Railway Preservation News

Re: Visit to Cass Yesterday
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Author:  Mike Stillwell [ Thu Aug 19, 2004 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Visit to Cass Yesterday

We took our young son up to Cass yesterday. At 19 months, he loved it. Even the Shay 11 Engineer (Danny S.) said he had never seen one so young, that was into it and not scared. Hopefully the sickness will continue on into the next generation...
Anyway - Cass looked good. 5 engines hot - Shay 2, Shay 5, Shay 6, Heisler 6 and Shay 11. 2 & 11 on the Bald Knob train, Big 6 on the Whitaker turn.
Shay 4 is in the shop, waiting for a reverse cut staybolt tap to be bought so that a few staybolts can be fixed. It is otherwise serviceable. The ex-Brimstone #36 is in the shop undergoing a cosmetic rest. The conductor said it would take the place of the rotten coaches, next to the depot. The new Shay from WA., S.A. Agnew #4 was sitting outside, with some work started. Boiler is good except for the smoke box, which has been removed. The Climax is also in the shop, under the care of the Mountain State Historical Society and progress is being made.
Out on the line, there were signs at numerous spots, were skidders were set and the year, and other similar sites.

All in all a great day

Mike Stillwell


Author:  Dave Crosby [ Thu Aug 19, 2004 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Visit to Cass Yesterday


Nice update, thanks, especially useful since I'll be doing Cass next Wednesday and the D&GV Thursday. Any idea when the engines come out of the barn in the am? Would you recomend the Bald Knob or Spruce trip? The Cass website advertises a photo runby on every trip, how was that, were the engines pushing?

Never been before and very excited about the trip.

Dave Crosby


Author:  Mike Stillwell [ Thu Aug 19, 2004 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Visit to Cass Yesterday

Hi Dave,

We've always taken the Bald Knob trip, except one time in the late 90's when the line was washed out between Whitaker and the Spruce cut-off. I highly recommend the Bald Knob trip. BTW - It leaves at 10:30 now. It used to leave later!
We didn't have a photo run-by, but we did follow a pair of bear tracking dogs for about a mile. We were on the end car going up grade (engines were pushing, as always). We just kept getting closer and closer, and the dogs wouldn't get off the track. The conductor, Bob Starke, used the emergency whistle and even got a brakeman to help shoo them. They finally stopped the train, when we were about 12 feet from them, and let them go on up ahead. They took the turn to Spruce, so we just continued on up. One passenger asked if it was a common practice, to which Mr. Starke replied no, but not to worry they wouldn't hurt the animals, he liked some dogs more than some people. I sure do like WVA! I bet this is what the Graham County was like, except we stayed on the tracks the whole trip.
I forgot to mention the Durbin train. We drove down before we went up to Cass, must have been about 9 - 9:30, the Climax was still in the barn. I was hoping to say hello to my buddy Ben True, but things looked quiet, so we didn't poke around. The Middle Fork Heisler is there now, all in pieces, but at least there. They may have been working on the boiler, but I'm not sure. There was also a log loader that I had not noticed before. The D&GV has just gotten better and better in recent years.

Have a good time, even if it's cold - which is always a real possibility, I'm sure you'll like it.



Author:  G. W. Laepple [ Thu Aug 19, 2004 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Visit to Cass Yesterday

> Hi Dave,

Here's a little tip. We used to ride the first Whitaker trip, but on our Bald Knob tickets. Get off at Whittaker and walk over the top of the little hill. You can then watch the Whitaker train drop down through the switchbacks and meet the Bald Knob train, watch the Bald Knob run come up through the switchbacks and rumble by you, and walk back over the hill to Whittaker and get on the train to continue on to Bald Knob. Ask the station agent whether you are still permitted to do that.
Another thing that is very enjoyable: if you are staying somewhere nearby, in the evening, after things have settled down, take a stroll up to the shop and hang out with the hostlers for a while. They are always glad for the company, and they often have to move things around, getting engines to the coal dock or the ash pit, and there are plenty of opportunities for atmospheric photos. And be sure to check out the dead line, too!
Cheers -- Wayne


Author:  Dave Crosby [ Thu Aug 19, 2004 1:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Visit to Cass Yesterday

Great Tips

I'm staying at the Cass Cabins, so heading down in the early am or evening won't be an issue.

Thanks Again!

Dave Crosby


Author:  Phil Mulligan [ Thu Aug 19, 2004 4:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Visit to Cass Yesterday

The folks at Cass told us the loggers enroute down to Cass for a night on the town would get off the train at Whittaker and walk down. Seems it was faster.

They still tell that story?

Electric City Trolley Museum Association

Author:  David A. Vago [ Fri Aug 20, 2004 12:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Visit to Cass Yesterday

A couple of tips:
First, the Bald Knob train is now the first train out of the day, and there are fewer Whittaker trains, so catching them coming through the switchbacks may be more of a challenge.
Second, regarding the question about coming out of the barn in the AM, the engines are kept hot on a ready track outside, so you can see them anytime. The trains come in to the depot about 20 mins before departure.
Third, going up and visiting the hostlers, as recommended, isn't a bad idea at all. Most of the time they are friendly, and always with interesting things to talk about.
As for Durbin, things are a little more relaxed than at Cass. On nights before a run, the hostler's usually there in the early evenings, and later if it's the night preceding the first run of the weekend and the engine is cold.
Have a good visit. They are good people there.
Dave Vago


Author:  BenTrue [ Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:03 am ]
Post subject:  flattery may get you some where....

> run, the hostler's usually there in the
> early evenings, and later if it's the night
> preceding the first run of the weekend and
> the engine is cold.
> Have a good visit. They are good people
> there.

But I am still only one hostler.....;)
Any way, there is usually some one around during the day, and depending on timing you may catch me lighting off (the locomotive that is) on Wednesday night. But if you miss me then I'll be firing thrusday so don't be afraid to flag me down and introduce your self.

And Mike let a body know next time your coming in to the area and maybe I won't be out chasing down Class A Climax Replicas.....


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