Cog railway representative voices optimism

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Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the Pikes Peak Bulletin, a publication of Colorado Publishing House, which publishes the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

By Jack Elder

Gary Pierson, CEO of The Broadmoor and Sea Island LLC, appeared at Tuesday’s Manitou City Council meeting and gave a very positive assessment of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway’s future.

Pierson’s brief council presentation will be followed by a more detailed public presentation on Monday, June 11.

The Cog has been closed for months after a summer in which many days’ travel up the peak were lost to mechanical breakdowns and The Broadmoor sought possible solutions to the railway’s infrastructure and mechanical needs.

Pierson told Council that there had been scant news about the train because “we didn’t know” what studies would reveal or what the Broadmoor would decide to do. Rumors of the Cog’s permanent closure were rampant.

Pierson described a three-step process. First, a six-month study to determine if the railroad can be repaired or replaced, who would be involved and at what cost. This stage is 98 percent complete, Pierson said.

Second, coordination of the logistics involved to determine if the work can actually be physically accomplished. This determination will be completed this month.

The third stage of the preliminary process is contracting and final design. This step is made more difficult since “about half a dozen” of the companies involved are in Switzerland and only one or two are in the United States.

“It can be done,” Pierson said, adding that the Broadmoor feels obligated to repair and re-open the cog due to its importance to the region and the state, as well as to the nation at large. He also said that having the train shut down is “very costly” to the Broadmoor and that “no one has been laid off.”

Notably for Manitou Springs, Pierson said that the Broadmoor is exploring ways to reimburse Manitou for tax revenue lost because of what will be at least a two-year closure. Entertainment tax and sales tax revenue from the cog typically contribute more than $500,000 annually to Manitou’s economy.

If you go

The public is encouraged to attend a more detailed presentation about the Cog’s future starting at 6 p.m. Monday, June 11, in City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave. Information: www.manitouspringsgov.com.