The 3 Mount Washington Cog Steam Locomotives

It’s no surprise that the Mount Washington Cog Railway needed powerful locomotives. Located in Coos County, NH as part of the Presidential Range of White Mountains, Mount Washington hasn’t changed much in the last century. It’s still known for its notoriously erratic weather and remains the highest peak in the Northeast. It’s also home to the world’s very first mountain-climbing cog railway, the Mount Washington Cog Railway. The railway is a one-of-its-kind railway that’s home to some of the most powerful steam locomotives in the world including Mount Washington Cog #2, #6, and #9.

Brief History of The Mount Washington Cog Locomotives

No. 2 (Ammonoosuc)

Nicknamed the Ammonoosuc, Mount Washington Cog #2 was originally manufactured and named #4 (Atlas) in 1875 by the Manchester Locomotive Works of New Hampshire. It was renamed #2 following a rebuild after being damaged by fire in 1895.

Its 0-2-2-0 wheel arrangement makes it ideal for a steep grade railway. After numerous restorations over the years, #2 is in operation as one of the excursion trains on this unique railroad.

Mount Washington Cog #2 preparing to push an excursion train.
Ammonoosuc prepares for an excursion. (Photo: Gwernol via CC by 3.0)

No. 6 (Kancamagus)

Nicknamed Kancamagus in 2001, Mount Washington Cog #6 is a cog-type steam locomotive with a wheel arrangement of 0-2-2-0. It was built for the railway in 1874 by the Manchester Locomotive Works. Originally named Tip-Top #6, it was built with a vertical boiler but was later rebuilt with a horizontal boiler in 1878. It last steamed up in 2010; and while the locomotive is serviceable, she is currently in storage at the railway’s engine shops.

Mount Washington Railway #6, known as Kancamgus, pushes an excursion train.
Kancamgus on excursion. (Photo: Gwernol via CC by 3.0)

No. 9 (Waumbek)

With a wheel arrangement of 0-2-2-0, Mount Washington Cog #9 is nicknamed Waumbek and was manufactured by Manchester Locomotive Works of New Hampshire in 1908. It was the first steam locomotive to be designed with a horizontal boiler and the cab on the same plane.

This locomotive was powered by biodiesel (a form of diesel derived from plants or animals) for a few years but was later reconverted to coal. It’s still in operation as an excursion train on the railway.

Mount Washington Railway #9, known as Waumbek, being prepared to run on the railway.
Waumbek preparing to push an excursion. (Photo: Michael Loukides via CC by 2.0)

Final Thoughts

The railway is open year round and recently celebrated 365 days of uninterrupted service. You can visit the Mount Washington Cog Railway website to learn more about the railway and plan your visit to get up close with these unique unique steam locomotives.

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