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dr_wu002
07-07-2010, 09:46 AM
I've seen the new "Diesel" Cog a few times now and have come to the conclusion that it's stupid. First, the 10 trillion or so cars driving around in the area nullify any perceived benefit to the environment that running a diesel vs. belching coal engine a few times a day up a mountain has. It's like subtracting .01 from 10 million. Second, it's lame: There's already a train and track infrastructure up the mountain.... don't get me wrong, I'd never want them to build more of those cog things in the mountains. But, the one we got is here to stay and the silly little engine chugging along at 2mph with it's black, disgusting smoke visible (and smellable) from miles away is both quaint, cool and unique and it always reminds me that yes, I'm in the Presidentials. The whistle is cool too -- the new one sounds like a horn on a semi. The new one isn't noisy, dirty or smelly: no charm. I hope they abandon it or retrofit it with a nice coal stove before they start to lose customers. Nobody wants to ride that geek mobile when you can ride the real thing. Just saying. I hope the new cog goes away...

-Dr. Wu

Barkingcat
07-07-2010, 10:02 AM
Ya know, I'm not sure I would call the diesel cog engine "stupid" (mebbe "characterless") but I am certainly with you on keeping the old, smelly, quaint cog engines.

I like 'em.

csprague
07-07-2010, 10:05 AM
I'm not generally a fan of dirty and smelly, but there is 1 way in which the old cog is useful to hikers: wind speed forecaster.

I snapped this pic on August 24th 2008 on my way up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. I knew before I reached treeline that I was going to be treated to a rare, wind-free day on Mt. Washington.

http://betelgeuse.umeqs.maine.edu/chris/Washington_Monroe_082408/DSC_0112.jpg

dr_wu002
07-07-2010, 10:06 AM
Ya know, I'm not sure I would call the diesel cog engine "stupid" (mebbe "characterless") but I am certainly with you on keeping the old, smelly, quaint cog engines.

I like 'em.I didn't necessarily mean that the new Cog has low intelligence -- didn't want to give the impression that I felt it was sentient or would bother calling it not-sentient even.... I just don't like the diesel cog concept. Every time I see it I think it's Jason tooling around in the mountains in his old VW diesel.

-Dr. Wu

David Metsky
07-07-2010, 10:16 AM
The new Cog is a lot cheaper to operate than the old ones. For that reason alone it makes sense.

Tom Rankin
07-07-2010, 10:22 AM
The new Cog is a lot cheaper to operate than the old ones. For that reason alone it makes sense.Did they lower the price? :p

Little Rickie
07-07-2010, 10:30 AM
Did they lower the price? :p

Silly question. :rolleyes:

dr_wu002
07-07-2010, 10:39 AM
The new Cog is a lot cheaper to operate than the old ones. For that reason alone it makes sense.It's a gamble that could lose them customers though. If enough people feel that for a lot less $$ they can drive their own diesel (or gas powered) car up Mt. Washington, then it was a bad decision on their part.

I wonder how much the diesel cog was a reaction to A) customer demands or B) political pressure or C) pressure from outside groups that felt the cog was some sort of environmental catastrophe tooling around the mountain. Or, I wonder how much of a combination of B/C it was. Doubt they'll lower their prices because of the new engine (although maybe when they start losing customers...)

My guess is they succumbed to outside pressures from (probably non-customers) people that felt the coal-fired cog was some kind of environmental holocaust. That sentiment has certainly been felt here on this website. And now -- victory -- because the diesel cog gives some sort of perception of "improved" and "more clean" and "better" but most likely is statistically insignificant compared to what we already got. In other words, window dressing, and, unfortunately, a hollow victory for environmentalism. I'd never want to see a new Cog go up somewhere, say Franconia Ridge -- diesel or coal -- but changing the existing one kills character for something that is not even marginally better. But the character issue, it's sort of like the old man falling.... something else iconic to the White Mountains gone.

