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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cass Scenic Railroad (Cass, West Virginia) -Part I

Betsy and George at Cass, West VA --enjoying the steam train to Bald Knob
In order to celebrate our Anniversary this year,  George and I took a trip to the glorious state of West Virginia --which we LOVE.  Even though we did ALOT of different things while we were there,  the main reason we chose that area this year was to take a ride on a train at the Cass Scenic Railroad in Cass, West Virginia.  We  took the old steam engine (Shay Locomotive)  train with open-air cars/seating WAY  UP to Bald Knob (elevation 4,842 feet).  The 11 mile trip up that mountain and back down takes a total of 4.5 hours --with 4 stops along the way.  The elevation at Cass is 2688 feet ---so if you do the math,  you'll see that we climbed a total of 2,154 feet.  One can feel the temperature getting colder the farther UP we go.  They say to bring a jacket even in SUMMER...

The Bald Knob area has a climate similar to Canada and is abundant in plants typical to the Canadian wilderness. I enjoyed seeing all of the Red Spruce trees at the higher elevations. The spectacular view from atop the overlook at Bald Knob provided a view into two states,  West Virginia and Virginia (Skyline Drive area).

George and I had been on this train once before --but the day we were there,  it was very very very cold... We about froze to death on that open-air train.  SO---we said back then that we hoped to return and take the train ride again.  This time the weather was excellent.

As many of you know,  I LOVE trains,  especially the old steam engines.   My Dad worked for the railroad for about 50 years --and when I was young,  he would take me to work with him--so that I could take a ride in one of the steam engines... SUCH great memories!!!! SO---anytime I get a chance to ride one of these old trains,  I take it --and love every second of it.

Before reading the rest of this blog post,  please take a minute and watch this short video.  The video will tell you more about the ride we took than anything I can say or show you through photos.  I promise---it won't take long but you will enjoy this little video (just to get to hear the whistle and bell if nothing else).  You can opt out of the commercial after the first few seconds.  Click HERE to see that video.  You will love it I'm sure!!

The photo above is a picture of us taken with our tripod at the Whittaker Station  (elevation about 3100 feet),  on the way up to Bald Knob.  Whittaker is one of four stops along the way.  Besides the other main stop,  Bald Knob,  the train has to stop along the way both going and coming to take on water for the engine... 

Here is another great video  (click HERE) giving much more detail about the Shay Locomotives and how they all work/operate... This video is done by a father (found the video online and do not know him) talking to his children as they go up the mountain.  He does an excellent job I think --and his children learned alot.  (He reminds me of my youngest son, who always taught his children everything as they 'explored' the world around them..)  Like most families with young children,  they opted to take the shorter ride which only goes up to the Whittaker Station,  a total ride of about 2 hours.  We personally like the longer ride to Bald Knob.


We got to Cass early so that we could watch the other train (to Whittaker Station) leave the station.



My husband had to take his turn as Engineer  (he wished).... ha



I, on the other hand,  preferred the Caboose!!!



Here comes our train into the station!!!  ALL ABOARD!!!



We love the LAST car on the train and chose it so that we could get good pictures of the engine when it goes around curves--heading up or down that mountain.  Sometimes,  the engine would PUSH us  and sometimes it would PULL us!!!  (There were some switchbacks along the way.  We even passed the Whittaker Train on our way up--as it headed back down.)


 
The engine is working HARD pushing us up that mountain!


This is where the train stopped to take on WATER both going up and down the mountain.


The views from the train were fantastic!!!


I loved seeing the gorgeous woods ALL around us--as we headed up the mountain.


Looking the other direction at the tracks



Our Train at Bald Knob


The overlook at Bald Knob...  At 4,842 feet in elevation --and a little chilly up there;   But--the views were GREAT.


This caboose at Bald Knob is for rent.  A person can ride the train up --and stay up there for the night and until the train comes back the next day...Then they ride back down the mountain on that train... IF you love nature,  you would be up on the mountain with no electricity nor water!!!  It will be just YOU and NATURE (and the critters)...Sound like fun?????


Headed back down the mountain;  Most of us are still standing up taking photos!!



