Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Mt. Washington Cog Railway

Frequently Asked Questions

Riding the Mount Washington Cog Railway is an amazing and unforgettable experience! Below are answers to common questions guests have about the trip to the Summit of Mount Washington on the First Mountain Climbing Train in the World!

What is the Difference Between Platform A, B & C?

We dispatch several trains at the same time.  Our platforms are used to board our trains and to indicate which of the trains you are seated on. All the trains leave from the same place. We add trains as demand warrants.  Each train boards from a different platform.  The platforms are labeled using the letters A, B, C or D..

A picture of three trains and the three (A,B,C,) Boarding Platforms at the Mount Washington Cog Railway
Boarding Platforms at the Mount Washington Cog Railway

If I Don’t Want to Miss My Train, How Soon Should I Arrive at the Base Station?

We suggest that you arrive at the Base Station at least 45 minutes before your train is scheduled  to depart.  This will provide you with ample opportunity to pick up your tickets and visit the restroom, if necessary.  There are no restrooms on the trains, facilities are located in the Base Station & the Summit buildings.  We suggest passengers visit the restrooms, gift shop and food court located in the Base Station before leaving for or after returning from the summit.

If you intend to pick your tickets up at the Base Station arrive early!  If you arrive late and miss your train we will attempt to get you on the next available train.

A view of the boarding process at the Mount Washington Cog Railway
A view of boarding on the Mount Washington Cog Railway

Do I Need a Reservation?

Reservations aren’t required, however, we have limited capacity and most trains sell out in advance.  We have assigned seating, so we highly recommend getting reservations if you would like a particular seat or want to stick to a certain schedule. We experience very high demand on the weekends, holiday and foliage periods.  And there is tremendous demand for the steam trains.  If you are planning on visiting us during those peak periods, or wish to ride on the steam train, reservations are highly recommended as trains can be sold out weeks in advance.

Why can’t I buy a One Way Down in Advance?

Mount Washington is renowned for its severe and unpredictable weather.  Train operations can be curtailed or limited by weather conditions. There is no guarantee that a train will always go to the Summit.  The weather can change rapidly and we do not wish to leave you stranded on the top of the mountain! Always be prepared to hike back down just in case.  The Railway operates on a strict schedule. If you do not make it to the top before the train departs you may miss the train on which you had reservations and we can’t assure you that there will be room on the next available train.

General Information

The Mount Washington Cog Railway is open for business from mid April through November,  although we continue to expand the length of our operating season.  Throughout the season, the Cog hosts events and offers various specials and discounts on select trains.  A calendar providing train departure times can be found on our train schedule page. We strongly suggest you book your tickets in advance because capacity is limited and trains sell out on a routine basis.

  1. All schedules, fares and motive power are subject to change without notice. Train trips may be shortened due to extreme weather. In this event, passengers will be provided a credit toward the purchase price of their ticket.  See our Terms of  Use on our Buy Tickets page for more details.
  2. The Cog Railway primarily operates clean, environmentally friendly and efficient biodiesel locomotives.  Coal-fired steam locomotives will generally be operated twice each day.  View our train schedule here.
  3. You may purchase tickets at the ticket office, but advance ticket purchase is recommended and available online up to the departure time of any train. Buy Tickets Online here.
  4. Our coaches are historic in design, with narrow door openings. However, every effort is made to accommodate special needs. Please call ahead for assistance.
  5. Coaches are enclosed and heated when necessary, and run in all weather.  It is generally much colder on the summit of the mountain than it is at the base.  Please be sure to bring warm clothing.
  6. Smoking is not permitted on any train or in any of our buildings at any time.
  7. Passengers may not carry alcohol on board at any time. (RSA 179.27)
  8. Please arrive early enough to allow yourself time to pick up tickets and visit the rest rooms. All trains begin boarding 15 minutes before departure. It is suggested that passengers use the restrooms, gift shop and food court at Marshfield Base Station prior to leaving for or after returning from the Summit.
  9. There are no restroom facilities on the train. There are restroom facilities inside the base station and summit buildings.
  10. Only legitimate service animals are allowed on the train. (No pets, please.)
  11. Some trains are authentic coal-fired steam, please dress accordingly and be prepared to experience coal smoke and cinders from burning coal.  It is suggested that dark clothing be worn.
  12. Strollers, car seats and coolers are not allowed on the train. Carry-on items must be small enough to fit on your lap.

Group Rates

Group Rates are available, please visit our Group Page for details.

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