Vintage Train Rides Thru Brilliant Fall Colors.
October 1 -
Elderhostel program was sponsored by West Virginia State
Technical College. The base site for the weeks activities
was at Snowshoe
Mountain Resort near Cass, West Virginia. The program
began with a dinner
and orientation meeting on Sunday, October 1, 2006.
Snowshoe resort is a
very large ski and vacation facility with many different
types of lodges and
shops available. Our Elderhostel group was housed in
Mountain Lodge, a very
comfortable building that offered restaurant and meeting facilities.
Near Mountain Lodge
was the Ballhooter's Ski Lift. On the Sunday, when I arrived
it was open
and I took a ride down and back to Shavers Lake.
The day was
beautiful and the trees were just beginning to turn to their fall colors.
On Monday morning
the 2nd, we had lectures about the vintage trains
were would be riding. In
the afternoon, we had our first field trip of the program.
We were bussed
to Green Bank, West Virginia where we toured the
National Radio Astronomy
Observatory. This facility is design to
help scientists learn more our the
universe and the science of radio astronomy.
The observatory has a great
science center along with many radio telescopes.
On the observatory
grounds is the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope.
This is the world's
largest fully steerable radio telescope.
It is 100 meters in diameter. The
white area of the telescope is over 2 acres in size.
Each evening we had
a program related to the theme of the
Elderhostel program. On Monday
evening it was a musical performance
entitled "All Aboard the Iron Horse"
song and stories.
arrived with brilliant sunshine and the expectation
of our first train
excursion. We were bussed several miles to Cass, WV.
This is the home of
the Cass Scenic Railroad.
We were to be pushed
up the nearby mountain by Shay Locomotive number 2.
This vintage locomotive
would be hooked to the rear of out train along
with another Shay Locomotive
#11 for our morning train ride.
passenger cars, locomotive smoke and steam,
what more could one ask for?
Our first stop on
the ride up the mountain, Whittaker Station.
Time for an
Elderhostel box lunch.
Standing in front of
Shay Locomotive #11, part of our two
locomotive setup for the ride up to
Locomotives were thirsty. The use many gallons
of water climbing up the
mountain. Time to fill the water tanks.
We have arrived at
Bald Knob and everyone is leaving the train
to check out the scenery from
this high point of the train ride.
found our rail enthusiast group going to
Durbin, WV to ride the "Rocket".
This is a picture of the Climax
Locomotive that serviced the rocket train.
The train traveled
along side of the Greenbrier River
where the fall colors were in full bloom.
Here comes the
"Rocket" on a photo opportunity pass.
Full smoke and steam for the
Checking out the
locomotive. After our train ride, we had a
delicious lunch in the station
and then off for our next train ride of the day.
After lunch it was a
short bus ride to our next stop.
We were going to ride the Cheat Mountain
The Cheat Mountain
Salamander was a rebuilt wooden coach
mounted on a diesel chassis which
would power us along the banks of the Cheat River.
The trip was 22 miles
long and we moved at a pace that was
slightly slower than twenty miles per
The scenery along
the river was a palette of fall colors.
Each bend in the
river brought forth more fall colors.
Our stopping point
in the trip was at Cheat River Falls.
While the falls were
not high, but they were very pleasant to visit and photograph.
A beautiful West
Virginia sunset ended our day of train travel.
It does not seem possible
that our week is almost over.
Our last train ride
of the week was on Thursday, October 5th.
We rode on the New Tygart Flyer.
This was to be our only ride
behind a diesel locomotive. Like yesterday,
will follow the Cheat River up to the falls.
The New Tygart
Standing at the
lower view point of the Cheat River Falls.
The scenery along
the river was beautiful and West Virginia did not
disappoint our group when
it came to vibrant fall colors.
Friday opened with
rain and heavy clouds. It was time to head for home.
program was outstanding in every way!