After getting back to Cass,   we watched our No. 5 Train head out to its "home" for the night! We waved goodbye after a fantastic day!

I have another post ready to publish on Monday --telling you what we saw and did while on that special train ride... SO--you'll just have to wait!!   If you want more information about the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park,  click HERE.  If we lived closer,  we'd be taking this train ride more often.  Wouldn't it be fantastic in Autumn when the leaves change?  OR--wouldn't it be fun to take one of their Night Rides --during  a Full Moon???? WOW!!!!

Have a fantastic weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Hugs,

60 comments:

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Betty I watched the 2 video which were very informative. This was a wonderful train trip that you and George went on, loved the scenery, the steam, the noise, well really everything.

Fun60 said...

Great post. Enjoyed watching the video. By coincidence I went to see a steam train this week. I didn't go for a ride as I needed more time to do that but it is something I will do soon. There is a magic to the sound of the steam engine that once you have heard it, you never forget. Lots of memories associated with the steam trains.

eileeninmd said...

Betsy, what a fun train ride! The scenery is gorgeous.. I love the views of the mountains.. Have a happy day!

Tabor said...

I have taken shorter train rides in WV but this one is now on my bucket list....maybe in the fall?

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I have always wanted to go on a train ride!! I never have believe it or not. This makes me really look forward to the day when I get to :)

From the Kitchen said...

This post has taken me almost a full cup of coffee to get through and I've loved every minute. Those train sounds are so familiar to me. Growing up in Roanoke where those steam and diesel engines were made and maintained made those sounds familiar every day. You and George should go there and visit the Transportation Museum. Very interesting. Great post.

Best,
Bonnie

linda m said...

I rode a steam train many long years ago with my grandparents. We went from Milwaukee, WI to Wisconsin Dells, WI . It had a dining car and we ate lunch there. What a fun trip. Now the scenery wasn't anything like your trip, which I really hope to take some day. But as a little girl it was fun. Hubby and I also rode the stem train at Dollywood - we got covered in ash from the engine.

George said...

I think I'll pass on the opportunity to spend the night in a caboose on Bald Knob, thank you. But I'll be more than happy to take that train again.

Eva Ason said...

HI Betsy,

That is so cool, love these pictures and can tell you had a lot of fun. Enjoy your weekend too.

Sharon said...

We did this a few years ago on a week long explore WVA trip! It is a great ride and we would LOVE to spend a night in that caboose. We also want to go back and ride the Greenbrier River Rail Trail which begins near the train station and runs 70-something miles down (that's a very important word) to near White Sulphur Springs!!

MTWaggin said...

Would love staying in that caboose. Sounds like you had a great trip!

Big Dude said...

Looks like a fun day Betsy and you got some great shots. Being the map guy. I went on Google Earth and followed the route up the mountain.

ladyfi said...

What a wonderful ride!

David said...

Betsy, As you may have realized, I love trains too! Thanks for the information on this railroad experience... The Shay locomotives are so much different than the 'normal' steam locomotives. Looks like you had a great time... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Jo said...

Oh Betsy, I had tears coursing down my face as I rode in that train with you! Such wonderful memories for me from my happy childhood! Thanks for taking me along. The scenery in your part of God's creation is SPECTACULAR! You have a wonderful day, my dear sweet friend. Jo PS George looks like a really good engineer; and you are a very pretty caboose guard!

Linda said...

Looks like fun and the views are great! I need to do this!

For an anniversary a few years ago we took a train at Romney but the views were not so spectacular. http://webcroft.blogspot.com/2012/07/riding-rails.html

Arkansas Patti said...

Oh, I would love to rent the caboose and spend the night.
Glad all that smoke didn't make it back to the passengers.
That scenery was just beautiful.

Betsy said...

That was a great post Betsy! I especially loved the videos and hearing the way the engineer can make the whistle blow just the way he likes it.
Thanks also for visiting my blog and I'll look forward to your next post with details of the trip.
Blessings,
Betsy

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

The video reminded me of the old steam locomotives, bunch of steam!! The mountains around remind me of home in north Ga TN area

Ginny said...

