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Preserving West Virginia Lumbering and Railroad History

The Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association was founded in 1982 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all volunteer, organization. The Association is dedicated to the research, collection, preservation, publication on, and restoration of equipment and structures related to West Virginia lumbering and railroad operations.

The Association is based in Cass, West Virginia, and has over 500 members located throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries.  MSR&LHA is the Foundation of Record for the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park and much of its focus is on the Park’s railroad and historic structures.

Cass Railfan Weekend
The Association’s Board of Directors reluctantly decided not to sponsor a 2016 Cass Railfan Weekend.  This decision was made at the Association's August 1 Board meeting and was made because of the relatively low attendance in 2014 and 2015 (just over 200 riders both years) and the likelihood of multiple railfan events competing for railfan attendance in 2016.
Locomotive at Cass water tank

Update 3/20/16
IT’S OFFICIAL! This July 16th and 17th, MSR&LHA will host a new event called Membership Weekend featuring the “Railfan Express”!  Click here for all the details.

The Climax Locomotive Restoration Project
The Association's involvement in the project to restore the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park's Climax steam locomotive ended in December, 2015.  The new operator responsible for the Park's railroad operation and maintenance, the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, informed the Association that its assistance in the project was no longer need.  The Association began the massive restoration project in 2002 and it was estimated to be approximately 80% complete.  It is anticipated that the remaining work on the locomotive will be completed by DGVR personnel.

John Smith, DGVR President, made the following statement about the transition: "The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad will be finishing the remaining work on Climax No. 1551 in order to ensure a safe and efficient restoration. The project, started by the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association is nearly 80 percent complete. As the project moves forward at [DGVR], the locomotive will be able to be built into the railroad's maintenance schedule and will be assembled at the Cass Shops using overhead cranes and qualified DGVR personnel. This process will allow the railroad to finish the remaining tasks needed to bring the locomotive to operating condition."

Association Activities
Click the links below to get more information about the Association and its activities

Frequently Asked Questions
Past Association Projects
The Greenacre Photo Award
Historic Interpreter Jobs in Cass
Contact Information
Administrative Documents

There are two Facebook pages devoted to the Association and the Cass Scenic Railroad:
The Association's Facebook page contains more timely information than this Web page.  Click here to go to the page.
The Casshews page is an informal site that is devoted to the Cass Scenic Railroad.  Click here to go to the page.

Click the photos for larger images & captions
new Climax cab under construction Railfans at the Cass Railfan Weekend Volunteer operating a lathe Volunteers doing track work


The links below will lead you to photo albums that document the Association's activities over the years and the equipment and operations of the Cass Scenic Railroad.  

There are a number of videos of  railfan trips at Cass on the YouTube Web site.  Go to and enter cass railroad (two words with a space between) in the search window.

Photos of Association Activities

Recent Climax Restoration Project activities (1)
Recent Climax Restoration Project Activities (2)
Recent Climax Restoration Project Activities (3)
Early Climax Restoration Work (1)
Early Climax Restoration Work (2)
Constructing the Whittaker Camp (1991-96)
Reconstructing the "wye" Track (1997)
Moving Shay 11 from California (1998)
Constructing & Equipping the Restoration Building (2000-02)
Rebuilding the Cass "Bobber" Caboose
Photos from the Greenacre Photo Contest 

Photos of  West Virginia Lumbering & Railroads

Other West Virginia Railroads (1)  
The Greenbrier Railroad
Short video of Ely Thomas operations in 1964-65
Elk River Coal & Lumber Co. Log Line in 1958

Photos of the Cass Scenic Railroad
Historic Operations (1901-60)
Cass Railroad Operations (1)
Cass Railroad Operations (2)
Cass Railroad Operations (3)
Cass Railroad Operations (4)
The Town of Cass
The (former) Town of Spruce
Cass Shop (before the 1972 fire)
Cass Shop (after the fire)
Cass Lumber Mill

The Cass Railroad

From Big-time Railroad to Major Tourist Attraction

Much of the Association's focus is on the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park because of the Park's collection of geared locomotives and its link to the lumber and logging railroad industries.  The links below provide additional information about Cass.
A Brief History of Cass Operations
Cass in Two Nutshells
A History of the Town of Spruce
The Cass Roster - Locomotives
The Cass Roster - Rolling Stock
Cass Track Guide
Comparison of Geared Locomotive Types
Click the photos for larger images & captions
Bringing Shay 3 thhrough Cass 3-locomotive "race" in Cass Night photo in Cass Start of a Cass train trip

Other Related Information

John A. Taubeneck has created an extensive list of Barnhart Log Loaders.  These small 360-degree swing cranes were built by the Marion Steam Shovel Company of Marion, Ohio, and were used in logging operations throughout the country.  The list can be downloaded as a 145KB PDF file here.  Taubeneck is very interested in any additions or corrections to the list.  His contact information is in the file.

Timely Association Information

Future MSR&LHA Board meetings and other important dates:
(All Board meetings are open to any Association member)
May 7, 2016
MSR&LHA Board Meeting  at 1 PM in the Terry House in Cass, W. Va.  (Meeting reschedule from April 9)
: The start time has changed from the originally scheduled 7 PM to 1 PM.
Note2: Sleeping accommodations will be very limited.  Contact Bob Hoke at prior to the meeting if you are interested in spending the night. 

Links to related Web sites

For more information about the Association or its activities please e-mail

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Page last updated or validated on April 28, 2016