Real-time weather monitoring keeps cog railway passengers safe

By on October 29, 2010

Over half a million tourists visit Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs each year to enjoy stunning vistas at the summit, which sits at an altitude of 14,110 feet above sea level.

Many of them ascend the mountain while riding the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which takes patrons from Manitou Springs to the mountaintop year-round as long as weather permits.

Weather is closely monitored along the railway and at the summit to ensure train operation is safe. Wind gusts can exceed 100 mph at such high altitudes, and a sustained blast could pose a danger to the trains and their passengers.

In order to better assess weather conditions, Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway general manager Spencer Wren had a NexSens weatherVIC weather monitoring system from Fondriest Environmental installed. The system is easy to set up and includes all components necessary for logging weather data directly to a Windows-based computer.

The weatherVIC system includes a Vaisala WXT520 multi-parameter weather sensor, pre-wired 100 foot sensor cable, AC power supply, and NexSens weatherVIC software. After a few simple steps, the station begins logging real-time weather data.

With the help of this highly accurate automatic weather station, officials can temporarily suspend train operation if gusts exceed a certain wind speed or other conditions indicate travel is unsafe.

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