We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Cog Railway?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A cog railway is a railway which is equipped with a toothed center track which articulates with a cog underneath the locomotive. The cog and track create more traction for the train. Such railways can be found in many regions of the world, and while they are often operated as novelties because trains are less heavily used for transport, some do continue to be used in practical applications.

The main reason to install a cog railway is a concern that a train may have difficulty making its way up a grade. In this case, using the cog and center track will keep the train from slipping as it goes up or down the grade. Cog railways can be used on mountainsides to allow a train to go up and down the mountain reasonably safely, and they are also used in urban and rural settings where a grade is steep enough that a conventional train might not be able to navigate it.

Speed is a limitation with a cog railway. The train can generally only move fairly slowly, because the articulation of the cog and track prevents rapid progress. The locomotive may push or pull the cars, depending on whether it is going up or down hill and the preferences of the operator. Thanks to the cog and track, the locomotive has excellent braking ability, which can increase safety significantly.

Also known as a rack and pinion or rack railway, a cog railway can be used to move people and goods in an area where other vehicles might not be able to function. On a mountain, for example, cars and trucks might not be able to navigate. Alternatives to cog railways include gondolas and lifts, along with cable railways.

Cog railways operated as novelties for the tourist trade can be found in many communities. Often, a steam engine is used for additional novelty, although diesel locomotives can be applied as well. If a steam engine is used, visitors may be able to see a curious variation on locomotive design developed specifically for the cog railway. To function properly, the boiler of a steam engine must be relatively level, and in the case of a cog railway, a normally positioned boiler will tilt as the train moves uphill. To compensate for this, some locomotives on cog railways have tilted boilers which look misaligned on level ground, but which move into a level position as the train climbs up a hill, ensuring that the boiler will work right when the train needs power most.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.