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Double-Headed Steam in West Virginia Autumn

Double-Headed Steam in West Virginia Autumn

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Double-Headed Steam in West Virginia Autumn

There's nothing quite as exciting for a rail-fan as the sight (and sounds!) of a
well-stoked steam locomotive challenging a steep grade on a crisp and chilly day…

Make it two and the excitement increases exponentially.

In this dramatic display of billowing exhaust and heard-for-miles syncopated chuff-chuff-chuff, two geared logging locomotives of the Cass Scenic Railroad collaborate to haul their lumber car consist up the mountain toward Bald Knob (4,842 feet/1,476 meters) on an early November afternoon.

The Cass Scenic Railroad was built in 1901 to haul lumber from the forests to the mill at Cass, West Virginia. Geared Shay and Heisler locomotives were used to enable sufficient traction on the steep mountain grades. The same locomotive types now take passengers up those steep grades in trains of converted log cars, but there are also special rail-fan events and charters in which the railroad runs actual logging trains as seen here.

This black and white was created from an original Fujichrome R-100
transparency, shot in November 1973. It makes its first appearance here.

©2017 Steve Ember

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