Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway

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The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Reporting mark MPP
Locale El Paso County, Colorado, USA
Dates of operation 1889–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification none
Length 8.9 mi (14.3 km)
Headquarters Manitou Springs, Colorado
The Broadmoor Pike's Peak Railway
Technical
Line length 8.9 mi (14.3 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification none
Rack system Abt rack system

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 12 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.

History[edit]

Passengers aboard a train ca. 1890

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.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway locomotive and car, circa 1900

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.[1] 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[citation needed]. 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.

Manitou Incline[edit]

Night-time panorama of Colorado Springs as viewed from the Manitou Incline.

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.[2] Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation manages the Incline trail through an intergovernmental agreement.[3]

Today[edit]

Railway parked on the summit. It is snow-covered for most part of the year. This picture was taken in May.

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.

Locomotive Roster[edit]

[4]

No Built Manufacturer Type Builders Number Class Status Notes Photo
1 4/1890 Baldwin Locomotive Works Steam Locomotive 10835/13318 0-4-2T On display at the Colorado Railroad Museum Originally built as the "John Hulbert", rebuilt as a Vauclain Compound and numbered #1 in 3/1893
2 5/1890 Baldwin Locomotive Works Steam Locomotive 10919/13319 0-4-2T On Display in Manitou Springs Originally built as the "Manitou", renamed to "T.F. Richardson" at some point before 1898. Rebuilt as a Vauclain Compound and numbered #2 in 3/1893
3 5/1890 Baldwin Locomotive Works Steam Locomotive 10920/13324 0-4-2T Scrapped for parts Originally built as "Pike's Peak", rebuilt as a Vauclain Compound and numbered #3 in 3/1893
1st 4 5/1892 Baldwin Locomotive Works Steam Locomotive 12681 0-4-2T Wrecked 8/31/1896, scrapped The smallest engine the railway owned, was known as the "little 4". It was the first engine delivered as a Vauclain Compound, and its superiority over the previous 3 engines resulted in them being sent back to Baldwin to be rebuilt. Broke a side rod and ran away in August 1896
2nd 4 1/1897 Baldwin Locomotive Works Steam Locomotive 12681 0-4-2T Operational, run on special occasions with coach 104 Built to replaced wrecked #4. Built to the specifications of the original larger engines. #4 Was sent to the Colorado Railroad Museum after retirement in October 1968. It was then traded for #1 in November 1979.
5 4/1901 Baldwin Locomotive Works Steam Locomotive 18939 0-4-2T On display in front of Broadmoor Hall First engine built with an automatic brake. This engine was displayed at the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou for many years before being moved to the Broadmoor Hotel and put on display.
6 6/1906 Baldwin Locomotive Works Steam Locomotive 28401 0-6-0T Scrapped 1955 #6 was delivered as an Oil burner, it was converted to burn coal in 1907. #6 was the largest and most powerful engine delivered to the cog railway, however it suffered from mechanical issues and was usually the last engine in the lineups.
7 1938 Colorado Midland Shops Gas Railcar (Diesel) Stored Semi-serviceable #7 was built in the Colorado Midland shops in 1938 for the purpose of having a smaller piece of equipment to run that was cheaper to operate when the off season occurred. Originally GM powered with 707 gasoline engines, it was repowered by Cadillac V8 in the early 1950s and finally with a Cummins diesel in the 1990s.
8 1939 General Electric Diesel Electric Power car 12454 Stored Un-serviceable First GE Unit delivered to the railway, builders number 12454. It had 3 2 stroke General Motors 71 engines and internal Dynamic brakes. Was retired with the arrival of the Swiss units and robbed of parts to maintain other engines.
9 1946 General Electric Diesel Electric Power car 28372 Active Service for work trains. Unit 9 was powered by 2 Cummins NHS diesels as built. Later rebuilt to have twin Cummins 855 Diesels.
10 1950 General Electric Diesel Electric Power car 30279 Frame re-used for snowplow #22 Unit 10 was powered by 2 Cummins NHS diesels as built. The frame of this unit was the basis for snowplow 22.
