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Hancock, Michigan: Quincy Mine Tram


A major historical and tourist landmark in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan is the Quincy Mine outside of Hancock, which produced copper from the 1800s until 1945, and had the world's largest steam hoist. It is now owned and operated as a museum by the Quincy Mine Hoist Association, as part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.

To transport visitors down the steep hill to the mine entrance, a 0.4 mile (0.65 km) diesel-powered tram was built in 1996. It uses a cogwheel drive with a rack between the rails. Although these railways are fairly common in the Alps, as far as I know there are only two others in the United States: the Mt. Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire, and the Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway in Colorado.

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These pictures are from a visit to the mine in June 2005.

[picture] The site's dominant landmark is the hoist house for the Quincy No. 2 mine shaft.

[picture #1] | [picture #2] The tram's upper station.

[picture #1] | [picture #2] Going down, we get a spectacular view across the Portage Ship Canal, dominated by the lift bridge for U.S. route 41, with the city of Houghton on the other side.

[picture] Near the bottom, we approach the lower station on a steep grade.

[picture] Looking back up the hill from the lower station.

[picture] Passengers board a tractor-hauled trailer for the trip into mine entrance, at left.

[picture] Interior of the mine.

[picture #1] | [picture #2] Near the upper tram station are some steam locomotives that were used to haul copper ore on the Quincy & Torch Lake Railroad, the mine's connection to the rest of the railroad system. The one in the first picture was built for the railroad in 1889 and served during the line's entire lifetime, 1890-1945.

This page was last updated and links checked on 18 February 2010.

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