The town of Cass hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years; a company town built to house the workers of the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company. Some of the old homes have been restored and can now be rented by guests. There is a self-guided walking tour of town if you care to walk around.
The real show, however, begins at the station. The railroad hauled large quantities of timber to the mills in Case and Spruce that produced pump and lumber. Shay locomotives were built for logging operations. The engines are gear driven which gives them tremendous power and agility to handle the steep grades and tight turns on the mountains.
Cass currently has the largest collection of Shays in the world (6), including one of the longest running (#5, built in 1905) and the last Shay every built (#6, built in 1945).
Our excursion began at the station and climbed to more than 3200 feet at Whitaker Station, an old construction camp. There, we were given the opportunity to explore the lumber camp displays and our own engine. There was also a steam skidder that could load logs on cables strung from a nearly 100 foot high tower. The operation could yield several million board feed of timber from a single location.