Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway
|Locale||El Paso County, Colorado, USA|
|Dates of operation||1889–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||8.9 mi (14.3 km)|
|Headquarters||Manitou Springs, Colorado|
|The Broadmoor Pike's Peak Railway|
|Line length||8.9 mi (14.3 km)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Rack system||Abt rack system|
|Manitou Springs, Colorado|
The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway (also known as the Pikes Peak Cog Railway) is an Abt rack system cog railway with 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge track in Colorado, USA, climbing the well-known mountain Pikes Peak. The base station is in Manitou Springs, Colorado near Colorado Springs.
The railway is the highest in North America by a considerable margin. It was built and is operated solely for the tourist trade.
The railway was started by Zalmon G. Simmons, inventor and founder of the Simmons Beautyrest Mattress Company. The company was founded in 1889 and limited service to the Halfway House Hotel was started in 1890. On June 30, 1891, the first train reached the summit.
A number of steam locomotives were built for the line by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, all rack-only locomotives with steeply inclined boilers to keep them level on the average 16% grades. Operating steam locomotives on such a line was back-breaking work and expensive, so when more modern forms of traction became available, the railway was eager to modernize.
A gasoline-powered railcar #7 was constructed in 1938. It was designed to be a cheaper alternative to the steam locomotives enabling economic service during quieter times of the year. Proving a huge success, the railway soon bought more internal combustion engined trains. This car is still on property having been re-engined with a more modern Cummins diesel.
The next were five 'streamlined' diesel locomotives from General Electric, which were equipped with matching passenger cars, acquired from 1939 onward. These slowly supplanted the steam locomotives, though some steam operations persisted until the 1960s as backup power and to operate the snow-clearing train (where their greater weight meant they were less likely to derail). A number of the steam locomotives are now on static display, in Manitou and elsewhere, and the Railway still has an operational steam locomotive (#4) and an original coach. The steam locomotive was put out of service for many years before being retrieved from a museum and brought back to service in 1980.
In 1964 the railway needed more equipment, but General Electric was not interested in the business. The railway went abroad, to Switzerland, home of most of the world's cog railways. In 1964, the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works in Winterthur provided two bright red railcars (railcars contain a seating compartment as well as engineer stand, eliminating the need for a separate pushing locomotive), very similar to equipment used on many Swiss railways. Unit 14 was delivered in 1964 with a pair of air cooled 8 cylinder diesel engines that proved to be less than satisfactory on the railroad above treeline. Unit 14 was returned to Switzerland and redesigned to have facilities for water cooling. Unit 14's twin, Unit 15, was also rebuilt to house a pair of water cooled Cummins 724's. Two more (Units 16 and 17) were built in 1968 to increase the railroads capacity. All four of these units eventually received new Cummins 855 diesels. As of 2017 all four original Swiss trains are still in operation at the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
As tourism increased in the 1970s the railway needed more capacity. In 1976 M&PPRy took delivery of two larger two-car articulated railcars from the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works of Winterthur, designated Train 18 and Train 19. Passing sidings were built in several places at about the same time, allowing trains to pass at various points on the mountainside. Trains could previously pass only at the Mountain View siding, permitting only three trains a day up the mountain. Eight trains per day became possible with the new equipment and sidings (two additional larger railcars were delivered from SLM; Unit 24 in 1984 and the last, Unit 25, in 1989).
Rolling stock on the M&PPRy consists of four 214-passenger articulated Swiss-built railcars, four 78-passenger Swiss-built railcars, four GE built locomotives (one being rebuilt in 2017 to modern specifications), one snowplow (#22 - built upon the frame of a GE locomotive), one 23-passenger diesel railcar (#7), one steam locomotive (#4 - built by Baldwin), a Winter-Weiss "streamliner" coach, and an original Wasson wooden coach (#104). Only the Swiss-built railcars carry regular passengers. The steam locomotive and passenger coaches are used on rare special occasions.
More commonly called simply the Manitou Incline, the Mount Manitou Scenic Incline Railway — actually a funicular up the side of a peak called Rocky Mountain located adjacent to Mount Manitou — was operated by the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway until the Incline was closed by a rockslide in 1990. This line's lower terminus was adjacent to the Cog Railway base station in Manitou Springs. The Manitou Incline averaged almost a 40% grade, gaining 2,011 feet (613 m) in elevation over a length of approximately 1 mile (1.6 km), with the maximum grade being 68%.
The Manitou Incline was initially built in 1907 for use in construction of city water lines and a hydroelectric plant. When the construction was finished, the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway took over the cable car as a tourist operation.
From 1990 forward, the defunct Incline had been controversial because, although legally off-limits to the public, its roadbed was heavily used for recreation and exercise by people ignoring the trespassing signs. It became legal to use the Incline on February 1, 2013. Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation manages the Incline trail through an intergovernmental agreement.
As of 2017 the railway owns enough equipment (railcars and snow plows) to run six to eight trains per day from mid-May through mid-September. During "off-peak" months (mid-September through mid-December and mid-March through mid-May), from one to five trains are run per day, with additional trains added if there is sufficient demand.
The railway was usually closed from mid-December through mid-March unless the snow plows were able to clear the line, but in 2006 the railway began year-round service. The winter service varies according to demand: in January, for example, trains run once a day on weekends and holidays. These Winter operations were suspended on October 29, 2017 for maintenance to the railway.
