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Steam & Excursion > Cass options

Date: 06/01/23 15:51
Cass options
Author: P

I'm planning on a trip to Cass this summer.  I haven't been in nearly 40 years and it will be my son's first visit.  We don't live terribly far, but far enough to require at least a 3 day weekend.   While I am very excited about the newly re-opend trackage to Durbin and would like to ride it, we may be only able to take either that trip or the trip to Bald Knob.    
If you were me, which would you pick?  

Date: 06/01/23 16:14
Re: Cass options
Author: march_hare

Me, personally?

If you want talk about history, about the role of steam power in providing the wood that made the growth of 19th century America possible, you ca't beat the Bald Knob trip on Cass. 

I've done the other routing, very pleasant trip, but not a demonstration of 19th century prowess. Thats your choice. 

Date: 06/01/23 16:29
Re: Cass options
Author: randyr

I’m interested in riding the “new” line. But I’ve done a couple photo trains at Cass and a few years ago took my oldest grandson on the regular trip to Bald Knob. The shays really work hard going up the hill and it is great to watch and listen. As the other poster stated, the trip up the hill really is a great experience as to what it was like back in the day. Given a choice, I’d do Bald Knob.

Randy in PHX

Posted from iPhone

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/01/23 16:29 by randyr.

Date: 06/01/23 17:04
Re: Cass options
Author: Appalachianrails

Bald Knob is more fun when it's a doubleheader 9 car train.

Date: 06/01/23 18:37
Re: Cass options
Author: mdogg

Bald Knob is the trip you want, preferably with a two locomotives.

Posted from Android

Date: 06/02/23 07:50
Re: Cass options
Author: aehouse

If you're a C&O fan, you should take the new Greenbrier Express from Cass to Durbin and return. It has restored regular passenger service to the last existing piece of the very scenic C&O Greenbrier Subdivision, a piece of mileage that has not seen scheduled passenger trains since the 1950s. I did the trip on May 20, and was delighted. You even get to ride around the former Western Maryland wye in Durbin.  The scenery is spectacular, and you ride along the upper Greenbrier River in preserved and restored class 1 mainline coaches, not the excursion kitbashes that the Whitaker and Bald Mountain Cass trains use.

  Lodging is available in the Cass company houses at reasonable rates, and if you're into fine dining, there are a couple of very nice restaurants up at the Snowshoe Mountain ski resort about ten miles away.

Art House

Date: 06/02/23 23:31
Re: Cass options
Author: OHCR1551

It depends. If you're relatively young and healthy, by all means go the four and a half hour trip to Bald Knob. The view is incredible. If you've got anyone in your party with decreased stamina, do the two hour to Whittaker.
There are accessible cars now. If you need mobility aids, it might be good to call ahead and make sure your chair, scooter etc. can ride along. In case anyone with you needs to eat at a certain time, box lunches are now available onboard the Bald Knob run and the Whittaker run gift shop car. Of course, family likely will say they don't want one, then cadge from yours 😄 It's cold cuts, so if there are special dietary needs you might be better off bringing your own food, but no alcohol. There are bathrooms aboard both trains and at Whittaker as well as down in the company store. You can get some souvenirs aboard, while the gift shop at Cass has a wider selection. The store at Durbin has some interesting stuff and the people there couldn't be nicer.

Remember that there's Wi-Fi, but little or no cell service except for 911 because of the National Radio Quiet Zone. GPS is unreliable, so make sure you print out or download your route before you leave home.

As for lodging, Cass has multi-bedroom company houses and there's a motel right across the stream. The motel has had everything for. Wonderful ratings to "who the heck would stay there." It's best to check before booking there. Durbin has Station 2, where you can stay in the old fire station for decent rates with a good breakfast thrown in. There's also the option to stay at Snowshoe during the summer, when the rates are down and there are tons of activities for any non-railfans riding along. Most of the time, you'll be better off going up to Beverly for lodging. There are a good many motels up that way. Civil War buffs can see the Droop Mountain battlefield nearby. (There are no cabins or lodges within the state park.) 

Weather should be decent for a couple of weeks unless anything brews up in the Gulf or Atlantic. If you plan on going during fall leaf season, it's truly spectacular, but can be cold up on the top, so you might want a lightweight jacket in your grip. I had extra socks in my pocket and had grabbed the then-toddler's little sleeping bag, and we needed both. Standing in a couple of inches of wet snow on the last of September can make you reconsider your life choices even though you'll get some great pictures. To give you the idea, a train full of railfans left two sets of footprints on the observation deck, one of which was mine.

There is a whole lot to see down that way besides trains. If you can make time and the Green Bank observatory is open, it's also worth a stop:
We enjoyed the science center ($5 admission, great for all ages.). To see the telescopes, you can do a self-guided tour or pay $10 to take the bus. Some of the high-end special tours require a background check.

Rebecca Morgan
Jacobsburg, OH

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