Mount Washington, NH, July 7--The old cog railway that,for more than 130 years, carried tourists on an hour and 20 minute ride upMount Washington, might be upstaged in the near future by a funicular--andAmerican Tramways and Garaventa CTEC are each vying for the opportunity tobuild it.
"The owners are looking at every possible alternative and we're certainlytalking years into the future," said Bonnie MacPherson, public relationscoordinator for Bretton Woods and the Mount Washington Cog Railway. "We'repretty much maxed out in terms of the numbers of people we can get up themountain in a day 1,260...The other thing is that a commitment of threehours roundtrip is a bit much for some people."
While replacing the railway is not an option because it is a nationalhistoric engineering landmark, the owners, Wayne Presby and Joel Bedor, arelooking at several options including adding a funicular as an alternative,rebuilding the train converting it to diesel, or not changing a thing.Surveys are being conducted this summer to get reaction from visitors.
"If they end up building a funicular, it would be the longest 14,500 feetin the world," said Red Blomer, president of American Tramways. "It wouldalso be one of he most challenging building projects we've ever faced."Mount Washington, for the last 10 years, has registered winds that hit 120mph at least once a month, making a 50 mph wind a normal occurrence.
"Weknow that management is looking to extend the current 150-day season and afunicular can do just that. With elevated tracks and special snow-removalequipment, it could potentially run 300 days out of the year."