Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway

We decided to splurge a bit and take the train up to the top of Pike’s Peak (we certainly were not going to hike it, and driving up was virtually out of the question as well).  This railroad has been serving the tourist trade since the 1890s.  It is not an ordinary train as it climbs about 7,500 feet to reach the top with grades as high as 25%.  In order to make this climb, the railway employs a cog system.  It is probably easier to show what that means with a couple of pictures.


The trip takes about an hour and a half each way as the trail climbs up through forests, past rock formations then above the tree line to the peak of the mountain.  Below is a picture of two trains passing on the tracks.  There are diesel engines, generators and electric motors at the banks of wheels on each end of the car.  Also shown below is what the system looked like in 1949 when a separate locomotive pushed the passenger car up the mountain.  We know that it was 1949 as the picture was taken by Gary’s Grandparents  when they visited there that year.


The air is thin at top with an elevation over 14,000 above sea level.  It was somewhat cloudy and it was snowing a bit but we were able to snap a couple pictures from Pike’s Peak.


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