-All steam locomotives were rebuilt in 1912 with new frames and rod arrangements in the Manitou shops using kits supplied by Baldwin Locomotive works. This resulted in all engines having boilers of 44 inches in diameter, 19.7 Square feet of grate area, a total heating surface of 576 square feet, and a water capacity of 600 gallons. These engines would burn slightly under 1 ton of coal per trip.
-The Diesel Hydraulic units 18/19/24/25 were built with transmissions built by twin disk in Wisconsin. These had Voith hydraulic retarders installed to the transmissions. In 1997, units 18 and 19 received new turbo transmissions with built in retarders from Voith. A total of 9 transmissions were ordered in 1997, one being a spare. In 2003, units 24 and 25 also received the Voith transmissions.
Rolling Stock Roster
|101||Wason Manufacturing Company||Wooden Coach||Scrapped||Was 1 of 6 coaches built for the railway in the 1890s. The coaches were originally named "Leadville", "Colorado Springs", "Cripple Creek", "Aspen", "Denver", and "Salida". These cars were later given numbers 101-105, with one of the named cars being scrapped. There is no record as to which car name became which number or which car was scrapped. It was originally planned that each engine would push 2 cars, and with 3 engines, 6 cars were ordered. It has been suggested that testing with 2 coaches being pushed with a test load on board resulted in the 2nd coach buckling and this practice was never used in actual service. This may have also been the reason why 1 coach was scrapped and never received a number.|
|102||Wason Manufacturing Company||Wooden Coach||Scrapped|
|103||Wason Manufacturing Company||Wooden Coach||Scrapped|
|104||Wason Manufacturing Company||Wooden Coach||In service||Retained by the railroad and restored for occasional operation.|
|105||Wason Manufacturing Company||Wooden Coach||Scrapped|
|106||American Car Company||Wooden Coach||Retired and used as depot building at Mountain View||Coach #106 was built by the American Car Company of St. Louis in July 1906. Described as a Brill Semi-convertible type coach with an arched roof. It was considerably heavier and larger than the earlier coaches and was built to be run with the much larger engine #6. The coach was too heavy for the other engines to run with and it was relegated to special occasional use with engine #6. Sometime after the delivery of engine #8, coach 106 was set out on the spur at mountain view to be used as a bunk house. It was later cut down in size and had its trucks removed. It resides at Mountain View as the depot to this day.|
|Coach 8||Winter Weiss Company||Streamlined Steel Coach||Retired, in a field West of Peyton, Colorado||Coach #8 was the first streamlined coach built for the railroad in the Summer of 1939. It lacked the glass roof of the later streamlined cars. It was retired with the arrival of the Swiss units and relocated to the Rock Island depot in Falcon, CO. After the abandonment of the trackage through Falcon, the coach was relocated to a section of the former Fort Worth and Denver trackage just west of Peyton, Colorado.|
|Coach 9||Winter Weiss Company||Streamlined Steel Coach||Retired, disposition unknown||Coach #9 arrived with unit 9 in 1947. Built with a steel frame and Aluminum body, it featured a Glass roof and could seat 52 passengers.|
|Coach 10||Winter Weiss Company||Streamlined Steel Coach||Retired, disposition unknown||Delivered in 1950 with Unit 10.|
|Coach 11||Winter Weiss Company||Streamlined Steel Coach||Retired, disposition unknown||Delivered in 1950 with Unit 11.|
|Coach 12||Winter Weiss Company||Streamlined Steel Coach||In Service||Delivered in 1955 with Unit 12. This car is painted in the red paint scheme of the Swiss units and still sees occasional service.|
Not included in this roster is the work equipment the railway has used throughout the years. These cars do not carry numbers and the records for these cars is limited. The original order of wooden coaches from Wason contained 2 flat cars, and these were later supplemented by one of the wooden coaches being cut down to make a longer flat car. One of these flat cars was usually left below the depot and the other was kept at Minnehaha. Later these 2 flat cars were rebuilt with steel underframes. Today there are 2 flat cars on property, a flatcar with a wedge plow and steel deck for work train service, and a flatcar with a wooden deck and crane used around the shop. The steel flatcar with the snowplow wedge is used to clear snow when not enough accumulation has occurred to warrant the snowplow. It features a hydraulic dump to assist with unloading snow.
Gallery of old engines
Preserved Baldwin Engine No. 1 on public display at the Colorado Railroad Museum, December 2007.
Preserved Baldwin Engine No. 2 on public display in Manitou Springs, October 2012.
Preserved Baldwin Engine No. 5 on public display at Manitou Springs Depot, Sept 2006.
Gallery of the line
- "Famous Cog Railway Goes Streamline" Popular Science, November 1939
- Manitou Incline Opens Friday, KRDO.com, Jan 31, 2013
- Manitou Incline Site Development and Management Plan, manitouspringsgov.com, Feb 4, 2011
- Abbott, Morris W. (1972). The Pike's Peak Cog Road. Pulpit Rock Press. p. 99. ISBN 0-9624008-2-3.
- Abbott, Morris W. (1972). The Pike's Peak Cog Road. Pulpit Rock Press. p. 163. ISBN 0-9624008-2-3.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway.|
- Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway home page
- Information on the Manitou Incline trail
- The Pikes Peak Web site