Originally Posted by Jibba
^Great contributions on this page, rob. I appreciate the annotations, too--very interesting. Keep 'em coming!
Thanks! I'm thoroughly enjoying this thread, both in being able to contribute, and in seeing some of the wonderful shots other people have taken. Here's another batch that links to a larger set on my site.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is located near the Snowshoe ski area in West Virginia. It includes the lumber-mill town of Cass and eleven miles of standard-gauge railroad used until the 1960s by Cass & Mower Lumber Company to bring logs down from the mountain to their mill at Cass.
In an unrelenting climb of eleven miles up grades as steep as 11 percent (two percent is considered steep on most common-carrier railroads), geared Shay locomotives pushing passenger cars rebuilt from logging flat cars take visitors to the top of Bald Knob, at an elevation of 4,842 feet.
Big 6 was the last Shay locomotive built, in 1945, and worked for four years on the Western Maryland Railroad taking coal trains up a nine percent grade. It is oil-fired, and at 162 tons it's the largest Shay still in existence. Before coming to Cass, it was on display at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.
Shay Number 2 ready to take a train to the summit of Bald Knob. The fireman is standing in the cab door, fueling himself with a sandwich. If I remember the numbers correctly, these locomotives consume about 4 1/2 tons of coal on the round trip, and most of it goes in the firebox in about two hours, on the way up. It's all done with a shovel, and the work doesn't let up. The firemen I saw on the coal-burners were young, wiry guys;they'd have to be pretty tough to maintain the pace.
A spring-fed stream flowing down the mountain keeps the tanks beside the track full to overflowing, and the fireman uses a steam siphon fed by the locomotive's boiler to transfer water from the tanks to the locomotive's tender.
The boiler house and brick engine room are the only structures that remain amid the burned-out ruins of the mill. In its heyday the lumbering operation employed more than 3,000 men and shipped both finished wood products and wood pulp for paper production. Every week the C&O Railroad picked up a 44-car train loaded with the mill's output.
The photos are links
. Click on any one to see more train photos and the surviving/restored buildings of the town of Cass.