The Cog’s afternoon steam run charges up the hill. Looking resplendent in the afternoon sun, MWRC #2 “Ammonoosuc” and her bright red coach head up Cold Spring Hill with the Cog Railway’s recently added afternoon steam excursion. For nearly a decade after dieselization, steam operations were limited to just one trip a day, nearly always very early in the morning. During peak fall colors season, this trip might occur as early as 7:30 AM, which was too early for many patrons who needed to drive long distances to reach the Bretton Woods area of New Hampshire. More recently, a second steam trip has been added, which typically coincides with the last diesel trip of the day. One or more diesel-powered trains will leave, followed by a steam trip. On this day, two diesel-powered sections preceded the one you see here. This extra steam trip gives a lot more patrons the opportunity to experience the ride to the top the way it was for the first 140 years of operation of this line and is typically sold out well in advance.
One of the unique features of Mt. Washington's Cog Railway is that it is built entirely on wooden trestle. This is because the ground on this mountain is incredibly rough and uneven. That's true here on Cold Spring Hill, just above the base station, and it is even more true as you gain elevation. The grades also vary considerably, sometimes just within a short distance. The use of wooden trestle minimizes the number of contact points with the ground. It also helps keep the track up and out of the deep snows in the winter. It should be noted that except in a couple of spots, the majority of this trestle is not anchored to the ground. It simply sits on the surface. Over time, the ground settles and the trestle shifts, so crews are constantly adding and removing shims at the ground contact points to keep the structure solid and stable.