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Thread: “The Cog” comes to the rescue June 22, 2019

  1. #1
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    “The Cog” comes to the rescue June 22, 2019

    New Hampshire Fish and Game Press Release:

    Special thanks to the Folks at the Cog for the help!

    PRESS RELEASE

    June 22, 2019
    Cog Railway Assists in Evacuating Injured Hiker

    Thompson & Meserves Purchase – At approximately 6:00 p.m., a call was received by Fish and Game reporting that a hiker on the Jewell Trail had suffered an injury to his back and was not able to continue. The hiker, identified as Michael Couch, 46 of Atlanta, IN is an amputee who was attempting to hike to the summit of Mt. Washington as an effort to raise money for his foundation: Lost Limbs Foundation.

    Couch had made it to a location near the junction with Jewell Trail and Gulfside Trail when the injury occurred. The GPS coordinates placed him 1 ½ miles from the summit of Mt. Washington and approximately 3 miles from the Base Station.

    Knowing that a carryout was going to be arduous no matter what route was taken, a call for Search & Rescue volunteers was made and several members from both the Pemigewassett Valley Search & Rescue (PEMI SAR) and Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR), responded. “Carrying an injured person is far more taxing going uphill than going down, so the plan was to carry Couch down the Jewell Trail,” said Fish & Game Lieutenant Mark Ober. “However seeing that the Cog Railway tracks were about ½ mile from the injured hiker, I decided to make a call to inquire about the possibility of mechanical assistance. Little did he know that the Cog Railway was in the middle of their 150th Anniversary celebration.

    “Wayne Presby and his staff didn’t hesitate a bit when I called and asked if it was possibility to use one of the Cog trains to rescue this hiker,” said Lt. Ober. “Even with all they had going on as part of their 150th Anniversary, I briefed them on the situation and they located an engineer and brakeman and within an hour the train was taking up a crew of rescuers.” “Having the ability to utilize machinery to assist in a Search and Rescue is a luxury that is almost never available, so when this situation presented itself we were extremely lucky to have the ability to request assistance from the COG and have them respond so quickly. I can’t thank them enough for their willingness to help in this situation.”

    The train departed the base station at approximately 7:00 p.m. and dropped off the rescuers at 7:53 p.m. The hiker was packaged in the litter and back to the train by 8:45 p.m. From there he was brought down on the train to the Base Station arriving at approximately 9:15 p.m.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Nice bit of good fortune. Getting the guy out of the woods in 2 hours, with a back injury no less, is indeed a lucky break I'm sure he appreciated. That carry out would have been a long one otherwise.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Nice bit of good fortune

    And for Wayne too!! Great PR as he takes his cause to the Summit Powers that BE.

    BTW: I would fully expect the Cog to assist with rescues on the western side.

    If the victim gets a bill, is the check made out to Wayne???

    cb
    Last edited by ChrisB; 06-24-2019 at 07:33 AM.
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    Yes the Cog helps out as someday they may need it. And yes I expect it will be mentioned by the owner for PR purposes. I would question the selection of the Jewell trail by the hiker. Did the nearness of the cog contribute to his selection of what trail to hike up the mountain?

    I had a friend active on AVSAR about 20 years ago. They had a joint major rescue exercise with multiple groups in that area for a "plane crash" with major injuries and casualties. The reality was they were practicing for a major cog accident but the cog did not want the term accident used even if it was just practice associated with the cog so they changed it to an "aircraft crash". Unlike an autoroad crash, if the cog derails there is no easy way to move people except with another cog or a helicopter. I believe as reported on a VFTT thread the cog had minor derail last year and turned it into an adventure for the guests.If it was a major derail where the car goes off the track it will be more than an adventure.

    The new 85% diesel/15% biodiesel blend units units are really a diesel electric generator traction drive similar to a standard locomotive with some camouflage to look like a traditional locomotive, it can be dispatched quickly compared to coal fired steam locomotive.

