So What is a Cog?
A cog, or rack, railroad uses a gear, "cog wheel", meshing into a special rack rail (mounted in the middle between the outer rails) to climb much steeper grades than those possible with a standard adhesion railroad.
such as in Switzerland), depending upon the type of rack system employed.
Here is the explanation from the US Department of Transportation.
Q-2. What is the maximum grade hill a railcar can climb?Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway Cog can travel at up to a 25% grade going up the mountain. It reaches a top speed of 9 miles per hour.
grades are more or less determined by available locomotive horsepower and
traction efforts required to pull a specified number of railroad cars up a
grade, as well as the braking effort required to control the movement when going
down the grade.
Railroad grades are expressed in terms of the rise or fall of elevation
over distance. For instance, a 1 percent grade would be a one-foot rise or fall
of elevation over a distance of 100 feet.
Learn more by going to the Pikes Peak Cog Railway Site.
Pssst! Did you see the new pictures in the slide show on the left side of the blog?
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