Cass Mountain Scenic Railroad
Bald Knob Run
Saturday, August 18, 2012 – Train departs at noon; meet on outdoor deck at 8:15 am (early cars) to 10:15 am (latest) for carpools.
Based on members’ suggestions and and a successful outing last year, we have added a field trip to the Cass Scenic Railroad as a daylight activity on Saturday, 18 August. Fortunately, it does not conflict with the NRAO tour, so you do not have to choose this year. AHSP has reserved a private car for the 4½ hour trip to Bald Knob at 4800 ft, with historical stops along the way. Definitely a family activity, for any weather. We plan a picnic lunch of sandwiches at the summit stop on the way — more flexibility in choices, and less waste than last year.
Tickets for the train ride, the historical sites, and lunch are $40 for adults and $20 for children. This activity is limited to the railcar capacity. Cass is about an hour south of TMI, just beyond NRAO. We will be back in time for the TMI dinner and evening program.
Bob Bunge wrote in 2010: “Cass is unique and very much a treasure of mountain history and culture (much like TMI). 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.”
Last year, volunteer restorers showed us and discussed their work restoring and maintaining the Cass locomotives. It was a highlight of the day. The restorers have set their work schedule for the summer, and they will be working with the shops open on our visit day.
Volunteer carpools will meet on Saturday morning on the deck after breakfast. Those who wish to be at Cass for the Locomotive Works tour should be prepared to leave TMI by 8:15 for a 9:30 arrival. Those who are going for the train ride only should be prepared to leave TMI by 10:15 for 11:30 arrival. Leaving in between will give you some time to explore the town around the Cass depot. We ask that carpools leave right after the train returns, so that we will be back to AHSP in time for TMI dinner and evening activities at 6:00.
A guided tour of the former paper mill and the current rail yard will leave from the flagpole at 9:45.
Our current plan to is to have a do-it-yourself picnic lunch of cold sandwiches and sides at the Bald Knob summit stop. Those who have registered for the Cass trip were sent a form requesting lunch preferences, and asking about carpooling arrangements (offer/need/have a ride, departure time), so that we can make best possible advanced plans to accommodate everyone. Lunch suggestions will needed to be received by Friday, 10 August.
Because we expect a full house this year, those who wish can make their sandwiches before we depart from Cass. We will set up just for sandwich making at the picnic shelter at the far end of the parking lot. The sandwich line will also be set up at the summit stop, as well as drinks and sides. Some snacks will be on the train, we we are not yet sure how accessible they will be while we are between stops.