Cass Mountain Scenic Railroad
Whitaker Station Run
Saturday, September 7, 2013
– Train departs at 11:00; meet on outdoor deck at 8:15 am (early cars) to 9:15 am (latest) for carpools.
Based on members’ suggestions and and successful previous outings, we have added a field trip to the Cass Scenic Railroad as a daylight activity on Saturday. Fortunately, it does not conflict with the NRAO tour, so you do not have to choose this year. AHSP will have group-rate tickets 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).
Tickets for the train ride, the historical sites, and snacks will be less than $40 for adults and less than $20 for children. As we were not able to reserve a car this year, we are not limited in the group size. Cass is about an hour south of TMI, just beyond NRAO. We will be back in time for the TMI dinner and evening program.
[Update Aug. 15:] Final prices will $20 for adults and $15 for children 5-12 years old. Those who have already reserved and paid the original fee will receive a refund.
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 may 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 9:15 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 town before you leave. There should be no problem getting back to TMI for dinner, programs, and observing.
A guided tour of the former paper mill and the current rail yard will leave from the flagpole at 9:45. Leaving TMI at 8:15 should make get you to Cass in time.
Those interested in the 4h30m run to Bald Knob can take that trip on their own.