MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The world’s highest cog railway is getting a much needed upgrade. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway closed in 2017 for repairs.
The Pikes Peak Cog Railway carried passengers to the top of 14,115-foot Pikes Peak for 126 years. When it closed for repairs, it was unclear whether it would reopen.
Operators say construction will begin this spring with a projected re-opening date of 2021. The cost of the entire project is estimated at $100 million.
The Pikes Peak Cog Railway will get some upgrades. According to the Gazette, the owner has ordered three new engines, nine passenger cars and snow removal equipment and miles of cog rail track.
The equipment is coming from a company in Switzerland, the only country where this type of train is still made. Finding contractors willing to work at high altitude also posed problems.
Last summer, officials with The Broadmoor in Manitou Springs committed to invest in the repairs. Denver-based Anschutz Corporation is parent company to The Broadmoor.
The Cog first opened 126 years ago. The trains ascends and descends the 8.9-mile, 8,000-foot climb in three hours.
After it closed, the number of visitors traveling the mountain’s highway increased to record levels.
A cog train uses a gear, or cog wheel, to mesh teeth with a special center rail, allowing it to climb much steeper grades than standard rail systems.