-Dr. Wu

David Metsky
07-07-2010, 10:50 AM
http://www.thecog.com/cog_technology.php


A source of pride to the Cog Railway is that the design and construction of the new locomotives were accomplished on site, in workshops near Marshfield Station. The accomplishment culminates over 30 years of experimentation with diesel locomotives at the Cog. The dream had to wait until 21st century technology made the feat possible. For example, the new locomotives have a computer package on board that serves both to govern the engine and to monitor the engine's exact position on the track. The development of biodiesel surged world-wide since 2000, making it feasible as a major source of energy. Finally, the arrival of the Cog mechanical engineer Al LaPrade, a recent retiree from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, brought up-to-date expertise to the project. Al worked with John Deere and several New Hampshire-based manufacturers in designing the drive train and assuring that the electronics were state-of-the-art.

They run one steam train a day for the steam buffs, but otherwise they pretty much have switched over completely to bio-diesel. It doesn't seem to be affecting their ridership, and I'm sure it's helping their bottom line.

There are so many advantages of bio-diesel over coal, from ease of use, cheaper price, less maintenance, and better PR, that it's a no brainer. I believe they still run

Paradox
07-07-2010, 10:51 AM
When I was in the 5th grade (1969) I helped build a scale model of the Cog railway, as part of a class project. There has always been a soft spot in my heart for the Cog.

Another thing I think about is that Thomas the Tank Engine is so much nicer than Diesel!

http://www.filmjunk.com/images/weblog/2009/09/thomastankenginemovie.jpg

timmus
07-07-2010, 11:12 AM
Thanks Frank, you now make me want to come back to a real fun and smart hiking forum.

I think the last whistle is a very good turnaround time.

Little Rickie
07-07-2010, 11:43 AM
I wonder how much the diesel cog was a reaction to A) customer demands or B) political pressure or C) pressure from outside groups that felt the cog was some sort of environmental catastrophe tooling around the mountain. Or, I wonder how much of a combination of B/C it was. Doubt they'll lower their prices because of the new engine (although maybe when they start losing customers...)

My guess is they succumbed to outside pressures

Doubt it. It about saving money. It's always about economics. Business go green when it saves them money or it makes them look good so they can make more money.:rolleyes:

MichaelJ
07-07-2010, 11:57 AM
The new Cog is a lot cheaper to operate than the old ones. For that reason alone it makes sense.

Specifically, around $60/trip vs. $225 for the over-a-ton of coal required, with the cog estimating that coal price to double or triple. The 17 gallons of bio-diesel fuel weighs a lot less than a ton, plus they don't need the 1000+ gallons of water, so even more efficiency is realized there. The new trains have computer-controlled drivetrains in them, too, and won't require a (claimed) $100,000/year cost in boiler inspections. From the railway's perspective, it's a huge financial win regardless of the environmental issues.

So what about those environmental issues? I found some statistics that claim the coal engines produce 1,500 pounds of carbon pollution per trip, while the bio-diesel only 89 pounds per trip. That's a little over 16 bio-diesel trips compared to one coal trip.

The EPA says that a gallon of gasoline represents 19.4 pounds of carbon emissions. That makes the change of cog engine over just one trip the approximate equivalent of around 72 less vehicle-gallons of gasoline. Pulling out of the air an average of 20mpg, and the Kanc's length of 26.5 miles, that's like taking 52 cars off the Kanc for each trip the cog runs bio-diesel instead of coal.

Okay, probably a bogus statistic, but still, it was amusing to try to figure out.

The big question will be what the train engineers will throw at Wu's moon now that they won't have the coal chunks available.

dr_wu002
07-07-2010, 12:06 PM
The big question will be what the train engineers will throw at Wu's moon now that they won't have the coal chunks available.I never moon the Cog. I like the train, the engineers and even the tchotchke lovers on board!

Doubt it. It about saving money. It's always about economics. Business go green when it saves them money or it makes them look good so they can make more money.:rolleyes:Or when they can find some of kind government subsidy...

