Below are comments and photos of the 1995 run.
Our weekend began by signing in at the Cass
Shops on Friday. The area looked eerie with the smoke and fog surrounding the engines.
I had seen Shays before but this was the first time I had seen a Heisler. The next day as we waited at the station for the
trains we talked with our fellow passengers, they came from all over. Several were from
other Live Steam Clubs. As the lunches were counted and sorted the trains backed out of
the smoky haze. After boarding our assigned train we
stopped at the water tower to fill the tanks before heading
up the mountain.
Shortly after leaving the yard we stopped for the first of many photo
opportunity. After finding a location the trains backed up, then ran forward past us. The
first train was pulled by Shay #2, the second train was double headed by Shay #4 and Heisler #6. As we climbed the
mountain the second train remained only a few feet behind so the photo car could film it with both video and still cameras.
(These Engineers are good.)
The track is steep, up to 11% grades, I was lucky that due to timing I
was able to get a shot of the double header on the hill. As
the trains climb higher I looked down to find a fire car
following, looking for fires the engines may have started. In case of fire all passenger
are to help in putting it out. Fortunately no problems this trip!
As we gain altitude the track becomes steeper and more twisted, the engines do slip from time to time, spinning
wheels until traction returns. At various points the trains are stopped for photo runbys. Half way we stopped for lunch
before continuing up hill. There are several old pieces of logging equipment here as well
as recreations of loggers cabins to explore. At this point the trains split up, the double
header going up to the top and the other going to the site of an abandoned and buried
At the top the locomotives start the final
climb. Shrouded in steam and smoke all that can be seen is a headlight, then part of
the first engine. Wheels slipping Shay #4 rumbles by with Heisler
#6 straining right behind. Once on top we were rewarded with a clear view of the countryside. After coming back down the mountain
with brakes squealing in protest we had dinner with the group and looked forward to
changing trains for the next days run.
The next day we were treated to a Locomotive
Race, well not really but it was impressive. On this trip we did not stop for lunch at
the half way point, instead we had lunch at the end of the lines. This was done to save
time since everyone needed to start for home for Monday work.
Group photo used with permission of Poul Pedersen
The CALS Cass trips are limited to 100 adults, 50 per train to make it
a fun non-crowded experience, its main objective is photography and sound recording
without other people or sounds getting in the way. From the number of repeat participants
we have we must be doing something right.