Friday, February 19, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Two examples of cog rail systems: The top postcard (thanks again Jan and Rick) was postmarked 1912. It pictures the Pike's Peak cog road steam engine with a tilted chassis. The lower postcard, from my grandmother years ago, is more recent (vintage 1940-50's) of the same track with an electric diesel engine similar to the one still used today (click here). In the bygone age of steam-powered locomotives the boilers needed to remain nearly level else the boiler would overheat and explode. This is why the engine is tilted in the top postcard. (See more on cog and rack rail systems and tilted boiler steam engines here.)
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
In 1907, John E. Schwitzer proposed lessing the grade with the construction of two spiral tunnels that crossed in a figure-eight shape. The tunnels were completed in 1909 and cut the grade down to 2.2%. The construction took two years, 1,000 workers at a cost of $1.5 million. Workers removed 54,000 cubic meters of rock from the tunnels.
Notice the similarity of the concrete tunnel entrance, vegetation and rock slide on the hillside in both the old and new cards. Also, note that both trains' engines have crossed under their tails or cabooses.