    F&G only bills for their actual costs incurred. Using a helicopter as an analogy, F&G has requested a commercial helicopter to assist in past rescues and billed the rescued for the cost. I expect the cog could elect to bill for their services and if F&G deemed them necessary, the cog could bill and this cost would be passed to the rescued. If this happened I expect the rescued person could attempt to argue that the Cog was not needed and therefore they were not going to pay. In past helicopter cases I believe they state collected for the helicopter.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-23-2019 at 08:38 PM.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    . I would question the selection of the Jewell trail by the hiker.
    Why do you say that? I think the Jewell Trail/Gulfside route is the easiest way to top of Washington. With the exception of a few brief boulder fields in upper part the footing is pretty good and the grades are comfortable. If the guy was an amputee it seems like a good choice regardless of proximity to Cog if you're going to attempt such a thing.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    If it was a major derail where the car goes off the track it will be more than an adventure.
    Truth. https://www.newscentermaine.com/arti...tory/476781167

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Why do you say that? I think the Jewell Trail/Gulfside route is the easiest way to top of Washington. With the exception of a few brief boulder fields in upper part the footing is pretty good and the grades are comfortable. If the guy was an amputee it seems like a good choice regardless of proximity to Cog if you're going to attempt such a thing.
    If you want to read anything into my statement, feel free but all I stated was a question if the proximity to the cog was a factor in his selection of a trail.

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    With respect to Cog accidents, they are a regulated railroad and expect they have very strict rules and regulations they need to follow and expect they follow them as no doubt they pay for liability based on risk. Even though the risk is very low, the stakes are high and its not like there are a lot of similar attractions to create a risk pool so its most likely a very custom policy. The Cog is currently replacing a significant portion of their track and have been upgrading their very complex switch system for several years. The prior steam locomotives were hand built and I expect far more prone to major failure leading to an accident than the current designs. They are substantially increasing ridership which inherently will introduce more wear on their system but in theory that increases revenue to hire personnel to so more frequent greater inspections. I doubt anyone would represent that the current owner is not in it for the long term and looking forward to his family taking it over so they are looking at the operation for the long term and one severe accident could lead to a significant short and long term impact to the business.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-25-2019 at 12:28 PM.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    Wow, Fifty years accident free is a damn good record in my book!

    Is there another public transportation system you can think of that can make that claim? Plus they operate in a very harsh environment.
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    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Wow, Fifty years accident free is a damn good record in my book!

    Is there another public transportation system you can think of that can make that claim? Plus they operate in a very harsh environment.
    This is a private party amusement ride more analogous to a ski lift.

    Public transportation systems are a different kettle of fish. The biggest differences are that actual public transport systems have ridership volumes many orders of magnitude higher, 365 operations, and complex intermodal connections/dependencies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Wow, Fifty years accident free is a damn good record in my book!

    Is there another public transportation system you can think of that can make that claim? Plus they operate in a very harsh environment.
    If you want to compare apples to apples, Pike's Peak was accident free for its entire 120+ year life on a longer track and the Pilatus in Switzerland has been death free since it opened in 1889. The Pilatus is the steepest railway in the world, FWIW.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    If you want to read anything into my statement, feel free but all I stated was a question if the proximity to the cog was a factor in his selection of a trail.
    Not really. You just said you "would question the selection of the Jewell Trail by the hiker" which in my mind suggested you thought the trail itself was a risky/dangerous choice for his ability (i.e. questionable as in made an error), which seemed a bit odd for someone like yourself who is very well versed in all the trails of NH and knows the relative difficulty of this route versus others. Was thinking your use of the word "question" implied taking that trail was a bad decision as opposed to curiosity about whether the hiker factored the nearby Cog into his risk assessment when he chose the trail. OK, I guess I did read into what you said.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Wow, Fifty years accident free is a damn good record in my book!

    Is there another public transportation system you can think of that can make that claim? Plus they operate in a very harsh environment.

    I can tell you first hand they take things very serious there on any given day. Totally sober minded the whole day. Tracks are checked every day as well as the coaches from the undercarriage,brakes up to the inside for cleanliness. And yes the conditions are harsh from the track and cog rack laid on blocking only to the steepness of the mountain. Weather is lowest factor any given day.

    I'm glad one hiker praised them. The wife said no hikers would. She's party right.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    I can tell you first hand they take things very serious there on any given day. Totally sober minded the whole day. Tracks are checked every day as well as the coaches from the undercarriage,brakes up to the inside for cleanliness. And yes the conditions are harsh from the track and cog rack laid on blocking only to the steepness of the mountain. Weather is lowest factor any given day.

    I'm glad one hiker praised them. The wife said no hikers would. She's party right.
    Kudos to you for saying so. Personally I can't wait for the "Steam Punk Festival". https://www.railwaytothemoon.com/
    If you would like to read more about positive vibes regarding The Cog and many other notable scenarios on Mt. Washington I suggest reading "The White Mountain" by Dan Szczesny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxewxWsZPgI
    Last edited by skiguy; 06-25-2019 at 11:48 AM.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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