The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway holds a unique distinction as the highest cog railway in the world. Wonder how this legendary Pikes Peak train came to take visitors to the top of America’s Mountain? One of the tourists who visited the Pikes Peak region in the late 1880s was Zalmon Simmons, inventor and founder of the Simmons Beautyrest Mattress Company. Mr. Simmons rode to the summit of Pikes Peak on a mule. The arduous, two-day trip was the only way to reach the top in those days. Mr. Simmons was awed by the scenery but determined that the views should be experienced in a more civilized and comfortable manner. Thus, the railway was born.
In 1889, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway Company was founded and track construction began. Top wages were 25 cents per hour. This was no easy feat as six workers died in blasting and construction accidents. On the afternoon of June 30th, 1891, the first passenger Pikes Peak train, carrying a church choir from Denver, made it to the summit for the first time. Spencer Penrose, the owner of The Broadmoor Hotel, acquired the Railway in 1925.
Enhancements to the rail cars arrived in the late 1930s, at first with gasoline and diesel-powered cars, followed shortly by what is believed to have been the world's inaugural rack rail car, and, in 1938, the arrival of the world’s first diesel-electric cog locomotive. In the 1970s and 1980s, led by Swiss engineer Martin Frick, the railway began to introduce more modern cars capable of transporting upwards of 200 people at a time to the summit of Pikes Peak.
Several decades later, in the spring of 2018, the Cog Railway made the decision to cease operations due to aging equipment and infrastructure concerns. Fast forward to 2021, where an expansive renovation and revitalization effort brought the Cog Railway back online with an assortment of modern updates including a refreshed depot, three new Swiss trains, a new single rail cog system, and a brand new Visitor Center at the top of Pikes Peak.