Steam Engine Wins Train Race at the Ghost Town of Spruce

Jul 20, 2014

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park - Shay Heisler 6 and Shay 11 are both pictured here pulling logs
Credit Shayfan via Wikimedia Commons

It's been called the NASCAR of train races, and it takes place at an altitude of 3,853 feet in Pocahontas County.

Yesterday a crowd of 250 people gathered to watch as two massive trains, one departing from Cass and the other from Elkins, converged at the wilderness ghost town of Spruce. The two trains raced side by side for nearly a mile.

Cass State Park's coal-powered steam engine, the Shay #6, crossed the finish line first, beating the Cheat Mountain Salamander Train "by a locomotive length," said John Smith, the president of the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, which owns the Salamander train. The Salamander is powered by a diesel locomotive #82.

The crowd then enjoyed grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Musical entertainment was provided by the Ginsangers from Elkins.

Danny Seldomridge was the engineer on the Shay #6 and Gene Lambert was the conductor. On the Cheat Mountain Salamander Bob Robinson was the engineer and Josh Arbogast was the conductor.

The Salamander will make the ride to the top of Spruce 12 more times this year. This 9-hour round-trip train departs from Elkins.

The Shay #6 steam locomotive train departs from Cass and is operated by Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.

Cheat Mountain Salamander Train at the Elkins Depot
Credit Dan Schultz, Traveling 219