WhiteMountainHistory.org                
Telling the story of 200 years  of White Mountain History

                         Cog Railway Photos Pg. 1

     Unless Otherwise stated, photos are from the collection of the 
                            author, Robert W. Bermudes, Jr.

                     Mount Washington Turnpike Toll House

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The Mount Washington Turnpike was chartered in 1866. Construction commenced the same year under the supervision of long-time BC&M bridge-builder and railroad superintendent, John Jarvis Sanborn. The turnpike spanned the six miles from the former Tenth New Hampshire Turnpike (the road from Lancaster, New Hampshire, to Portland, Maine) to the Cog Base Station. It was built to bring in supplies needed for the construction of the Cog and as a way to bring passengers to the Cog. At the commencement of trips to the summit in July 1869, passengers arrived at the base by coach. Coach fares from the local hotels to the Cog base and return ($3.00) included the toll. The foreground contains a portion of the roof of the Fabyan House and two tracks: the closest one the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad coming up from the White Mountain Notch (Crawford Notch) and Portland, Maine, and the second the branchline to the Cog base. Beside the white toll house a gate across the road may be seen. A toll was charged on the turnpike until 1903 when it was given to New Hampshire. 
      Weller stereo view, Courtesy Littleton Historical Society


           Mount Washington Branchline Track and Mount Pleasant

This image from Detroit Photographic (ca. 1906) shows part of the branchline from the Fabyan House to the Cog Base Station with the dome of Mount Pleasant in the background. The Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad (BC&M) was granted a charter in 1869 to build a branchline off their main line from Wing Road (north of Littleton) twenty-one miles to the base of Mount Washington to meet with the Cog Railway. The early date of this charter should be seen as part of the BC&M’s long-term plans for the Cog. With passengers arriving at the Cog by railroad the number of passengers using the Cog could significantly increase, benefitting both the BC&M and the Cog. The branchline slowly made its way the fifteen miles to the Fabyan House, arriving there in 1874. The track from the Fabyan House to the Cog base was completed by early July 1876. It was only after the completion of the branchline to the base that the Cog started paying dividends to its owners.



                      Branch line Train at Base Road Crossing

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The branchline train is stopped at the Mt. Washington Turnpike, (now the Base Road), near the Cog’s Base Station. The branchline was built by the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad (BC&M) and completed in 1876. The train backed up the steep six-mile-long, six percent grade from the Fabyan House. For most of the trip back to the Fabyan House, gravity provided the train’s power: the engineer simply released the brakes and the train started down the steep grade. The turnpike was the only way to reach the Base Station until the completion of the branch line.      Kilburn stereoview
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                           First Transfer Station, 1876-1895

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As construction of the BC&M branchline approached the Cog base area in the spring of 1876, the Cog Railway directors voted to extend their track down to meet it at the area where the grade became so steep the friction-driven branchline engine could climb no higher. The two lines met at the "transfer station". This photo shows the earliest  configuration of the transfer station. This basic configuration was used from 1876 to 1895, with additonal buildings added, as needed. From the first trip, the branchline train from Fabyan travelled in reverse,(coach first) due to the steep grade—just as the Cog “backs up”as it ascends the mountain (the downhill locomotive offers the greatest protection against possible incidences). The first Marshfield House is visible in the upper left of the image.  Kilburn stereo view.


                             Transfer Station, ca. 1910

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This image tells many stories. Starting at the left, coal may be seen between the open wooden building and the tracks. The Cog Railway locomotives transitioned from burning wood to coal between the seasons of 1909 and 1912. The most noticeable aspect of the image is the two rails that stretch into the distance. The 1895 realignment of the transfer station enabled a switch from the branchline onto the Cog  to bring coal to the shops at the base. Although the Cog locomotives are nominally standard gauge (4 feet 8.5 inches), they are actually 4 feet 8 inches, a half an inch less than standard.  This small difference required the additional rails that can be seen in this photo.


                            Page 2 of Cog Railway Photos
 
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