News & Reviews News Wire Five Shays run in Cass Scenic Railroad’s fifth annual Parade of Steam

Five Shays run in Cass Scenic Railroad’s fifth annual Parade of Steam

By Alan Byer | June 17, 2024

Event draws 3,000 to West Virginia heritage railroad

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Five geared steam locomotives run together under large cloud of smoke
Cass Scenic Railroad’s five operating Shays run together as part of the 2024 Parade of Steam. Walter Scriptunas

CASS, W.Va. — Some 3,000 spectators descended on the tiny mountain town of Cass on Saturday, June 15, to see, photograph, and record all five of Cass Scenic Railroad’s operational Shay locomotives in the fifth annual Parade of Steam.

Beginning on the inner station track with Shay No. 11 (Construction No. 3221, 1923; Class 90-3, built for the Hutchinson Lumber Co. mill operation in Oroville, Calif.), all five locomotives backed down to the station individually.  Shay No. 6 (C/N 3354, 1945; Class 150-3; built for Western Maryland Railroad’s Chaffee Branch, the last and second-largest Shay outshopped by Lima) joined No. 11 on the inner station track. On the outer station track were Shays No. 5 (C/N 1503, 1905; Class 80-3, built for the Greenbrier & Elk River Railroad at Cass, the oldest and longest-operating Cass Shay), No. 2 (C/N 3320, 1928; Pacific Coast Class [PC-13], built for Mayo Lumber), and No. 4  (C/N 3189, 1922; Class 70-3. built for the Birch Valley Lumber Co., Tioga, W.Va.).

Shays No. 6 and No. 11 then pulled ahead to the water tank, followed by Shays No. 4, No. 2, and No. 5, and all five then returned to the station.  Next, all five Shays, with those on the outer track staggered slightly behind those on the inner track, ran to the water tank together and then returned to the station.  All five Shays were coupled together for the grand finale, and ran together, whistles tied down, to the water tank and back.

Finally, the crews staggered all five Shays along the track and tied them down so that everyone could get a closer look at their leisure.  Later, Cass operated a sold-out train part of the way to Durbin and back, vendors set up along the edge of the Cass Scenic Railroad parking lot continued to sell their wares, and entertainers played and sang in the entertainment tent.

Not participating were three-truck Heisler No. 6, still in the shop for work on the last of three badly worn power trucks, and Climax No. 9, sidelined for the repair of leaking flex-stays discovered during the Federal Railroad Administration-mandated 1,472-day inspection, according to CEO John Smith of operator Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad.

As a side note, Smith and his wife Kathy drove the 17 miles from Durbin to Cass Friday in a restored former Western Maryland Railroad 1946 Cadillac railcar owned by the West Virginia Railroad Museum in Elkins.  This vehicle began life as a Western Maryland official-use highway vehicle in 1946. It was converted it to run on the rails in 1956 as Rail Motor Car No. 6, and retired it in 1968. After spending many years in a Beverly, W.Va., garage, No. 6 was purchased by the museum from the estate of John J. Warfield of Washington, D.C.  Restoration began in 2019, and was completed this year.

“It was a good day,” Smith said, “and everything went smoothly.”

Durbin & Greenbrier Valley CEO John Smith came to Cass in this newly restored 1946 Western Maryland Cadillac railcar. Walter Scriptunas

3 thoughts on “Five Shays run in Cass Scenic Railroad’s fifth annual Parade of Steam

  1. Five Shays coupled together, that’s impressive. And so is that old 1946 Cadillac “hi-railer”, I wonder who made those wheels???

  2. Great place and so many good things to see even if you never get to the top of the mountain. Spend a night in one of the company houses, a very fine experience.

  3. We went to Cass some years ago. It is a great site and very interesting to see. I Would recommend it to everyone as a must-see place.

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