at
for hosting Postcard Friendship Friday!
Go HERE to see more great postcards!


Snap said...

Fun post. I love trains/trams and love learning something new. I've been to Colorado, but not to Pikes Peak. Something for The list!!! Happy PFF!

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I love the viewing platform on top of the old building. I hope the new one is as interesting.

Bob of Holland said...

Again a very enjoyable post. When you described how you create a PFF post around unknown places and the postcards of these places, it sounded like what I try to do with forgotten European film stars, their postcards and their life stories. I really like to travel virtually with PFF, in time and all over the world. Thanks.

viridian said...

Great post. I have been up the cog railway and it is well worth it!! It is very steep in places.

Funoldhag said...

Great cards. I probably would never ride on that train as I am pretty wimpy when it comes to things like that! Shame on me. Carol

Brian PaperSponge said...

That's one snazzy cog train! Almost like a VW bus.

Dorincard said...

Great set of postcards, great rack (and pinion, too), COGent post.