Cass Mountain Scenic Railroad
Whitaker Station Run
Sunday, July 23, 2017
After riding the historic Greenbriar Valley train in 2015, we will return to the Cass Scenic Railroad as a daylight activity on Sunday. Cass Railroad tickets are for the 2 hour round trip to Whitaker Station, which recreates part of the logging tradition of the area. Definitely a family activity, for any weather. We will provide snacks for our group. Lunch will be on your own, either at the lunchroom in Cass or somewhere else of you choosing (suggestions to be provided). Those with SKMC Sunday meals who return immediately will have late sandwiches available.
Tickets for the train ride, the historical town sites, and snacks will be $35 for adults and $27 for children 4-11 (children 0-3 are free). As we were not able to reserve a car this year, we are not limited in the group size. Cass is more than an hour south of SKMC, just beyond NRAO. Depending on how quickly you choose to return, you can be back for afternoon activities and easily for the SKMC dinner and evening program.
If you haven’t been there before, the NRAO Green Bank Telescope Science Center should be open in the afternoon, with public tours on the hour.
Bob Bunge wrote in 2010: “Cass is unique and very much a treasure of mountain history and culture (much like SKMC). It has the largest operating fleet of geared locomotives in the US. One of their locomotives, Western Maryland #6 is the largest Shay type locomotive ever made.
“The trip up the mountain features steep, steep grades; at some points, there are “switch backs” where the train will stop, backup and move forward again since there either isn’t room or the grades would be too steep even for the geared locomotives. The engines work very hard up the mountain, if you are into anything industrial and enjoy sound, the combination of the different noises, the roar of the exhaust, the steam whistle and screech of the wheels is a real treat.”
Volunteer carpools will meet on Sunday morning on the deck after breakfast. Those who wish to be at Cass for the Locomotive Shop Tour should leave SKMC by 8:15 for a 9:30 arrival. The 10:00 Shop Tour leaves from the Visitor center, but be careful to get basck to the train before 11:00! Details of the free tours around the town of Cass can be found on the Cass State Park web site. Those who are going for the train ride only should be prepared to leave SKMC by 9:00 for 10:30 arrival. Leaving in between will give you some time to explore the town around the Cass depot. If you join a carpool, plan ahead for what you will do after the train and what you will do for lunch. You might want to get a box lunch in Cass at The Last Run restaurant (“the best place in town”) before you leave. There should be no problem getting back to SKMC for dinner, programs, and observing.