Specifically, around $60/trip vs. $225 for the over-a-ton of coal required, with the cog estimating that coal price to double or triple. The 17 gallons of bio-diesel fuel weighs a lot less than a ton, plus they don't need the 1000+ gallons of water, so even more efficiency is realized there. The new trains have computer-controlled drivetrains in them, too, and won't require a (claimed) $100,000/year cost in boiler inspections. From the railway's perspective, it's a huge financial win regardless of the environmental issues.

So what about those environmental issues? I found some statistics that claim the coal engines produce 1,500 pounds of carbon pollution per trip, while the bio-diesel only 89 pounds per trip. That's a little over 16 bio-diesel trips compared to one coal trip.Ok. And thanks for the numbers. Now we'll all have to see if over the long run the customers like it or not... they may want to get something better than that semi-horn.

-Dr. Wu

Brambor
07-07-2010, 12:48 PM
I did the cog once and won't do it again. It is just too annoying getting covered in soot and going slow as molasses.

It should be human powered. Make it out of carbon fiber and make the bottom part a sweat shop with plexiglass viewing area of the 'cyclists'

:eek:

marty
07-07-2010, 12:58 PM
I did the cog onceand won't do it again. It is just too annoying getting covered in soot and going slow as molasses.

Agreed. We went once about 17 years ago on a hot summer day with my two year old daughter. Everyone started the trip with the windows open and then noticed a fine layer of coal soot on our clothing. They complained. All then started shutting windows and then they complained of the heat.

I would assume that using diesel would probably improve the customer experience for most, except for those longing for a taste of history or a taste of soot.

Marty

--M.
07-07-2010, 01:40 PM
Among my mixed feelings on this topic, I note with ironic, Faustian, Hunter-Thompson-esque glee that the coal used to power the Cog could maybe even come from a "mountaintop removal" mine in West Virginia; wouldn't that be delicious? If I were a resident of such an Appalachian community, I think I'd be durned proud that the Cog got to run because I didn't need that pesky watershed anymore.

All in good fun....

Breeze
07-07-2010, 04:49 PM
and yet just last week that effing nasty, soot casting, environmentally filthy, moneysucking , tourist raping, environment trashing cog railway was able to power up a biodeisel engine on short notice, late at night, LONG after the business/tourist day was over, to enable a hiker rescue from the west side. NH F&G and SAR were pretty happy they didn't have to do another carry-out, they were all used up from the day before

Breeze

Double Bow
07-08-2010, 07:29 AM
But the character issue, it's sort of like the old man falling.... something else iconic to the White Mountains gone.

-Dr. Wu

I agree. Thank God we still have Gary Moody!

Kevin Rooney
07-08-2010, 07:41 AM
Wow! I never thought I'd see a thread defending those old engines!

Neil
07-08-2010, 07:56 AM
and yet just last week that effing nasty, soot casting, environmentally filthy, moneysucking , tourist raping, environment trashing cog railway was able to power up a biodeisel engine on short notice, late at night, LONG after the business/tourist day was over, to enable a hiker rescue from the west side. NH F&G and SAR were pretty happy they didn't have to do another carry-out, they were all used up from the day before

Breeze

If a resource is available then not availing oneself to it, for whatever reason, is maladaptive (nicer word than Wu's :)).

dr_wu002
07-08-2010, 07:59 AM
Wow! I never thought I'd see a thread defending those old engines!I never felt too much attachment to the Old Man... my parents hyped it up when I was a kid and we drove all the way out to see it and all it was was this little tiny face that you had to squint at. I thought it shoulda been cooler. So, when it fell I wasn't all that upset.

I also never had any particular attachment to the Cog -- philosophically I thought it was ugly and belching but I secretly liked it. It just wasn't the "in thing" to admit it at the time. But these days I let it all hang out. And then when I saw that mechanical diesel horror driving up the tracks and then heard what I thought was a semi-horn blaring, I immediately started longing for the "good old days" of the ugly, smelly, belching cog. Does anyone know that song by Cinderella, "Don't Know What You Got Until It's Gone."?? I'm at work and I can't access Youtube videos but maybe someone would kindly post a link. I wish the dudes from Cinderella would make a video paying homage to the Cog with that song in the background.

