Rails & Trails Pages

Friday, July 21, 2017

New Tygart Flyer 2017

After friend Gary Muehlius and I rode the Cass Scenic on July 12, we rode the New Tygart Flyer out of Elkins, West Virginia on July 13.  The New Tygart Flyer is an operation run by the Durbin and Greenbrier Railroad.  The Durbin and Greenbrier Railroad runs this line, the Cass Scenic Railroad, and the Durbin Rocket on tracks owned by the State of West Virginia.
Our train was scheduled to leave at 11 AM and we arrived at 9 AM.  We were surprised to find their BL2 idling with only one coach and a power car.  BL2s are quite rare and it looked like it was on our train!  I've wanted a cab ride in one of these units and maybe this was my chance!
We quickly grabbed some pix of the locomotive.
Then suddenly it backed away from the depot and left town!  I quickly ran into the depot to find out what was going on!!!  It turns out it was going to the end of the line at Spruce on a special charter to pick up a bunch of Amish people.  But it wouldn't be returning to Elkins and it wouldn't be on our train!!!!!

But we still would get the Fs!!!  Here is their Western Maryland painted F7 #243.  It was originally Canadian Pacific #4071 and is 1500 horsepower.
And the trailing unit for the trip up the hill (and lead unit coming back) was Western Maryland painted #67.  It was originally Clinchfield F7 #200 and has been upgraded with a 645 power pack rating 2000 horsepower.

Similar to the North Shore Scenic Railroad operation in Duluth, this train shoves back from the depot to the main line before assaulting the hill.  The Western Maryland Railroad built the depot in 1908 and the last passenger train left the depot in 1959.

Our trip will be a 48-mile 4 hour round trip.  

On the left was the site of a large rail yard and round house.  The round house burned in the 1980s and no reason was found for the fire.  (Was it a convenient way to get rid of it???)
The bridge had been removed but when the State of West Virginia purchased the line a new bridge was put in place.  It very closely resembles the former bridge.
We back through the crossover switches onto the main line.
Come along for a fun train ride in the Alleghany Mountains!
We soon cross 3 bridges, 2 over streets and one over the New Tygart River.
And we cross US Highway 280.

The engine had 3 speedometers but one didn't work and another didn't work over 10 MPH.  So the GPS provided the most accurate speed.  Track speed is limited to 20 MPH.  Note on the GPS the hairpin curve we are about to enter.
This rail is 112-lb. continuous welded rail.  CSX replaced the original stick rail with this heavy main line iron.  (This was probably done so the railroad could show a loss on the line and abandon it.  But the state wouldn't let them and eventually purchased the line).
We enter a 1800' tunnel.

Most of West Virginia is lower income.  At the end of a large trailer park is this house (VERY inordinary for WV) but I took the picture for the shed.  Formerly MAIL POUCH tobacco signs adorned many buildings in the country, most noticeable on barns.
We follow the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River.
At this town of Bemis there were once 4 lumber mills and 1 coal mine, all served by the railroad.

Another main line crossed at this location.  Note the diamond is still lying in the right-of-way on the right side of the picture.

Our full length coaches are capable of rounding a 28 degree curve but there is a 33 degree curve just a little up the line so we can't go much further.  So first we run around our train (note there isn't much clearance room on either end).

Our engineer is Terry and the New Tygart Flyer runs with one crew member in the cab.  The conductor is in the passenger cars.

 The train then shoves up to this location to the High Falls of the Cheat River.

The West Virginia state flower is the Rhododendron which abounds along the track.
All passengers are given a cold sandwich buffet and we took advantage of the stop to grab our 'beans.'
A quick shower followed by sunshine provided this neat shot.
 Heading back down the hill.

Thank You to the Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad for another great day of riding trains!

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