Opening Day at Cass scheduled for May 20
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park’s opening day is scheduled for May 20. They’re going to feature shop and town tours, and folks will get a chance to hop on board for a couple of runs. Monica Fleming is the event programmer, and an interpreter, at Cass.
“May 20, we’ll have a Whittaker Run at 1 p.m. and a Bald Knob run at noon,” Fleming says. “We’ll be doing shop tours, town tours; we’ll have our commentators on the train. The museum should be open as well as the showcase. The company store and the restaurant will be open, as well.”
Fleming said any train enthusiasts wouldn’t want to skip the shop tours.
“We take you down to the locomotive shop, tell you about how they’re maintained, show you the equipment that we use to help maintain them,” says Fleming. “If there are any locomotives down there sitting, not being used, then we can take people and show them how they work and all of that. So we’ll show them the main locomotive shop and then we take them down to the John P. Killoran restoration shop which is the one owned by Mountain State Railroad Logging and Historical Association, and they’re in the process of restoring a Climax locomotive, similar to what the Durbin Rocket is, and we take them down there and show them the processes of the restoration work going on that locomotive.”
Fleming said the town tours provide guests insight into what life was like in Cass.
“Just tell you about the people that lived in the company houses,” she says. “What life may have been like for the people that lived there and that type of thing.”
Fleming said the company housing is offered for overnight stays at pretty reasonable rates.
“We have 20 of those that are available for rent,” Fleming says. “They house anywhere from six to twelve people. I think we have one that is pet friendly and we have a couple that are handicap accessible as well. Depending on the time of the year, a six person house starts out around $122 a night, depending on whether its weekend, holiday.”
Fleming said it was a pretty busy year for the park last year.
“With our 50th anniversary, we hope to do as well as we did last year, maybe a little bit better,” says Fleming. “We have a few new events we’re doing, so we’re hoping those go well. We’re going to do a fly-fishing weekend May 31 and June 1. We still have openings for that. It’s open to 12 participants and we’ll be going up to Shaver Fork there at Spruce to go fishing on the second day, after one day of class work.”
Cass serves as sort of a Mecca for people that are interested in steam engines.
“I’ve met people from as far away as Japan and Australia before,” she says. “They come here to ride because we’ve got that unique collection of those geared locomotives. We supposedly have the largest collection of still-running geared steam locomotives. We have the five Shays, the Heisler, and then when the Climax is finished, that will give us all three of the major brands. So we have people from all over the world.”
For a full list of events for this season, Fleming invites AMR listeners to visit Cass’s website.
“At www.cassrailroad.com,” offers Fleming. “And they can get information on the train fares, they can make online reservations for the houses, it gives them the number to reserve the tickets if they’d like and call about any of our special events.”