Betsy, I loved the video!!! The spouts of steam shooting out along the side, and the gears, and the SOUNDS. And at least one of your pictures was in the video. I am surprised that you and George did not rent the caboose!

Kay said...

Loved this blog. Ben and I both loved trains. We never got to take a long trip on one but I would have loved to do that. We did ride every little train we could. One year we visited the California Train Museum in Old Sacramento. That was a lot of fun. Looks like this takes you on a nice little trip through the countryside.

Terry and Linda said...

I love the the green, green woods! I could just ear the train whistle...bliss.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Beth of "E." Lizard Breath Speaks said...

we loved our trip on the Cass Railroad. such a pretty area of West VA.

i love West VA. my home will always be Virginia, 2nd home West VA & my heart will always belong to Montana. followed by many other states closely. ha. ha!! ( :

i really enjoyed this post Betsy. always a fan of anything railroad. i guess i should say i would not recommend using the restroom on one. it is not a steady ride. ha. ha!! giggles!!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Betsy,what an amazing post! I had tears in my eyes,seeing your pictures and watching the videos. I know of someone who would have so enjoyed a ride like that.

Terri @ Backward B Ranch said...

Oh Betsy, I am jealous- what a neat ride! I'm glad you and George had a fun anniversary! Not sure I would stay in that caboose overnight without water..but then again...it might be quite and adventure!

Rose said...

Oh, Betsy, that does look like fun. I am going to try and think and watch the videos later. I have never ridden on a train and would like to someday.

Re Lorelei's kitty...her name is Pearl. She was already named that when they got her and I guess they just decided to keep it.

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely trip to take. There are some nice ones in CO that I would like to explore.

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely trip to take. There are some nice ones in CO that I would like to explore.

Our photos said...

Wow, this is nice. I love steam trains !

Ann said...

what a fun trip that would be. Enjoyed riding along with you

wildlifewatcher said...

Hi Betsy, What a fun-filled trip! Yes, the steam locomotives and trains are quite enjoyable to experience. I also like the open passenger tourist-style cars. I have never taken a trip on that particular railway but I have been on steam trains before. Have a super great weekend and I will be happily looking forward to your post on Monday.

SquirrelQueen said...

I love the old steam trains too. I've ridden on a couple of them but the trips weren't as long at this one. I love all the scenery you saw on the way.

And yes, I would love to rent the old caboose and spend the night up there. I have don't lots of backpacking and tent camping in my day. Having four walls would be a luxury.

SquirrelQueen said...

Whoops! That should be done instead of don't.

bjsnapped.com said...

You two find the best places to visit! That looks like such fun, and the photography is wonderful. And y'all are so cute in those matching outfits!!

Daisy said...

Betsy, that sounds like a wonderful trip! Beautiful scenery along the way too! I'm sure you and George had a great time riding the train. What a great way to celebrate!

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

That was a great post. So neat that you got to see the trains in motion!!!

Happyone said...

We love trains at this house too. : )

camp and cottage living said...

Betsy
I bet the view are fabulous at the top of Bald Knob!
I never turn down a train ride through the mountains either.

Carletta said...

So glad you enjoyed my wild and wonderful WV! The Cass train trip is one of the best things I've ever experienced. I remember some young teenage girls on my visit to the restroom on top who couldn't believe there was no running water. Not sure where they expected it to come from! My nephew who has been riding that train since he was a toddler proposed to his girlfriend at the top. My brother has a cabin right there in Cass behind the old company houses. Yep, Cass is a family favorite!

peaches mcginty said...

Hi Betsy!
What a fun day! you can't beat a steam engine, they really are a delight aren't they? the views are stunning, the video was awesome, I love the sounds and smells on a steam train, it's all so relaxing! from my house we see trains a lot, we live in Liverpool and this particular train track we see, ran the first organised passenger train from Liverpool to Manchester, George Stephenson's Rocket ran on it! I find it all fascinating!(incidentally 'the Rocket' is still used as a namesake for an area in Liverpool) have a great weekend Betsy!

Marcia said...

Lovely photos. We have said we should do that sometime but have yet to do it. One day when Dan is retired we'll get to that item on the list. I understand its quite popular when the leaves are at their peak in the fall.

