After more than a century as one of the area’s premier tourist attractions, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway’s future is in doubt.

The railway, which has shuttled generations of visitors on breathtaking, 8.9-mile trips to the summit of Pikes Peak and back, won’t reopen this spring after several months of maintenance, and it could remain closed for up to three years while its owner, The Broadmoor hotel, studies its fate, Broadmoor President and CEO Jack Damioli said Tuesday.

UPDATE: Read more about recent developments in the saga of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway

And after that process, it might never reopen, he said.

The railway, whose system of cog wheels mesh with a special center “rack” rail that allows the train to climb much steeper grades than traditional trains could, has operated safely since it opened in 1891, Damioli said.

Now, however, “we have determined that the Cog Railway infrastructure and equipment has run its course,” he said.

As a result, and because relatively few such railways exist in the world, hotel officials have launched a review of the Cog Railway that could take two to three years.

That review could result in recommendations that would include a complete closure of the railway, Damioli said.

Another option could be to completely rebuild the railroad’s track, replace its cars and upgrade a depot and related facilities, at a cost likely to run “tens of millions of dollars,” he said.

Or, the hotel might settle on a plan for something between a full closure and a complete rebuild.

Follow this story with the Colorado Springs Gazette for the most recent updates.

Here’s a video OutThere Colorado shot on the Cog Railway a year ago.

For a virtual reality experience, check out this OutThere Colorado video.

Check with the Colorado Springs Gazette for the most recent updates.

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