Adventurers in the Appalachia
My First trip on the Southwest Chief going to
the 2018 NRHS Convention in Cumberland, Maryland
Cass Bald Knob train trip
August 7, 2018
Text and Photos by Author
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morning started with breakfast in the dining room of The Ramada
Cumberland. They put on a nice spread and it was good to see
some familiar faces from past conventions. After my fulfilling
meal, I met Chris and we went to Enterprise to pick up a rental
car for today's ride to Cass Bald Knob train. After the
paperwork was done, Madeline T., our order writer, left to get
the car and gas it up. Unfortunately this delayed us over forty
minutes, time that we didn't have to spare today. Once we
got the car, a Nissan Altima, we picked up Bob and Elizabeth at
the hotel and headed toward Cass. I have a feeling that today
will be interesting for sure. When we first started, Chris
missed the the turn to Highway 28, our main road this morning to
get to Cass. Lucky for us Elizabeth was able find directions on
her phone and guided Chris.This took us to a road with sign of a
toll bridge ahead. When we approached the toll both, a lady
sitting on a stool reached out with a water dipper attached to a
long stick to take our toll. Reminded me of the collection
baskets the ushers use at church. We laughed as Chris paid the
toll and we looked at the bridge, but we proceeded to the bridge
and drove across it very slowly hoping it would hold.
We made it across much to our glee and delight.
Near Romney, WV we passed the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad which
we will ride on Friday 8/10 with the convention.
Future KFC Extra Crispy?
We continued down Highway
28, passing through such places as Moorefield, Petersburg,
Seneca Rocks and finally Greenbank before we arrived at Cass at
11:26. MapQuest was completely correct saying it would take two
hours and twenty-eight minutes to get there.
Green Bank National Radio Observatory.
The real thing. All radio signals in surrounding areas are blocked
so as not to interfere with the observation. So your cell phone
will not work here.
Cass Depot and MP 0.
Shay No. 2, a Pacific Coast
Shay, was constructed in July 1928 for the Mayo Lumber Company
of Paldi, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Originally a
wood-burner, later converted to burn oil and then rebuilt to
burn bituminous coal at Cass, No. 2 is the only known Shay to
have used all three types of fuel.
The train is almost ready to
leave for Bald Knob. We stopped at the depot immediately to pick
up our tickets for the noon train. Elizabeth, Bob and Chris and
I were assigned to Car G with a bathroom. At noon, the train
started up the grade toward Bald Knob with the engine pushing
the cars from the rear.
The Cass Mill included the drying kilns, boiler house, power house
and sawmill ruins can be seen to the east of the tracks.
Cass Shay 11 came from the Pacific Southwest Museum in Campo,
California and was built in 1923 for the Hutchinson Lumber
Company as their 3.
Cass Shay 5 is from the Greenbrier and Elk River and has been
here for over 100 years in West Virginia. It was built by Lima
in 1905. A West Virginia Senate Resolution declared Shay 5 the
State's Official Steam Engine on March 11, 2004.
Meadow River 3 truck Shay 7 built by Lima in 1920.
The train crossed Leatherbark Creek twice.
Black Mountain Road crossing.
Cass Shay 2 is working hard up the grade to the Black Mountain
Now as we travel through the woods, the train begins its climb up
the grade using several switchbacks.
The 11:00am train to Whitaker with Cass Shay 4 was waiting for our
train at the upper switchback.
Waiting for the other train to pass by.
Views of West Virginia hills.
The railroad yard at Whittaker.
Whittaker Station, an authentic, recreated logging camp.
Tracks on right go to Elkins on the Salamander train, about 57
miles, here at Old Spruce. Tomorrow we will take it when we travel
on the Salamander with the NRHS convention.
Tender with crew taking on water at Oats Creek.
Bald Knob overlook.
Observatory radio antenna in background.
A rental caboose.
We all reboarded the train as a rain stormed down on us making the
crowd move from one side to the other in the cars as the wind and
rain changed directions.
The rain and train both stopped at Whittaker.
The snack shack were the devil made be buy an ice cream sandwich
which garnered looks of envy from passengers as I strolled through
Wild Heart Connector Package. Two trains - One ticket! Ride the
Class Scenic Railroad and the Cheat Mountain Salamander-all in one
Back Mountain Road crossing Leatherbark Creek.
Arriving back in the train yard.
No 4 back in the yard. Built in 1922, this Shay began service at
Birch Valley Lumber Company, Tioga, WV as their No 5. The Mower
Lumber Company at Cass acquired the engine in 1943 and renumbered
it to No. 4. This locomotive represents typical Lima Class 70-3
Shay locomotives constructed for West Virginia logging
No 4 has the distinction of pulling the last log train at Cass on
June 30, 1960, while it was the first Shay to pull excursion
trains for the Cass Scenic Railroad in June 1963.
More water for these thirsty engines.
One last view of the Cass
station for today. We will back here tomorrow and I would like
to thank Cass Railroad and Mountain Rail for having us here
today. The trip was really interesting and Bob, Elizabeth and
Chris all loved it as much as I did. The good news is that we
get to go from Cass to Old Spruce tomorrow and ride up the
mountain again. We drove back via Elkins so we were able to see
part of the route along the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River. We
stopped at a Subway in Elkins and I picked up a Chicken Teriyaki
sub to go and returned to Cumberland at 8:50 PM. We picked up
NRHS convention badges and goodie bags then returned to our
rooms to prepare for tomorrow's adventures.
Thanks for reading.
Text and Photos by Author
author retains all rights. No reproductions are
allowed without the author's consent.