MSR&LHA Web page banner
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, and publication of information about West Virginia’s historic lumbering and railroad operations. It also supports the restoration of associated equipment and structures whenever possible. 

The Association is based in Cass, West Virginia, and has almost 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.

The final issue of The Log Train has been produced . . .

We no longer have an Editor for The Log Train. The one candidate who expressed an interest was unable to complete an issue and no other candidates are in the wings. Plus, with the demise of researchers like Phil Bagdon, Max Robin, Richard Sparks, and others, the amount of Log Train material has dropped significantly in recent years.

The Association has been a very productive operation since it was incorporated in 1982, but it has been essentially on life support since the railroad operation at Cass was privatized in 2015. We have still supported the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in a number of ways, primarily with funding for interpretative projects, but most of our members are really railfans first and interest in the town of Cass is secondary.

The MSR&LHA Board feels that the Association has run its course and its membership is being asked to approve its dissolution.

The good news is that there is a group of folks living in and around Cass who are very interested in supporting the town and its history. The group is currently operating as the Association’s “Friends of Cass” Committee. They have run the incredibly successful “Cass Days” for the last two years and have worked with the Park to do a number of other projects that help increase Park visitation. These include Halloween activities, improving holiday lighting, and other projects. Unlike much of the Association’s leadership, the FOC folks are relatively young and enthusiastic.

The Friends of Cass folks are in the process of forming a separate nonprofit corporation with two missions. One will be to serve as the Foundation of Record supporting the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. The second will be to continue MSR&LHA’s mission of preserving West Virginia’s logging and railroad history. That includes all of West Virginia, not just Cass. The Association’s assets will be transferred to the new nonprofit Friends of Cass as soon as they receive their 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation from the IRS.

Current Association members are receiving the last Log Train issue and information about obtaining a refund for any unreceived future issues.
November 22, 2023

December 1, 2023: Trains magazine has an excellent article about the Association's dissolution on the News Wire page on their website. Click here to read the article.

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
Cass Railfan Weekend

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 needed.  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.

September 2019 Update: The Climax had its inaugural run during a DGVR railfan event on September 7, 2019. Some work remains to be done, but the locomotive was able to pull two loaded log cars on the recently rebuilt line along the Greenbrier River north of Cass.  Click here to see a YouTube video of the restored locomotive in action.

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
Logging Railroad photos by Robert Long (new 3/2021)

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
Oral Interviews with Artie Barkley (YouTube video)

The Cass Roster - Locomotives
The Cass Roster - Rolling Stock
Cass Track Guide
Comparison of Geared Locomotive Types
Cass Insider cover imageThe Making of a Cass Insider
Richard Sparks, one of the Association's founders, Editor of The Log Train from 1992 through 2013, and an expert on the history of Cass and the Association, has written a history of his involvement with the Association and Cass. Complete with many color photos, The Making of a Cass Insider gives Richard's view of the evolution of the Association and its many accomplishments over the years.  Click here to download the 12 Mbyte PDF file. 
Note: This file has been printed as issue #132 of The Log Train. The issue is 44 full color pages and includes additional material and paintings done by Richard. The cost is $6.00 per copy.  See the Company Store page to order a copy.
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


Donations to support the Association's activities and in the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park are welcome. MSR&LHA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so all donations are tax deducible to the full extent of the law. The "donate" button below will take you to the secure PayPal site where you can make your donation from your PayPal account or with a credit card. All donations will be acknowledged.

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. Mr. Taubeneck is very interested in any additions or corrections to the list. His contact information is in the file.

New 2023: The late Max Robin was one of the primary researchers into the history of West Virginia's logging railroads and he produced a list of the state’s logging railroads. His list was last updated in 2005 and was a work in progress. Max died in 2021 following several years of declining health. The list is obviously incomplete, may be the most comprehensive list of West Virginia logging railroad information available. It is hoped that future researchers will be able to fill in some of the many blanks. The list can be downloaded as a Excel file here and a PDF file here.

Timely Association Information

Future MSR&LHA Board meetings and other important dates:
All Association members are welcome to attend any Board meeting or the Annual Meeting. If you need overnight accommodations at a meeting you need to make arrangements in advance by sending your request to

There are no Board meeting currently scheduled. When one is scheduled the information will be posted here.

Links to related Web sites

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

Page last updated or validated on May 12, 2024