Mt. Washington Cog Keeps Steam Working on Northeast’s Tallest Peak

Along with morning and evening runs, the Cog is running steam halfway up the mountain in the middle of the day. Three steam-powered trains are seen above the treeline on the west slope of Mount Washington in October 2002. Photo by Justin Franz. 

Mt. Washington Cog Keeps Steam Working on Northeast’s Tallest Peak

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

Steam power still has its place on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Cog, with three daily steam trips on its summer and fall schedule.

From 1869 until 2008, steam ruled the west slope of Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the Northeast. Constructed in the 1860s, the Mount Washington Cog Railway was the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railroad. But in the late 2000s, diesel locomotives began to replace most steam locomotives. For a few years, only the first run of the day up the hill featured steam.

But in recent years, the Cog has offered three steam excursions per day; the first and last runs of the day go all the way to the summit and this summer it’s running a Mid-Mountain Steam Special departs Base Station at noon. The midday special replaces a previously scheduled steam run that went all the way to the top. 

Presently, there are two steam locomotives in service: Locomotive 2 Ammonoosuc was built in 1875, and 9 Waumbek was constructed in 1908. Both locomotives were built by the Manchester Locomotive Works, which later became part of the American Locomotive Company. 

For more information, visit thecog.com

Editor’s Note: The story was updated to note that the mid-day run was offered in past years as well. 

This article was posted on: June 28, 2023