Taking the Cog Railway to the Top of Pikes Peak

The cog railway operated through Pikes Peak mountain, it was an abt rack system railway that operated on 4 ft 8 1/2 gauge track. The railway ceased operations as of march 15th 2018 due to the infrastructure needed replaced or upgraded. The cog railway was started by a man named Zalmon G Simmons, he founded the company in 1889 and in 1890 it offered a limited service that lead to the Halfway House Hotel, in the summer of 1891 the first train cart made it to the summit of pikes peak.

The train used to be powered on steam and sent up a 16% incline to reach to summit, as times changed so to did the power source behind the train cart. In 1938, the first gasoline powered train was introduced, it was cheaper and more efficient than the back breaking work needed to power the steam carts. The carts were working at a better rate but were still modernizing to catch up with changing times. Soon the train carts went from gasoline to diesel powered engines and this persisted up until 1960. Many of the steam locomotives were put on display for the public to view, one steam powered locomotive was still left in service up until the railway’s closure. The train carts were used to climb the mountain at pikes peak and give passengers a scenic view of the mountain and valley below. The train used to run a course on what is known as the Manitou Incline, this incline stretched for one mile up the side of the mountain and climbed a staggering 2,011 ft along its journey, this was a 40% grade incline with parts reaching 68%.

In more recent years, as of 2017, the railway owned enough equipment to operate 6-8 rail cars per day during the months of September-December and March-May. One to five trains were used per day unless the demand for them exceeded expectations, in which case more were added. The trains were generally closed from mid December to mid March unless snow plows were able to clear the train tracks and line. In March of 2018 it was announced that the railway would be closed indefinitely until the tracks received proper studies and upgraded to meet safety standards.

In November of 2018 it was confirmed that tax incentives were approved and reconstruction could officially begin in the spring of 2019 with an expected reopening by 2021. The projects seeks to have all parts of the track replaced and the Manitou Springs depot completely remodeled and upgraded. The train care #14-#17 are to be retired to make way for three new modern rail cars that can carry a capacity of 240 passengers each. Train care #18-#19 and cars #24-#25 will be remodeled and remain in active service. The railway towered as the highest in North America and it left a wide margin in being so. The railway was built and operated solely for the purpose of tourist transportation.