Up on the roof. Just about 20 minutes before official sunset, MWRC #2 "Ammonoosuc" sits on the Mt. Washington summit platform, while it's passengers explore the summit. You are looking east here, from the observation deck atop the Sherman Adams Summit Building. During the fall colors season, the Cog Railway operates from 7:30 AM until about 7 PM. This means that the first departure of the day, which is the morning steam trip, will leave Marshfield Station before alpine sunrise. It also means that the very last down-mountain train.....the one seen here, will arrive back at Marshfield well after sunset....basically just before it is fully dark. Timing is critical, since this train has no electric headlights on either end.
The coach seen in this image is "Super Coach" #6, which is currently dedicated to steam operations. Over most of its history, the coaches on the Mt. Washington Cog Railway were significantly smaller than this. Historic photos show a variety of designs, most of which were built and maintained in the Marshfield Shops. Most were wood-frame carriages, but there was an experiment in the mid-1900s which involved cars made of aluminum. Those were not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as what you see today.
The current generation of coaches were developed in the late 1900s and hold 70 passengers, the most of any design so far. There are 3 seats on one side of the aisle, and 2 on the other. They were originally called "Super Coaches", but this term seems to have faded away, as the entire fleet are now basically the same size. There are 8 of these coaches. Each has 2 axles, and both axles have cogwheels and brakes. In addition, each coach is equipped with a Sprag Clutch, which allows the axle to turn in only one direction. This is typically set for the ascent, so the coach can never roll back, even if the locomotive disappears completely, and it is released for the descent. The coach is never physically coupled to either the steam or diesel locomotives. The locomotive has a roller bumper on its nose, and this presses up against a bumper plate on the downhill side of the coach. The only physical connection between the coach and the locomotive is a pull-cord, which the Brakeman/Conductor can use to signal the engine crew to stop. On the steam trains, the locomotive does its own braking using cylinder compression, similar to the "Jake Brake" on a diesel truck. Water and oil are admitted to the cylinders to cool and lubricate them, and the cylinder cocks are left open. The Brakeman/Conductor does all of the braking for the coach, using a pair of manual brake wheels at the back of the car, each of which winds the brakes on one axle. His goal is for the coach to lightly touch the locomotive, all the way down and he is one busy puppy during the descent. As noted, he can bring the car down the hill even if the locomotive is not there. With the diesel locomotives, the engine does all of the braking for the entire train. The coach retains its own brakes, and the Brakeman/Conductor stands by at the rear of the coach, ready to react if there is a problem, but the diesel normally does all of the work.