Running the Greenbrier River. Cass Heisler #6 looks right at home hauling a short freight along the Greenbrier River just a couple of miles south of Durbin, WV on a sunny spring morning. She should look right at home. After all, she's been residing just a few miles down the line in nearby Cass for the last 50 years, and after a long hiatus, she's once again doing what she was acquired to do: running excursions on the old C&O Greebrier River Line between Cass and Durbin.
Back in the early days, the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park occasionally operated off-line excursions between Cass and Durbin and Heisler #6 was one of the favored engines for this duty, because she's faster than her Shay stablemates. Unfortunately, when the Durbin line suffered severe washouts in 1985, as a result of Hurricane Juan, those excursions came to an end. Cass and Durbin have been cut off from each other ever since. In the early 2000s, the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad re-established some steam tourist service on a 5.5 mile stretch of insular track west and south of Durbin, utilizing a small, 55-ton, 2-Truck Climax. The owner of that tourist line had a dream of re-establishing excursions between Cass and Durbin, but that dream would go unrealized for more than a decade.
Finally, in 2015, the stars began to align. The State of West Virginia contracted the operation of the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park to the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley, leaving the same operator on both ends of the washed out line. A plan was announced to rebuild the damaged sections of the line and finally reconnect Cass and Durbin. That plan is still in process as of 2017. In the meantime, the railroad is performing a 1,472 SDI on the Durbin-based Climax, and while she is out of service, Cass Heisler #6 is filling in for her in Durbin. She was trucked over from Cass and has been in operation for just over a year now. Eventually, when the construction project is completed, Heisler #6 may end up going back to Cass on the rails instead of on a truck.