Waking up downtown Durbin. The Durbin, WV locals are waking up to the sound of a locomotive that sounds like it is doing 45 mph, as Meadow River Lumber Company Heisler #6 is pressed into service on the C&O Durbin Branch, hauling a cut of freight cars south toward Cass on a cool spring morning. Of course, the sound is deceiving, because this is geared locomotive and her actual speed is more like 4.5 mph. This special train, operated for a May, 2021 Lerro Photography Charter, is pictured here leaving downtown Durbin, at about MP 95.2.
Meadow River #6 is currently owned by the State of West Virginia and normally operates on the nearby Cass Scenic Railroad. After the 2015 operating season, the locomotive was trucked to Durbin to take over operations for the former Moore-Keppel Climax #3, which was in need of some major maintenance. Heisler #6 is a 90-ton locomotive, which has significantly more power than the little 55-ton Climax and is also faster. That's important, as the current operator of both the Cass and Durbin operations, the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, is currently in the final stages of restoring the railroad connection between Durbin and Cass. Once that happens, excursions are expected to be offered between the two, and the capabilities of the Heisler will likely be a better match for such trains, than the Climax would have been. Even if she were still technically operable, the Climax never had an FRA Form 4 and would have ceased to be legal to run once the connection is made with the FRA-regulated Cass Scenic Railroad.