Bald Mountain Train - Shay Steam Engine
Cass, W Va.


Today, after all the rain that we had on Monday, the fog was heavy everywhere that we went. Today's trip was going to be on a steam engine in the small town of Cass, West Virginia. The type of engine we were going to be using was a Shay steam engine which is a gear driven train. We were on Shay 6 which is the largest of the locomotives at this location. The engines push the cars so that the people on the train were not covered in cinders from a coal-fired steam engine. We were going to take the train to Whitaker's station and eat lunch there. Most people ate their lunches before we got to the station. We had to go through different switchbacks to get to the top of the mountain. These rails were originally put in to bring logs to the sawmills at the bottom of the mountains. The mountains were stripped of all the trees and then the loggers would move on to new areas. About three quarters of the way through our trip, the sun finally burned off some of the fog.  The colors in the mountains were coming to a good peak.


Coming to the station, there is a 1930 truck bringing cargo to the station.  The trains push the cars so that passengers will not get cinders from the coal fired engines.

The old town is set up with a country store and restaurant.  There is a board porch that runs the length of the buildings.

Shay #4 is ready at the station to take out the first trip.  We will be going on the 2nd trip of the day.

Looking at a time gone by as things used to be in a small sawmill town.  The area around is all national forest and the Cass rail station is a State Park.

Looking into the engineer compartment of the engine.  Coal is shoveled by hand into the engine.

The pistons on the side of the engine are how to tell a Shay engine. The pistons are connected to gear driven wheels on 3 different trucks of wheels.

The geared wheels are all connected and working.

The 3 pistons are on the right side of the engine.

Oil cans are always ready to be used when stopped to lubricate the parts.

The train crew are getting ready for the train to move.

Oil is being put in different parts of the engine.

The gear drives on the wheels.

Engine 4 made by Lima Locomotive Works Incorporated

This engine was made in 1922 for specifically logging the mountains.  There is not great speed, but can handle steep grades, and track that was put in temporarily.

The pressure dome releasing pressure - the locomotive whistle is also here as well.

The conductors are ready to load the passengers for the first run.

The temperatures were cool with a start about 50 at 10am.

The fireman is waiting for his job to start.  When the engine is not running, it still takes coal to be added every 30 minutes.

A sight not seen around many places.  Since the radio telescope stops all cell service in the area, these phones are still used.  It did not say how much a phone call cost.

Display outside of the restaurant.  It would be fine for flat land, but rough on  hills in the mountains.

As these stair indicate, everything is uphill or downhill.  There is very few flat places except by the river.

An old freight wagon at the station.

The railroad is now used only for tourists. 

Someone kindly took a picture of me at the station.

Pulling out for it run for today.

Black smoke bellowing from the engine as it prepares it uphill journey.

We were the 12pm train to Bald Knob.

Pocohontas County only has 9000 people living in the county.  Most of it is National Forest now owned by the government.

Green Briar river runs beside the station.

The fog is still covering the area so wonder what type of trip it will be.

There was a busload of Amish people that came to ride the train as well.  I think they fitted into the era that people rode the trains.

The remains of the old Cass sawmill. 

Heading up the mountain, we have the train pushing us.  People are in open cars, so we can look out at the train.

Looking back at the train.

Smoke is belching from the engine.  The top speed is only 12 mph on flat ground, so we are not going too fast.  We are doing grades of 9% which is steep for locomotives.

Coming around a long curve, able to get a picture of the engineer.

Coming around a curve allows us to look back on the engine coming through the trees.

Coming to the Whitaker Station for lunch, rest rooms, and a chance to walk around.

I chose to get pictures of the engine.  This was the largest of the engines in Cass at 162 Tons. It orginally came to Elkins, W Va. and was built in 1945.

The entrance at Whitaker Station.

Oiling of the engine is done when the engine is stopped.  There were a varity of different oil cans - this one with a long reach.

The train whisle blew to let us know that we were boarding the train again to continue the journey. 

The tank on the rear of the train is for water.  It will hold about 6000 gallons and we are stopping to fill it back up.  The engine uses the steam to make a venturi pump, and it takes about 10 minutes to fill the tank.

I was playing with one of the leaders of the tour on the next car back, and got this picture of her.  I know she would appreciate the picture.

Rail crossing signs were made locally, and were at every little dirt road crossings.  There were not many crossings.

The fog started to lift on the way back down the mountain giving us a view down the valley. 

Each car had its own brakeman, who spun the wheel brakes to slow the train down.  They communicated with other brakemen to tell them to release or apply more brake.

Clear picture of the engine.

Cass Company Store Panorama

Cass Railway Panorama

Whitaker Station Panorma

Mountain Valley View with train on right side.