My Visit To Cass Scenic Railroad State Park


Hey y’all!  Looking back, it’s been three years to the day that I rode the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  To commemorate that day, I am going to post pictures of my most recent train ride: the Cass Scenic Railroad.  Once a logging line, this 14-mile railroad has since been turned into a West Virginia state park, with old logging locomotives (mostly Shays) being used for power.  Starting at the Cass, West Virginia, railroad depot, your ride will take you up the nearby mountains, with several overlooks of the Appalachians.  The climb is a tough one, with grades that can reach 9-10%, and even then, two switchbacks are employed on the route.  Along the way, you will pass the recreated logging camp at Whitaker, where you can get a feel of what the area was like during the logging operations.  The summit of Bald Knob is the end of the line for the Cass Scenic Railroad, and here you get sweeping views of the Appalachians, as well as the National Radio Observatory in the valley below.  After a twenty-minute stop, you begin your journey back to Cass.  If you ever visit West Virginia, I would highly recommend a visit to Cass, where you can either take the train to Bald Knob, or the train to Whitaker.  Both are well worth the time.

Here are the pictures I took while I was visiting.  Enjoy!

 

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, and this is in no way a paid advertisement.  These are just my thoughts and descriptions of the ride.

 

 

 

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Blog recommendation


If you’ve enjoyed this blog so far, then I am going to recommend another blog for you to follow.  The man who owns the blog is a friend of mine and is an avid model railroader.  He is currently building an HO layout called the Paducah and Lake Erie, a modern, coal-hauling bridge line set in southwestern Pennsylvania.  I’ll post the link below. Enjoy!

 

Paducah & Lake Erie Model Railroad

National Train Day 2015 and Norfolk and Western 2156’s move to Roanoke


 

This year’s National Train Day had a pleasant occurrence.  I spent most of the day at the Kirkwood Missouri Pacific train station in Kirkwood, MO, which now serves Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner.  There were several displays set up inside the station, but most everyone was on the train platform to catch some action on Union Pacific’s Jefferson City Subdivision, in the form of a CSX autorack, a UP train, and Amtrak.  The main attraction to the station today, though, was a local freight towing a steam legend: Norfolk and Western 2156.  Two UP diesels were on the point, with a Norfolk Southern unit tucked in behind.  The train included a few NS coaches, a baggage car, and, of course, N&W 2156.  This was just the beginning of her journey, which started at the National Museum of Transportation, and will end at the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke.  This is a homecoming for the mammoth 2-8-8-2 Y6a, because she was build in the Roanoke Shops of the Norfolk & Western for use on the railroad’s coal routes.  At Roanoke, she will be reunited with her cousin, N&W 2-6-6-4 1218, as well as N&W Class J 611, which has recently been returned to steam.  Together, they make up the remnant of the glory days of the Norfolk and Western, which kept steam much long after the rest of the major railroads had converted to diesels.  She will stay at the VTM for the next five years, and will receive a cosmetic restoration while there.  So here’s to you, 2156, to your stay in Roanoke with your family, and your return in 2020 to St. Louis.

My visit to the Strasburg Railroad.


The run around at Lehman Place.  My time at the Strasburg Railroad, which still runs under it’s original charter dating from 1832, was one the greatest railroading experiences that I will ever have.  The atmosphere of being in Amish farmland was very enjoyable, as was the weather.  It was enhanced with an old station to buy your tickets from and a 12” gauge children’s railroad around the station’s complex.  Before our departure, my family and I were able to stroll around and look at the engine that was to pull our train, former Norfolk and Western 4-8-0 #475, and some of the buildings.  Upon departure, we got into our car and found our seats.  For the choice of cars, I would recommend the open-air car, which made the ride way more enjoyable with nice fresh air and the sights of beautiful countryside without having to look through a window.  Just after we left the station we saw a motel where, instead of renting a room, you rent a caboose. There are some railroad crossings along the short 5 mile trip, and they provide the chance to hear that great steam whistle.   After one of the crossings, this one being at Cherry Hill, there is a passing siding along the line past at Groff’s Grove, where, when the railroad is running two trains at once, the trains meet.  Sadly, when I was there it was just the one train running, and we didn’t get to see a meet.  After that the last place of importance we got to was Lehman Place ( a.k.a. Paradise, Pennsylvania), the end of the line.  At Lehman Place, the railroad has a runaround track so the engine can pull chimney first back to Strasburg, after pulling tender first to Lehman Place.  The Strasburg Railroad interchanges with Amtrak’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Harrisburg line at Lehman Place and, during my visit, an electric Amtrak train went by at such a high speed that if I had blinked I would have missed it.  The runaround complete, we started the short trip back to Strasburg.  I went back to the complex the next day to railfan a bit and to get a  t-shirt of the railroad after stopping at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (see earlier post).  There was very friendly service at the railroad, and I would highly recommend anyone in the area to pay a visit to the Strasburg Railroad, one of the oldest operating railroads in the whole world.

Here are pictures from my visit: