Our North Country Steam excursion makes a photo runby south of Hazens, NH on ex-Maine Central track with Conway Scenic 0-6-0 7470. Cherry Mtn. is in the distance.
Photo by Walt Sapolsky

Sunset Steam Special at Mount Washington Cog Railway, July 30, 2011

by John Reading

As Vic Campbell was arranging our July 30 trip on the Mount Washington Cog Railway, it fell to this writer to come up with a name for the trip. We finally tabbed it “Sunset Steam Special” – because we’d ascend the mountain in late afternoon and hopefully come back down before sunset. But as Vic noted soon after, it was a fortuitous choice, because steam power is definitely in its sunset at the Cog Railway. (Our members understand this– the trip sold out in three weeks!)

When we arrived in the parking lot at Marshfield, shut off our car’s air conditioning and opened a window, we realized what had happened since our 2007 visit.

No smell of coal smoke.

Never before had we seen Base Station without its smoke cloud – with up to six engines in steam, there was always a soft-coal tang in the air. Not this time. Nothing but a mountain breeze.

The fresh-air experience didn’t last, because Engine 9, Waumbek (Manchester, 1908) came huffing up to the station, ready to bring 70 Mass Bay RRE members over the “rare mileage” down to the Cog’s 1897 shops, then up the mountain one more time. We crowded aboard, rode the quarter-mile to the shops, got off and toured the interior, which some members had never seen.

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