GREEN BANK, W.Va. – In 1900, a community’s economy would rely on logging timber on Cheat Mountain and the mill operations in town. Cass, West Virginia, was a logging town. In 1960, after years of operation, that industry was worked out and regeneration of a different forest and community would begin again. On June 15, 1963, that new economy would become Cass Scenic Railroad, a tourist train. Shay No. 4 (and No. 1) departed the depot at 10:30 a.m. with the passengers riding in four converted flat car took the inaugural run. Since then, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park has continued to preserve railroad history and community.
On Saturday, June 15, 2013, 50 years to the date and hour, Shay No. 4 will once again haul its “people cargo” up Cheat Mountain to Whittaker Station to commemorate what has become an icon for the Mountain State’s tourism industry – Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Tickets for this Golden Anniversary run are limited to 240 passengers and may be purchased in advance.
Cass Scenic Railroad begins daily trips on May 24 and continues through October 27, 2013. Except for major Monday holidays, trips are not scheduled on Mondays and for 10 days mid-week in early September. Train fares are $18 weekday and $21 weekends for adults to Whittaker Station; $13 and $16 for youth fare in the summer and slightly more in Fall Foliage season that begins September 20. For ticket information and advance ticket sales, call Cass Scenic Railroad at 304-456-4300 or visit www.cassrailroad.com
Other special train runs at Cass Scenic Railroad in 2013 include:
Heisler/Old Spruce Run – May 25, June 20, July 20, July 27, August 31, September 21
Special runs to Old Spruce depart at 10:30 a.m. with Heisler #6 working the rails. This locomotive was built in 1929 for the Bostonia Coal and Clay Products Company of New Bethlehem PA as their #20, and is Heisler #6 today at Cass Scenic Railroad. She's a standard class C-90 3 truck Heisler. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged.
Evening Dinner Train with Entertainment – June 1, June 22, July 13, July 27, August 10, August 24
Evening dinner trains feature musical entertainment, a train ride to Whittaker Station and a wonderful buffet-style meal. Dinner trains depart at 5:15 p.m. from the Cass Depot and advance reservations are required.
50th Anniversary Run – June 15
Individuals with advance ticket purchases for the 10:30 a.m. departure to Whittaker Station will help mark the 50th anniversary run. Tickets will be sold in advance and are limited to 240. A second Whittaker Run departs at 2 p.m. A Bald Knob Run departs at noon. For ticket information and purchase, call 304-456-4300
Double Header to Bald Knob – June 16, July 5, August 11, September 22
Four Sunday trips to Bald Knob, which depart at noon, will feature a double header which would have been typical of a run in logging years. Prices remain the same as typical Bald Knob fares, but on these Sundays it is double locomotive power.
New Moon Run - Lunar Express Series – July 9, August 6
A new moon means dark skies for this trip. There are two “New Moon” runs in 2013. Departing the depot at 8 p.m., (that's right, 8 p.m.) the train climbs to Whittaker Station. This Lunar Express will host 100 passengers.
The Great Train Race – July 13
A special run to Old Spruce departs at 10:30 a.m. This run features a double header and part of the great train race event; music and food. This event is in conjunction with the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. Ticket sales to ride Cass Scenic Railroad with Shay No. 6 for this event can be made by phoning 304-636-9477.
Full Moon Run - Lunar Express Series – August 20, September 19
These are two special evening “Full Moon” runs that travel to Bald Knob, departing the depot at 8 p.m. with a short stop at Whittaker and then proceeding to Bald Knob. There will be a stop at Oats Run for water and moonlight visit at West Virginia’s second highest natural elevation. Return to depot by 12:30 a.m.
Halloween Train – October 26
The “Haunted Train” ride to Whittaker Station on the last Saturday in October is filled with ghostly surprises for all. It includes a rare night descent back to Cass is part of the experience. Train departs the depot at 6 p.m. Passengers are encouraged to wear costumes.
About Shay No. 4 – The 50th Anniversary Locomotive
Looking like she did in 1963 with no signs of aging or slowing down, Shay No. 4 will do the honors on June 15, 2013, 50 years to the date of the inaugural run of Cass Scenic Railroad as a tourist train and destination.
Specifications – Builder No. 3189. Class: C-70. Bore: 12 inches. Drivers: 36 inches. Trucks: 3. Weight: 80 tons. Date in service: December 9, 1922
Originally numbered 5, this Shay began service at Birch Valley Lumber Company, Tioga, West Virginia in 1922. Mower Lumber Company at Cass, West Virginia acquired the engine in 1943 and re-numbered it No. 4.
Shay Number 4 represents typical Lima Class C-70 locomotives built for West Virginia loggers during the 1920s. With its well-proportioned diamond stack and arch-windowed cab, Shay No. 4 is a very traditional locomotive.
To learn more about Cass Scenic Railroad, visit www.cassrailroad.com
or call 304-456-4300.
Cass Scenic Railroad or Brad Reed, District Administrator
304-456-4300 or 304-558-2764