Colorado is home to one of only two cog railways in the nation and it was built specifically to carry tourists to the top of Pikes Peak.
The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is one special train. “This is not an ordinary train,” said Dave Donatto, the railway traffic manager. “This is what is called a cog railway, it’s a kind of gear.”
Those gears will pull the passengers cars up the side of the mountain the to 14,100 foot summit of Pikes Peak.
“A lot of people drive up there, ” said Donatto, “but there a lot of other people who would rather take a train and leaving the driving to us.”
The first passengers to take the train did so in June 1891. The train was built by Zalmon Simmons.
He rode a mule to the top of the peak and was awed by the views, but worn out by the mule ride.
That led him to set up the cog railway to give tourists a more comfortable ride to the top. Simmons was a man who knew a thing or two about comfort, he also invested the Beauty Rest mattress.
The railway is 8.9 miles long and the ride takes an 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Thanks to a new snowplow, the train can run year round.
“You get up here and there’s 10 or 12 feet of snow in this windy cut here but with our snowplow can get through there,” said Spencer Wren, the railway’s general manager.
And the Colorado mountains mean tourists can encounter snow any time of the year but even without the proper clothing, most of them don’t notice the cold because of the view.
“It’s magnificent,” said Bruce Reifenstahl from Pennsylvania, “once you get above the tree line, a 360 degree view of snowcaps.”