Freight to Cheat Bridge. Spring has sprung in the hills of Southeastern West Virginia and the leaf buds are popping everywhere as the former Meadow River Heisler #6.....now Cass Scenic Railroad #6, takes a photo freight north on the line between Spruce, WV and Cheat Bridge during the 2015 (and unfortunately last!) Cass Railfan Weekend, organized by the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association. The location depicted here is called Water Tank Hollow, with the line crossing the Shaver's Fork of the Cheat River, approximately 5 miles south of Cheat Bridge Station.
The choice of the former Meadow River Heisler as the power on this freight was most appropriate for this trip. Of the 3 principal types of geared steam engines, Heislers were probably offered the most flexibility as both good mountain-climbers and offering at least a little bit of speed on level track. They were often used to drag freights on logging lines just as you see here. Although Shays were much smoother running engines, and much easier to service in the field, they were typically slower. I like to joke that if we'd had a Shay on the point of this 2015 freight, we'd still be somewhere south of Cheat Bridge, measuring our progress with a calendar.