Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Relax and watch in wonder as you climb to 14,115 feet above sea level to the summit of America's favorite mountain - Pikes Peak. Your trip will take you through four life zones from lush high plains to fragile alpine tundra. You'll pass cascading streams as you wind through a steep canyon of gigantic boulders and tall pines towards your destination well above treeline.
It's possible to see four states, the snow-covered peaks of the Continental Divide, the cities of Denver, Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs and the historic gold campls of Cripple creek and Victor. You'll enjoy fantastic rock formations, spectacular vistas and breathtaking cliffs all from the comfort and safety of the world's highest cog train.
HISTORY OF THE PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY
One of the tourists who visited the Pikes Peak region in the late-1880's was Zalmon Simmons, inventor and founder of the Simmons Beautyrest Mattress Company. Mr. Simmons rode to the summit of Pike's Peak on a mule, partly to enjoy the view and partly to check upon one of his inventions: an insulator for the telegraph wires which ran to the Army Signal Station on the summit. The arduous, two day trip on a mule was the only way to reach the top in those days. Mr. Simmons was awed by the scenery but determined that the views should be experienced in a more civilized and comfortable manner. He was relaxing in one of Manitou Springs' mineral baths after his return, when the owner of his Hotel mentioned the idea of a railway to the top. Mr. Simmons agreed with the concept and set about providing the capital needed to fund such a venture.
In 1889, the Manitou & Pike's Peak Railway Company was founded and track construction began in earnest. Top wages were 25 cents per hour. Six workers died in blasting and construction accidents. The Age of Steam predominated the late 1800’s, and from Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, three engines were delivered in 1890. Limited service was initiated in that year to the Halfway House Hotel . These locomotives were eventually converted to operate upon the Vauclain Compound principle, and a total of six were in service during the "steam" era. The original three were named "Pike’s Peak," "Manitou" and "John Hulbert," but they soon were assigned numbers. Of the original six, only #4 is still in operation and along with a restored coach makes infrequent trips short distances up the track.
The spring of 1891 was a snowy one, and the opening of the line was delayed until late June. On the afternoon of June 30th, 1891, the first passenger train, carrying a church choir from Denver, made it to the summit. A scheduled group of dignitaries had been turned back earlier by a rock slide around 12,000 feet. The railway was now operating.