Telling the story of 200 years  of White Mountain History

                           Cog Railway Photos Pg. 3
Unless otherwise stated, photos are from the collection of the 
                                author, Robert W. Bermudes, Jr.


                          The Spirit of 76 (also referred to as M1)

Recognizing the need for a faster way up the mountain for emergencies and for the never-ending track work, Edward M. Clark and Val Sanders designed and built a diesel-powered locomotive in 1976. Unsurprisingly, they called it the Spirit of ’76. (Prior to the advent of the “modern” Cog diesels in 2008, this diesel was also referred to as “M1” in some Cog locomotive rosters. The 2008 diesel, Wajo Nanatasis, is also referred to as “M1” by Cog workers and has that identifier painted upon it.)  The current diesel locomotives were intended for handling passenger coaches, the Spirit of ’76 was intended only as a work engine. It was built using low-cost used parts.  The Cog paid to design and build the locomotive, but most of the costs were paid by Clark and amounted to “several hundred” dollars (in 1976). The Spirit of ’76 never got very high on the hill, not even making it to Waumbek Tank. Due to the running conditions, the transmission fluid foamed, causing the engine to lose power. Clark was fired at the conclusion of the 1976 season and the Spirit of ’76 was cut up and scrapped soon thereafter. The Spirit of ’76 was but one of many experiments with different fuels on the Cog Railway. The Cog has a long history of experimenting with different fuels,  going back to 1877. In addition to wood and coal, other types of fuel have been tried, including, oil, diesel, and liquefied natural gas. In 1911 an electric railway was considered and a steam-generated electric power plant was installed at the base.

                     Lower Switch at Waumbek Tank, Sept. 2003

The lower switch at the Waumbek Tank was installed in 2003. It was the first switch installed in an 1800 foot passing loop that was completed in 2004 with the installation of the upper Waumbek switch. Until the upper switch was installed, the lower switch provided access to a siding for upward trains to allow downward trains to pass. The lower Waumbek switch is solar powered (with battery backup) and hydraulically operated. The switch slides left and right to enable access to the siding and the mainline, respectively.

                            Lower Waumbek Switch, Sept. 2003

 The small building on the right houses the solar panels, batteries, and electrical equipment necessary to power and operate the switch. If for any reason the electrical power fails, the switch may be operated manually. The poles on either side of the switch contain sensors that lock out the possibility of switch movement during train crossings.


             Train Departing Lower Waumbek Switch, Sept. 2003

Between the time the lower Waumbek switch was constructed in 2003 and the passing loop was completed in 2004, the lower switch operated much like the switches installed during the 1940s—it allowed trains on and off the sidings. In this image the switch is aligned for the mainline to the summit. The train has just backed off the siding after allowing the downward train to pass, and will soon move up towards the summit. Standing in the doorway of the coach in blue shirts and pants with a white beard is Al LaPrade, the designer of the switch and of the diesel locomotives. Just to the left of the coach is a pole with a gray box mounted on it. The box houses the buttons that allows the brakeman to move the switch. Just above the gray box may be seen the shop buildings at the base. Most of these buildings date to 1895 and replaced facilities for the trains at the upper base after the upper base facilities burned.

                   Remnants of Old Waumbek Switch, Sept. 2003

The new electrically powered lower Waumbek switch is downhill from the Waumbek Tank. The old manual switch was just uphill from the tank. This was all that was left of the old Waumbek switch in the fall of 2003. The passing loop ascends the center of this image and meets with the upper Waumbek switch just beyond the farthest portion of track visible.

                       Cog Railway Photos, Page 1
                       Cog Railway Photos, Page 2
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