Jeevan said...

It sounds and sense awesome ride Betsy! Glad you celebrated your anniversary by taking a memorable ride in the special mountain train... your photos captured the beauty of nature so well around the winding rail! Great perspective on the locomotive and railway stations.

Even in India there are few mountain railways run on stream locomotives… which railroads are also declared as UNESCO world heritage site .

Betty Manousos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty Manousos said...

what an incredibly wonderful and interesting post, betsy! what a fun train ride!
i love old steam trains for some reason; totally enjoyed your photos. simply amazing!

happy weekend~
big hugs!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

How wonderful for you both to get there….and in good weather! I love all the greenery surrounding the tracks; just lovely!!!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

This was stupendous Betsy!!! I swear, the best train ride I had was the old coal/steamer that took us from Durango CO to Silverton Colorado...what a thrill...the narrow gauge is the only way to see the scenic views.

Elizabeth said...

WOW!! This was a gorgeous ride and your pictures makes me feel as if I'm standing (not sitting - ha) beside you! I, too, have always loved cabooses and remember waving at the brakeman who sat inside as the train went by...he ALWAYS waved back! So sorry they did away with the caboose on regular train lines...but that's a great reason to ride the steam engines...my family and I rode the steam engine from Holbrook, AZ to the Grand Canyon and it was an AWESOME trip! Love the pictures of the engine that are seen when the train rounds a curve.

West Virginia is a wonderful state...my step-sister lives outside Charleston, WV so we've gotten to visit a few times.

Thanks for the train videos...I want to hoot the whistle!

See you Monday for the rest of the story...
hugs,
liz

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Sounds like a fun train ride with wonderful scenery to photograph! I'll be back when I have more time to see the video. Son is coming for the weekend and it's almost time for me to start dinner. Have a wonderful weekend, Betsy!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Oh how fun that you went back. We really enjoyed our train ride there, in spite of the cold the day we went! You got some lovely pictures.

Shug said...

Not sure how I missed this post...I usually never miss one. I enjoyed the video!! and now I want to go ride the old Shay!! Beautiful country and I can only imagine how nice the breeze feels as you traveled upwards...I just love all these great places that you and George travel to.

diane b said...

Wow what a fabulous train ride. Bill and I would love that. Not sure about the chilly bit though. The scenery is beautiful. Great shots of the train too.

Lady Di Tn said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate your Anniversary. Makes me want to go take a train ride. Peace

Debbie Taillieu said...

Wow! What a great day you two had! I loved reading and seeing your pictures of this glorious train! It reminded me of the train ride I took my kids to while on vacation in the '80s on the Durango/Silverton Narrow Gauge in Colorado!
Thank you for sharing and Congratulations again!!
Debbie

Small City Scenes said...

Pretty cool. What fun. I watched the videos and they were neat and informative. Whooo Whooo Chug Chug!!!
MB

Retired English Teacher said...

What great fun. I love, love, love trains.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I also love to ride steam engine trains, Betsy! We took a few rides on them in South Dakota a few years ago. The video was wonderful! Thanks for putting the link up of that.

Today we drove up to the top of Mt. Evans at 14,270 feet--you can imagine the climate change going up from our altitude of 6,200 feet to that height!

Marie said...

Wow! Oh Betsy! This was so exciting to get to do, and I loved the videos and the photos you posted. What incredible magical fun! I'm so glad you did it for your anniversary. And that's a gorgeous area of our beautiful country!

Did you know I used to be the Coordinator of the Suffolk Seaboard Museum in Suffolk, Va? Look on my sideboard of "most viewed posts" and click on Postcards. You can watch my tv spot about the train station. I'd love to get your comments! :-) That was my job in Va before we moved here to AZ.

Twilight Man said...

Awwww! Look at you both lovey dovey in matching yellow outfits like canary birds in love. I love that!

The scene of train pushing up hills was fantastic and I would be excited & scream!!

Pat Tillett said...

I would LOVE to take this train trip and spend the night in the caboose. VERY nice photos Betsy. Thanks for taking us along.

Neal said...

That train looks like it just might put out a tiny bit more pollution than your Prius.