-Dr. Wu

Sasquatch
07-08-2010, 08:50 AM
I don't know Wu, it was freaking hot climbing Gulfside up to Mt washington Monday and I was glad the quiet Diesel( Diesel's Devious Deed) : Didn't interrupt my music like the old one and corrupt the air with filth and soot leaving a sour taste in my mouth for my Southern Pressie run.
Not to mention the new one is faster than farmer!!!

leaf
07-08-2010, 09:32 AM
Great, you people made me go look at the Cog website.



For those of you that want the nostalgia of an antique steam train, we run a Steam Special at 9:00 am each day. Make your reservations early as this is the only definite steam train each day!

They thought about you, Wu.. don't worry.. there's still some love.


Not to mention the new one is faster than farmer!!!


The round trip cog ride takes approximately three hours, generally including one hour stop at the summit.
I'd like to see a race between the Cog and Farmer.


Remember, some trains are fired by coal -- so dress accordingly.
That is a bit gross.

Eh, I have no strong opinion about it either way.

Quietman
07-08-2010, 09:46 AM
For you, Wu (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i28UEoLXVFQ)

Sasquatch
07-08-2010, 10:20 AM
I'd like to see a race between the Cog and Farmer.



That has been a dream of Farmers for some time. I'd take him over the steam but my money would be onm the diesel!

skiguy
07-08-2010, 10:45 AM
Thanks Frank, you now make me want to come back to a real fun and smart hiking forum.

I think the last whistle is a very good turnaround time.

Agreed....work must be boring today Frank!:rolleyes:

Stan
07-08-2010, 11:33 AM
I ride the rails all the time and don't care what the fuel is. A nuclear powered train would be cool but I admit I'm intrigued by the pedaling locomotion ... why not add a paddling mechanism, like the old Viking ships, and harness that power, too. Also, somone mentioned hikers ... you mean people actually walk up that mountain when they could ride? :eek:

Neil
07-08-2010, 03:43 PM
I've seen the new "Diesel" Cog a few times now and have come to the conclusion that it's stupid.
OK Docteur...
I've seen the New Cog = Stupid thread a few times now and have come to the conclusion that it's a stupid thread.

Why? Because no matter how many posts this thread runs nothing will change and nothing useful will have been learned. It's like commenting on the time it took for Io to revolve Jupiter 73 billion years ago.

Your friend,

Neil :D

wisher
07-08-2010, 03:59 PM
There are arguments for and against the cog and the fuel that it runs on, but I think it's disingenuous to cast it as an ecological disaster. I'd imagine it's still probably more efficient than if all of the people riding were to drive up in their vehicles.

Speaking of which, this thread reminds me of something I was considering the other day. While hiking around in the Whites is itself a low-impact activity as far as emissions to the environment, have you ever considered all of the gas we use as hikers travelling to the various trailheads? Unless you're lucky enough to live near Berlin, it's probably at least a few gallons there and back. Just something to consider; maybe we should go buy carbon credits or something. Or not worry about it since most of the emissions aren't produced by vehicles, but by industry.

Dr. Dasypodidae
07-08-2010, 08:01 PM
Or not worry about it since most of the emissions aren't produced by vehicles, but by industry.

Actually, most acid rain in the eastern U.S. is now caused by vehicle exhaust and agri-farming in the midwest (i.e., nitrous oxides rather than sulfates from coal-fired industrial and electricity-generating plants, which have had scrubbers installed over the past couple of decades).

For once I disagree with Wu and agree with those who are happy that the Cog has cut way back on the noxious coal soot spewing all over the mountain, even if it was not as huge an environmental issue as so many others.

leaf
07-08-2010, 08:54 PM
did you know that recycling can actually use more energy and resources than just burying or burning the crap? just sayin'... ;)

Little Rickie
07-12-2010, 10:58 AM
and have come to the conclusion that it's a stupid thread.

I'd like to agree with that but I keep coming back to read the thread. :D