Home History The history of America’s highest railway

The history of America’s highest railway

by Chris Butsch
Pikes peak

In the late 1880s, an American mogul named Zalmon Simmons scaled Pikes Peak by mule. Wishing more people could enjoy the view without the miserable trip, he funded a railway to the top.

To design a train that could scale a mountain, his engineering team built a tilted locomotive that would level out on the slope. They fitted the rails with cogs, so the train could climb grades of up to 48%.

Though it started as a millionaire’s audacious vision, Pikes Peak Cog Railway still operates today, rising above 14,000 feet. Currently under reconstruction, the railway reopens in 2021.

Chris Butsch

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