ASME-Landmark:Manitou & Pike's Peak Cog Railway


The Manitou & Pike's Peak Railway, the Cog Road, is the highest railway in the United States and the highest rack railway in the world. Built by the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works under Wilhelm Hildebrand, it has been in continuous (seasonal) operation since 1891.The railway has transported more than three million passengers to Pike's Peak—and without a single passenger casualty.

Swiss engineer Roman Abt's rack and cog system was used for the railway track, providing two steel racks with open, upstanding teeth that mesh with the locomotive drive pinions for traction up the steep grade. The three original steam engines were ordered from the Baldwin Locomotive Works, each bearing frame inclined so that the boiler tubes were level when they stood on a 16 percent grade (the average of the road). In 1936, the railway began to modernize with a "Streamliner," a 24-passenger railcar powered by a gasoline engine. In 1939, the first diesel-electric locomotive, built by the General Electric Company, was put in operation.

Four of the oldest steam engines, retired by 1958, are displayed at the Manitou Springs Station, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, and the Colorado Railway Museum in Golden. Diesel-hydraulic railcars, the first articulated trains on any rack road, now climb to the summit, each with a 214-passenger capacity, running every eight minutes during summer daylight hours. See ASME website for more information