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 Post subject: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:55 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:27 pm
Posts: 40
My friend and I rode the Cass Scenic Railroad, Bald Knob train back on July 26th and were disappointed that it only had one Shay locomotive and five cars. In the video below you will hear it working very hard. In our opinion too hard. I know that at least one trip since had two engines and seven cars. What have others seen this year?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUCaIvpwDxc

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John Meixel


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:50 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 12:19 am
Posts: 105
I wouldn't be too concerned. Shay 2 has routinely handled five cars on the Bald Knob trip since coming to Cass in the 70's. The doubleheaders occur when 7 to 9 cars are needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:02 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 951
I did not hear any wheel slips, and the engineman seemed to have everything under control. I would imagine the number of tickets sold for a particular train on a particular day would govern how many cars and engines are assigned to a train. The weather and track conditions may also have some bearing. A rainy day in the fall with lots of leaves on the track might necessitate a helper. If you were riding in the cab, you might notice how far the throttle was open and where the reverse lever was positioned at a particular point in the run. I remember such a ride once, and the engineer never touched the throttle except to open it and shut off. Otherwise, he used the reverse to govern his speed.


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:16 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Doesn't seem that unusual to me. You want to see working hard? Try Roaring Camp with the Heisler and long train. It really gets down on its knees on the 8 percent.

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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:27 pm
Posts: 40
My friend and I have ridden the Cass trains countless times since first riding them in 1972. The following day we rode the Whittaker train with Shay #4 pushing four cars. #4 was not working hard at all. #2 was extremely loud pushing five cars up Bald Knob. Its exhaust was as loud as the whistle and conversation was almost impossible in the car next to it where we always ride. The engineer did have the throttle pulled all the way back because I saw him repeatedly trying to pull it back a little further. I wish I had made a video of the #4 for a sound comparison.

I wrote a lengthy comment about our Cass experiences and sent it to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. I tried to write a very fair assessment of the entire experience including the company house we rented. My only complaints were about the Bald Knob train and their new ticket system.

The other point is that every regular Bald Knob train we rode in the past has always been double headed which is one of the huge benefits of visiting Cass.

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John Meixel


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1734
"In the video below you will hear it working very hard. In our opinion too hard."

Is this a serious post?

Too hard for what? It's a locomotive doing what's clearly in its capacity.

What do you base that assertion on-do you have some belief that a locomotive "working very hard" is subject to some destructive processes? If the wheels were slipping, potentially creating sort of mechanical failures that occurred with the Blue Peter-then you might have reason for alarm-but absent that-this is a personal aesthetic concern.


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:28 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:27 pm
Posts: 40
I base it on lots of prior experience riding these trains and observing how the locomotive worked on the previous trips PLUS talking to the employees on the railroad who complained about the same issues.

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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:58 pm
Posts: 874
working like a Lima was built to.


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 168
Location: Northern WV
Since the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad has taken over the operation of Cass, several changes have taken place. First, the D&GVRR is a for-profit company unlike previously when it was under the WV state park system. They now "highly suggest" reservations which enables them to determine ridership numbers for a particular day's run and how many engines/cars will be required. They don't want to doublehead unless necessary as that represents another engineer and fireman plus extra coal & maintenance. Same with passenger cars as unnecessary mileage means more wear and tear on the equipment. After the initial takeover, fares almost doubled and seem to creep up each year. To their credit, they have kept Cass operating and are rebuilding the Cass to Durbin former C&O Greenbrier river line that most of us never thought would be rebuilt. Eventually they hope to run a former BC&G Consolidation on that line. So.....change happens whether we like it or not. At least we still have this gem running in the beautiful WV mountains, something that might not have continued if they had remained in the WV parks system given WV's financial woes.

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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:34 pm 

Joined: Sat May 14, 2016 7:03 pm
Posts: 8
As long as the engine is hooked up properly, running it wide open isn't "running it too hard". If its down in the corner, wide open THEN that's another story.

You're the first railfan I've ever heard say the crew was running the engine too hard, usually the complaint is it isn't being run hard enough!

I was there myself over Labor Day weekend. We had a 8 car doubleheader with Shays #2 and #11 to Bald Knob. One heck of a show and no complaint from me!

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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:35 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 11:16 am
Posts: 145
Location: Southwest Virginia
I've heard it work harder, but it would be nice if they fixed the valve timing. It's been off for many years. I asked Gerold Cassell about it long ago and he said that was a much as they could adjust out of it!

Mike Stillwell
Buena Vista, VA.


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:48 pm
Posts: 63
You'll know when it is worked too hard, when it stalls on dry sanded rail, otherwise it's in it's design element.


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:27 pm
Posts: 40
Roger, I have questions about your post. When we were there we were told that every Bald Knob train was five cars with thirty passengers per car. They did not say that the train size would be adjusted. When a train was sold out that was it. After we were there I saw a post on the OGR Forum which said their Bald Knob train had two engines and seven cars. How have they changed the train size and is it adjustable like you described? More important, are all Bald Knob trains now double headed or does that vary by the number of tickets sold in advance?

Thank you!

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John Meixel


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:42 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 168
Location: Northern WV
Meixel-I don't really have any "inside" information other than what I have read on this and other rail-related forums. I think you will find the answers to your questions by checking out the Facebook group "CASShews". The link is below. Scroll down to the Sep 8th post and then to the Aug 15th post. The short answer is they run double headers when absolutely necessary. At other expected busy times for Bald Knob, they are now running two separate trains at different departure times.

https://www.facebook.com/casshewscassscenicrrpage/

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Roger Cole


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 Post subject: Re: Cass Bald Knob train with only one engine and five cars
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:04 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 384
I, too have been going to Cass since the late 1960s, and most recently helping the MSRR&LA with the Climax.

Shay #2 is a Pacific Coast, superheated engine. It can handle five cars on that railroad with ease. What I see and hear, and what I think you see and hear, is a valve timing problem. The valves are not set properly (as others here have noted) and this causes the engine to run "rough". This causes some piston strokes to have little power, and little resulting "bark", while others have more, and more. So.........instead of running smooth and sounding fine, it is still pulling the same load, but running a bit rough and sounding a bit rough. Yes, the throttle is pulled out further because it is basically running on two cylinders, not three. Annoying, yes. Damaging the loco?.......no.


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