That which goes up, must come down. The wafting smoke plume and the jets of steam from the cylinder cocks are the tell-tale signs that MWRC #9 and her yellow super-coach are on the descent off Mt. Washington, seen here just above the Jacob's Ladder Trestle. Although the two appear to be connected, the only physical connection is an emergency pull-cord strung so that the Brakeman on the coach can signal the engine crew in the event of an emergency. Otherwise, the engine descends using cylinder compression for brakes, and the coach descends using its own mechanical brakes. The Brakeman's goal is to keep the coach barely touching the bumper on the front of the locomotive. The two descend together, but they are separate entities.
The roughly 3-mile Mount Washington Cog Railway is built almost entirely on wooden trestle. This is because the terrain is so rocky and uneven that it would be impossible to create anything resembling a normal road-bed. The trestle structure basically minimizes the number of "touch points" between the railroad and the mountain. As you might imagine, with the wooden trestle being exposed to some of the worlds worst weather, maintenance is a constant struggle. Historically, when timbers were removed and replaced, the railroaders merely discarded them by the wayside. Some of that trestle debris can be seen in this 2009 photo. In recent years, since the line dieselized, the railroad has put forth a significant effort to clean up the ROW, and I am told that most of the wooden debris has now been removed.
I am occasionally asked why there were never any photo charters on The Cog, as the interest would certainly be there among rail photographers. Unfortunately, the answer is that a conventional charter is simply not practical. For one thing, as can be seen in this photo, there are just not a lot of places on the mountain where one could safely de-train and re-board the photographers. Even if that were possible, there's an even bigger problem. The locomotives simply don't carry enough consumables, notably water. The little tenders hold only 600 gallons, but it takes 1,000 gallons for a summit run. With the demise many years ago of the Summit and Gulf Tanks, the only source of water on the mountain is the Waumbek Tank, which is only 1/3rd of the way up. Once the tender is filled there, the water supply is barely sufficient for a summit run and the subsequent descent. There simply is no reserve for run-bys.
From a hint of "Bee" (NKP 765), colorful "Bees" (KCS), "Bees" w/ attitude, to "Bees" that "sting" your eyes, in their own way they have "Bee" on display! Equipment that "Buzzes" with Yellow & Black colors! ("Bees" can still "Bee" entering this "hive"!)