CASS, W.Va. – Originally numbered 5, this Shay locomotive at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park began service at Birch Valley Lumber Company, Tioga, W.Va., in 1922. Mower Lumber Company at Cass, W.Va., acquired the engine in 1943 and re-numbered it No. 4. Shay No. 4 is typical of Lima Class C-70 locomotives, with a well-proportioned diamond stack and arch-windowed cab and a very traditional locomotive.
Cass Scenic Railroad’s first official run as a tourist train was Saturday, June 15, 1963. It departed from the depot 10:30 a.m. The maiden trip was to Whittaker Station. History repeats itself in 2013 on the same date and time. “And the same locomotive, Shay No. 4, is doing the honors,” said Scott Fortney, park superintendent at Cass Scenic Railroad.
“The day is more about the train, logging history, and the locomotives than pomp and circumstance,” Fortney said. Ben H. Dickens will be in attendance. Dickens was the first park superintendent (1962-1963) and has recently penned a book about Cass history titled “Cass Scenic Railroad: Making History Everyday.” Reflections and remarks are planned at Whittaker Station during the one-hour stop.
While at Whittaker Station, visitors can take a tour of the authentic logging camp recreated by the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association. Whittaker Camp One exhibit is a recreated logging camp of the 1940s that shows both the living quarters and the tools of the loggers. The centerpiece of Camp One is a Lidgerwood tower skidder, one of only two examples left in the world. These huge railcar-mounted machines carried logs out of the woods on aerial cables high in the air and for distances up to 3,000 feet.
The Cass Showcase, Company Store and Last Run Restaurant are open. Walking tours of the Town of Cass are encouraged. Photography opportunities of Shay No. 4 will be upon return to the depot after the anniversary. This should occur at approximately 1 p.m. Twenty of the Cass two-story company houses are renovated and reservable either by phone and also online.
There are 240 tickets available for this historic trip by advance ticket sales. The cost is $21 for adults and $16 for children (12 and younger). Two other trips are scheduled on June 15, at 2 p.m. to Whittaker Station, again with No. 4 doing the honors; and a noon run to Bald Knob. The Bald Knob fee is $27 for adults and $20 for children (12 and younger).
About June 15, 2013 at Cass Scenic Railroad
A Golden Anniversary Schedule of Activities
10 a.m. - Anniversary Ceremonies
Join Park Superintendent Scott Fortney and park staff to celebrate the 50th year of Cass Scenic Railroad. A ribbon cutting prior to the anniversary run at 10:30 is planned.
Train Runs & Photo Opportunities
10:30 a.m. Anniversary Train departure
Shay No.4 will be the featured locomotive for this historical trip to Whittaker Station. Shay No. 4 and No. 1 were the two engines that powered the first trip as a tourist train on June 15, 1963. The anniversary trip includes a stop at Whittaker Station with commemorative remarks. This is a one-hour stop with opportunity to visit the authentic logging camp, Whittaker Camp One, recreated by the volunteers of the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association prior to return to Cass.
Whittaker Camp One exhibit is a recreated logging camp of the 1940s that shows both the living quarters and the tools of the loggers. The centerpiece of Camp One is a Lidgerwood tower skidder, one of only two examples left in the world. These huge railcar-mounted machines carried logs out of the woods on aerial cables high in the air and for distances up to 3,000 feet.
Advance ticket purchase is required for the Anniversary Run at 10:30. There are 240 tickets available. The cost is $21 for adults; $16 for children 12 and younger. For reservations call 304-456-4300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Noon Departure to Bald Knob
Bald Knob, at an elevation of 4,842 feet, is the third-highest point in West Virginia. Located 11 miles up the mountain from Cass, the train ride round-trip takes 4½ hours. The Bald Knob area has a climate similar to Canada and is abundant in plants typical to the Canadian wilderness. The spectacular view from atop the overlook at Bald Knob provides a view into two states. The train will stop at Whittaker station for about 20 minutes for a rest stop, to purchase a beverage or snack at the concession stand, or to take a tour of the recreated log camp. Tickets for the Bald Knob trip may be purchased in advance or upon arrival. The ticket cost is $27 for adults, $20 for children 12 and younger. There is a Bald Knob run on Sunday, June 16 that is a double header at the same ticket price.
1 p.m. Staged Photo Opportunities & Anniversary Cake
Photo opportunities of Shay No. 4 will be staged upon returning from the Anniversary Run. Also, anniversary cake will be served.
2 p.m. Whittaker Station Trip
Tickets may be purchased in advance or upon arrival. Prices are the same as the 10:30 a.m. trip
Last Run Restaurant
The restaurant, located at the Company Store features a variety of meal and sandwich items. Operated by the Bodkin Sisters, this restaurant features good cooking. The restaurant will pack lunches for trips up the mountain, and a hearty welcome to Cass. Sandwiches, daily specials, and beverages are available at reasonable rates. Restaurant hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Cass Company Store (gift shop) features apparel, Cass memorabilia, souvenirs and more. Anniversary items include books, shirts, cups, commemorative coins, patch and ornaments. Store hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Cass Scenic Railroad: Making History Every Day
Ben H. Dickens, first park superintendent at Cass Scenic Railroad, will be at the Company Store front. Mr. Dickens penned a book, “Cass Scenic Railroad: Making History Every Day,” and will meet, greet and sign books beginning at 1 p.m.
The showcase is a large diorama, a work of art that depicts the Town of Cass when it was a booming logging community. A short film illustrates what the community meant to West Virginia and the world beyond. The 20-30 minutes you spend with the park interpreter, the video and getting questions answered about the town, history, and character of Cass makes this fee-free activity priceless in more ways than one. The first is at 10 a.m. and at the top of every hour, with 5 p.m. being the last scheduled
Located in the Company Store Building, the Museum features items and artifacts of Cass. Open to the public at no charge, visitors can learn more about the trains, community spirit and history of Cass and the surrounding area. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Open to the public at no charge.
Four town tours depart from the Visitors Center. The four walks are guided and begin at 9:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and repeat at 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Locomotive Shop Tours
Six opportunities to see the locomotive maintenance and repair shops are scheduled: 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Inside the shops are the many machines and tools used to keep the locomotives operating. Depending on the work being done, you may see locomotives in various stages of repair and get to talk to the people who do the work. Youth must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Town Tours and Locomotive Shop Tours begin at the Visitors Center.
Scott Fortney, Park Superintendent