Manitou & Pike's Peak Cog Railway


The Manitou & Pike's Peak Cog Railway was built by Zalmon Simmons, an inventor and founder of the Simmons Beautyrest Mattress Co. Among other things, he invented an insulator for telegraph wires, which the U.S. Signal Service used at its Pike's Peak telegraph station, built in 1873. In the late 1880s, Simmons took an arduous, 2-day mule trip to the top of Pike's Peak to check on his insulators, and, legend has it that, after his return, he was soaking his saddle-weary body in one of mineral spring spas when the proprietor suggested building a railroad to the mountaintop. Simmons liked the idea and, in 1889, the railway's construction began.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil, Mechanical
Topic(s):Space/Transportation
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:Fifteen-foot snow drifts are common on Pike's Peak. To clear the rails, M&PPC Rwy used dynamite to loosen the snow and then rammed it with a flat car equipped with a wedge. Crews shoveled snow onto the flat car, which was backed down to be shoveled off. It often took until June to finish the job. Now a snowplow can clear the track by late April.
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