11 1950 General Electric Diesel Electric Power car 30280 Active Service for work trains. Unit 11 was powered by 2 Cummins NHS diesels as built. Later rebuilt with Cummins 855 diesels.
12 1955 Manitou and Pikes Peak shops Diesel Electric Power car Rebuilt to unit 23 Built by the railroad shops, unit 12 was powered by 2 General Motors 110 diesels. Was built to the same body style as the GE built units. Rebuilt to Unit 23 1982.
14 1963 Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works Diesel-Electric 4441 BHM 2/4 Active service 78 Passenger. 14 was built with air cooled V8 diesels. These did not prove to be satisfactory on Pikes Peak and the unit was returned to Switzerland to be re-powered with Cummins 723's. Later replaced with Cummins 855's from units 18/19
15 1963 Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works Diesel Electric 4442 BHM 2/4 Active Service 78 Passenger. Built with Air Cooled V8's but never shipped with them. Received Cummins 723's and later 855's from units 18/19
16 1968 Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works Diesel Electric 4778 BHM 2/4 Active Service 78 Passenger. Built with Cummins 723's, re-powered with a big cam 855. Lacks the Vents found on 14 & 15. Lettered with US Railway Post Office Lettering in 1993 for the Centennial of America the Beautiful.
17 1968 Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works Diesel Electric 4779 BHM 2/4 Active Service 78 Passenger. Built with Cummins 723's, re-powered with 855's from units 18/19. Lacks the Vents found on 14 & 15.
18 1975 Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works Diesel Hydraulic BHM 4/8 Active Service 214 Passenger. Built with Cummins small cam 855's, later re-powered with big cam 855's. Unit was fully rewired and had new electronics installed in Winter 2016. Pikes-Peak-Cog-Railway Windy-Point Trains 2012-10-21.JPG
19 1975 Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works Diesel Hydraulic BHM 4/8 Active Service 214 Passenger. Built with Cummins small cam 855's, later re-powered with big cam 855's.
20 1934 Manitou and Pikes Peak Shops Gas Work Car Scrapped A self-propelled work truck built in the shops in 1934. Its original Pierce Arrow engine was replaced by #7's former 707 engine in the 1950s. Unit later received the number 20 and was scrapped in 1982. It was replaced in work service by a rebuilt unit 23.
21 1953 Manitou and Pikes Peak Shops Rotary Snowplow Scrapped Built in house in the 1950s, powered by General Motors 110 engines. This rotary snowplow proved to be unsuccessful in clearing large drifts from the track and it was replaced with snowplow 22.
22 1974 American Snowblast Snowplow, Diesel Hydraulic Active Service Built on the frame on GE #10. Fully Diesel Hydraulic with a Cummins 1710 V-12.
23 1982 Manitou and Pikes Peak shops Diesel Electric Power Car Rebuilt to unit 26 Shop built unit #12 was rebuilt to unit 23 following the scrapping of work car 20. It had a roll up door and single Cummins 855 for power. Sent off to be rebuilt in 2015
24 1983 Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works Diesel Hydraulic BHM 4/8 Active Service 214 Passenger. Delivered with Cummins 855's, First train delivered with mustard color interiors. Pikes-Peak-Cog-Railway Train-24 2012-10-21.JPG
25 1988 Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works Diesel Hydraulic BHM 4/8 Active Service 214 Passenger. Delivered with Cummins 855's. Features automotive style outboard headlights instead of the railroad center mounts.
26 2017 Diesel Electric power car Testing Formerly GE unit #12. Sent away for rebuild in 2015. Was returned to the railway October 30, 2017 and is currently undergoing testing.

-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.[5]

-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[edit]

No Builder Type Status Notes
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[edit]

Gallery of the line[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Famous Cog Railway Goes Streamline" Popular Science, November 1939
  2. ^ Manitou Incline Opens Friday, KRDO.com, Jan 31, 2013
  3. ^ Manitou Incline Site Development and Management Plan, manitouspringsgov.com, Feb 4, 2011
  4. ^ Abbott, Morris W. (1972). The Pike's Peak Cog Road. Pulpit Rock Press. p. 99. ISBN 0-9624008-2-3. 
  5. ^ Abbott, Morris W. (1972). The Pike's Peak Cog Road. Pulpit Rock Press. p. 163. ISBN 0-9624008-2-3. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°51′22″N 104°55′53″W / 38.85605°N 104.93130°W / 38.85605; -104.93130