Steep grades were the norm for logging railroads, but even within that realm the grades of up to 11% encountered on what is now the Cass Scenic Railroad in West Virginia are somewhat exceptional. Nowhere are the grades more visible than the switchback that the trains utilize on their way up from Cass to the intermediate station at Whittaker.
Here Shay #5 claws its way upgrade onto the upper switchback with a short train of log bunks. The fireman will jump down in a moment, throw the turnout after the train passes, and Shay 5 will reverse and resume her climb up the next leg visible at right, now pushing her train and running backwards.
The occasion was a weekend photo charter organized by a talented young man still in college named Chase Gunoe. Also, a shout-out to the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, which has assumed operation of the privatized Cass Scenic Railroad. Well done, gentlemen!
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