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Historical Timeline

1857    Sylvester Marsh, while climbing Mount Washington encounters bad weather, causing him to pursue the idea of a railway up the mountain.

1858   Sylvester Marsh applies to the NH legislature for charters to build steam railways on Mounts Lafayette and Washington.  The New Hampshire legislature thinks the idea impossible and suggests he amend his charter and continue his railway to the moon.      

1865   Sylvester Marsh forms the Mount Washington Steam Railway Company with $5,000.00 of his own money  Other early stockholders were Cheney Express Company, his son John Marsh, Nathaniel White, Boston,               Concord and Montreal RR, Connecticut and Passumpsic RR, The Concord RR, and the Northern RR.

1866   Locomotive #1, Hero, makes several demonstration runs on a rustic, temporary track on August 29th. Construction started on the track and approximately 1/2 mile was built that year.

1867   Work continues an the track and improvements at the base. The line was continued to about 1 mile up the mountain  to the location of the  present Waumbek tank. 

1868    Track work resumed in May and continued until October when a fierce winter storm caused work to be    stopped immediately about 500' from the summit.  During this period the famous Jacob's Ladder trestle was built.  The trestle is 300' long and it has a grade of 37.41%.  The first paying customers rode from the Base to just above Jacob's ladder.  A second locomotive is needed and Walter Aiken is contracted to build it, starting a life-long involvement for Aiken which would last until 1893.

1869   Work resumed in June and the Cog Railway is completed to the summit of Mount Washington on July 3rd.    President Ulysses S. Grant  and his family are among the passengers in August.

1870   Railway runs with regularly scheduled runs.  Locomotive fleet is now 3.

1875   First engine with horizontal boiler is built.

1876   Branch line from Fabyans to the Base was built.   This line allowed passengers to depart from Boston and points beyond and travel to the summit of Mount Washington entirely by rail!  A transfer station was located at the Base at the site of the present shops. Parts of the line are still very much in evidence today, including several trestles.     

1883   A cog railway was built on Green Mountain (Cadillac Mountain today) on Mount Desert Island in Maine.   It's construction were extremely similar to Mount Washington's.  The two engines were later purchased and brought to Mount Washington.

1884  Sylvester Marsh dies in Concord, NH at the age of 81.  Mount Washington railway comes under control of the  Concord  and Montreal Railroad.  

1886  Walter Aiken becomes President of the Mount Washington Railway Company   and remained so until his death from a hunting accident in 1893.  

1894   Boston and Maine Railroad acquires the Cog. 

1895   Fire in the B&M's Lyndonville Shop in Vermont destroys several locomotives.  It was the practice of the B&M to move the Cog engines there for service.

1908   Engine #9 Waumbek is delivered.  Last new locomotive for 65 years.

1910   Locomotives converted from wood to coal burning.

1929   Old Peppersass makes a return to the mountain and her final run, which ended in disaster.

1930   Branch line from Fabyans was discontinued.

1931   Colonel Henry N. Teague buys the Cog.

1938   Great hurricane destroys much trackwork including Jacob's Ladder. Marshfield Station is built.

1941   First of three switches is built at the Base.  Switch at Waumbek Tank followed soon after.

1942   Skyline Switch built.

1943   Cog Railway shut down for 1943, 44, and 45

1951   Arthur S. Teague becomes General Manager following Henry Teague's death.

1958   First aluminum passenger coach "Chumley" built at the Cog shops.

1961   Arthur Teague becomes the owner of the Cog.

1963   Second aluminum passenger coach "Thelma" built at the Cog shops.

1967   Ellen Teague assumes ownership following the death of her husband, Arthur.

1969   The Cog Railway celebrates 100 years of existence.  Glen Kidder writes the first comprehensive story of the Cog in his book, Railway to the Moon.

1972   Engine #10, the Colonel Teague becomes the first new engine since 1908.  It was built at the Cog shops.

1976   Experimental diesel "Spirit of '76" was built at the Cog shops.  While never fully operational, its intended use as a spare and work engine remains viable.

1984   Electricity is brought in on the Base Road allowing winter work in the shops. A crew now works at the Cog all year long.  Donald Bray writes an up to date history of the Cog in his book They Said it Couldn't be Done.

1983   Engine #8 Tip Top is built at the Cog Shops.  Ellen Teague sells the Cog to a group of NH businessmen.

1984  Major overhauls begin on engines and tracks.

1994   Brand new Marshfield Station is dedicated on the 125th. anniversary of the Cog.  New Victorian styled building contains a restaurant, gift shop, museum and restrooms.

1995   U.S. Postal Service dedicates 20 cent stamp featuring MW Cog engine.  The engine featured is the Cloud built by Walter Aiken.

1997   All new 70 passenger coach, #6 is built at the Cog Shop and put into service.  Ridership breaks records.

1998  Two new 70 passenger coaches, #1, #3 are built at the Cog Shop.  Marshfield Station is lost to fire after a severe lightning storm.

Smarsh.jpg (13619 bytes)                                                                          Aiken.gif (33205 bytes)

      Sylvester Marsh                                                               Walter Aiken

Special thanks to Mr. Donald Bray for his suggestions and review of this page.  He is the author of They Said it Couldn't beDone.

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