“All aboard” the conductor enthusiastically welcomed the crowd out of the rain and into the shelter of the purple cog railway train car. We were very ready to board. After over an hour drive we has arrived just in time to miss our scheduled 1:30 train ride. Which left us attempting to catch the next one at 2:30. We had waited over 45 minutes outside in the wind and light drizzle since visiting the museum, gift shop and restaurant inside the visitors center only took about 15 minutes to go through. The girls munched on penny candy while I ate a few NECCO wafers. The entire experience made me reminisce on that summer in the late 90’s, when my parents decided we would do mini trips across new England instead of one big vacation.
It is one of the most memorable summers of my childhood visiting Mt.Washington, the Man on the Mountain, the flume, and Ruggles Mine. Having settled back in New Hampshire unexpectedly I now hope to revisit these spots with my husband, a California native, and share a piece of my history with him.
We let our friends with children take the front seats and sat in the second row and listened to the train operator/tour guide describe the railway. The cog has been around since 1869 and is believed to be the world’s first mountain climbing cog railway. It was funded and created by Sylvester Marsh whom believed he could create an easier way to get up the mountain after hiking it himself in 1852. He was widely mocked by state legislators and beyond for the suggestion that he could build a railway that would support the steep grade up the mountain. Even though they thought his idea was impossible they still approved his attempt to try. After fronting $5,000 of his own money to get construction off the ground his project started in May 1866 and it was finished in 1869.
Today the cog railway is a multi-million-dollar business owned by two private families and continues to operate spring-fall. It is still the easiest way to reach the top of the mountain due to strict vehicle regulations on the auto-road. We had a wonderful time visiting the mountain and cog railway.
For more information about Mt. Washington State Park and the Cog Railway you can watch this video:
Additional Tips and Information:
– Ticket Cost as of July 2018: $57 for a regular adult, $50 for veterans
– The railroad is on the opposite side of the mountain as the road to drive up. Be sure you have the correct address otherwise you could spend on extra hour going to the wrong side.
– Bring snacks and drinks with you before arriving. There’s one gas station nearby that’s a little overpriced but prices on food and drinks only gets higher at the Cog visitor center and even higher at the top of the mountain.
-Check the weather before heading up, it’s always colder and more windy on the top of the mountain. I suggest you bring layers even in the middle of the summer.
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