Description - **Information provivded by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources**
Nestled in the mountains of West Virginia, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park offers excursions that transport you back in time and let you relive an era when steam-driven locomotives were an essential part of everyday life. Trips to Cass are filled with rich histories of the past, unparalleled views of a vast wilderness area, and close-up encounters with the sights and sounds of original steam-driven locomotives.
The town of Cass remains relatively unchanged. The restored company houses add to the charm and atmosphere of the town. From the company store and museum to the train depot, you'll find an abundance of things to do prior to your departure on the historic Cass Railroad.
The Cass Scenic Railroad is the same line built in 1901 to haul lumber to the mill in Cass. The locomotives are the same Shay locomotives used in Cass, and in the rain forests of British Columbia for more than a half-century. The passenger cars are old logging flat-cars refurbished and made into passenger cars.
Once you board the train, the real excitement begins! The great pistons of the carefully restored Shay locomotive will start pulsing, driven by hundreds of pounds of steam pressure. The shaft begins turning, the wheels find traction, and the locomotive begins to move. With thick, black smoke belching from its stack, the train pulls away from the station, passing the old water tower from which the locomotive tanks are filled. As the train rounds the curve up Leatherbark Creek, you'll pass the Cass Shop, where the locomotives are serviced and repaired, and a graveyard of antiquated, but fascinating equipment on sidetracks. As the pressure builds, the locomotive is driven at full steam, and the laborious journey up the mountain toward the two switchbacks begin. The loud huff of the stack, the clanking of gears and pistons, the furious scream of the whistle at the crossings, and the ever present clackety-clack of the rails will indeed make you feel as if you have been transported back in time. The train soon passes through the first switchback, reverses up a steep grade, and ascends to the second switchback where the process is repeated, and then finally into open fields and Whittaker Station. The switchback process allows the train to gain quick altitude, and in this instance, the train is traversing a grade of up to 11 percent, or 11 feet in altitude for each 100 feet of track. A 2 percent grade on conventional railroads is considered steep!
The Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association has recreated a logging camp of the 1940's at Whittaker Station which shows both the living quarters and the equipment used by 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 3000 feet.
Should you take the full five hour trip to Bald Knob you will leave Whittaker Station and proceed to Oats Run for the engines to take on additional water at a spring. The train will then climb up the mountain, finally reaching Bald Knob, the second highest point in West Virginia. The overlook at Bald Knob provides a spectacular view at an altitude of 4,842 feet. The Bald Knob area has a climate similar to Canada and is abundant in plants typical to the Canadian wilderness!
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is an unforgettable adventure...a journey back in time to the days of geared locomotives and log trains. You're invited to visit and ride with us. We are looking forward to seeing you soon!
Guests visiting Cass Scenic Railroad may choose from among several completely furnished, standard, two-story cottages for their stay. Originally, houses from the turn-of-the-century logging town at Cass, these six-, eight- and ten person cottages have been totally refurbished and feature bathrooms and fully equipped kitchens, cooking utensils, tableware, towels, dishcloths and linens. Energy efficient wood stoves, available in four of the houses, and electric heaters provide heat, and one cottage is accessible to the disabled. Open year-round, the cottages are rented by the day, up to a maximum of two weeks. Cottage weeks run from 4:00 p.m. Monday to 10:00 a.m. the following Monday when renting weekly. No pets allowed in cottages.
Cottage guests staying five nights or more will receive two free Cass train tickets to the destination of their choice.
Reservations may be made by calling Cass Scenic Railroad directly, or by dialing toll free: 1 800 CALL WVA.
The Cass office is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm 7 days a week, in the summer season, and 8:00 am to 4:00 pm for the winter season.
When making cottage reservations for four nights or more, a deposit of one half the rental fee is required with the balance upon arrival; for three nights or less, the full rental fee is required. If you make your reservation by telephone, you will have 10 days to make payment, unless it is a last minute reservation. In case of cancellations, deposits will be returned (with the exception of a $20 handling fee) if notice is given 30 days in advance or if the cottage can be rented.
Cass Scenic Railroad now offers cabooses for rent by the day trip or for overnight or longer. These cabooses provide private accommodations for a small group of up to 12 people for day trips, and up to 5 people overnight. All caboose rentals are by reservation only, and in addition to the caboose rental rates below, patrons must purchase their train tickets as well.
The rates are as follows:
Day Trips: Whittaker Station - Caboose is $79, plus individual train fare.
Bald Knob or Spruce - Caboose is $119 plus individual train fare.
Overnight Trips: All locations - Caboose is $149 for the first night, plus individual train fare.
Additional nights - Caboose is $35
Cass's available roster of three historic cabooses provide an exciting and special ride into history. You will be well protected against the elements, and the cupola seating provides a great view of the famous Pocahontas County scenery, especially for the kids.
Each caboose is equipped with a coal heating stove and sink. Coal and drinking water are provided by the staff. Additional amenities are as follows:
Caboose #311 - This 1940's era steel caboose is 9' X 25' inside, with a set of bunk beds and a daybed. The cupola seats convert into two youth beds (22" X 72") for those youngsters who want a "sleeping under the stars" experience. It is equipped with a dinette for six, a gas refrigerator/freezer and plenty of storage space. This is our primary overnight caboose.
Caboose #50 - This 1920's era wooden caboose is 7.5' X 24' inside, with two daybeds and a dinette for two. This caboose is used primarily for day trips.
Caboose #51 - This 1920's era wooden caboose is 7.5' X 24' inside, with three daybeds, only two of which have mattresses. This caboose is used primarily for day trips.
On overnight trips you will ride your caboose to your destination, where our staff will uncouple you from the train. We will return and recouple your caboose on the day of departure and return you to Cass. This gives you a great opportunity to enjoy and explore the remote backcountry atop Cheat Mountain. On especially busy days the cabooses may not be available for rent. Arrivals and departures at the Bald Knob and Spruce locations are not always available since the train does not run there every day. Please check our regular schedule for potential destinations for a specific day.
Recreation - scenic viewing
Climate - West Virginia experiences four distinct seasons, none of which are extreme. Temperatures in the highlands of the Allegheny Mountains are somewhat more severe than the rest of the state. Generally temperatures during the winter months range from 15 to 40 degrees F. Ample snow accumulation provides for cross-country and downhill skiing opportunities. Spring brings blooming trees and shrubs to the forested regions of the state, as well as warmer temperatures. During this season, March through May, expect mild temperatures between 45 and 70 degrees F. Summers are normally hot with high humidity, especially at lower elevations. Expect temperatures to range from 70 at night to 95 during the dog days of August. Fall brings cool, crisp air to West Virginia and spectacular foliage color changes. Bring a light jacket for this season, which brings temperatures between 35, at night, to 70 degrees F, during the day.
Located in eastern West Virginia, Cass Scenic Railroad is accessible by State Route 28/92N between Dunmore and Green Bank in Pocahontas County. A new 11-mile connector route, WV 66, now links the town of Cass to U.S. 219 at Slatyfork