In case you don’t know this, I like trains. I have a model train set that I hope to grow into a true display when I retire. But I really like to ride trains, and in my home state of West Virginia, this month is the perfect time to do it. There are several scenic railroads to choose from, all of which do the bulk of their business in October when the leaves of our tree-covered state are in their full glory. Here are a few of the best choices.
- Cass Scenic Railroad The old town of Cass was at one time the headquarters of some
logging companies that nearly denuded much of southern West Virginia of the bulk of its old growth trees. Happily, that deforestation has been reversed and all that still exists of those days
are some old company houses, which now serve as overnight cottages for tourists, and the spectacular coal-fired Shay locomotives that take riders to the top of Bald Knob, where, especially at this time of year, they can hop off and take in one of the most spectacular views in the entire world. Layer after layer of mountain covered in reds and yellows and oranges as far as the eye can see. The ride up and down is just as beautiful in a much more intimate way. Just be careful not to get coal smoke in your eye! For more information, go here: http://www.cassrailroad.com/
- The Potomac Eagle Boarding in the small town of Romney, also well known for its apples, The Potomac Eagle takes riders through a unique area called the trough. What makes it so singular is that the terrain is so steep that there are no roads in or out. It’s literally sheer mountains on either side, with just enough bank for camping areas on one side of the Potomac River and the railroad on the other. So the only way to traverse the trough is by canoe or train. The train is a lot less work. And October is the time to do it. Because it’s so secluded, a population of bald eagles lives there and you haven’t fully lived until you see a bald eagle swoop down and take a trout out of the water right before your eyes. For info on this train, go here: http://www.potomaceagle.info/
- The New River Train Excursion This one is on my bucket list. The trip starts in Huntington and passes by many of the beautiful sites of WV, ending in Hinton, where there’s a street fair. After that is the return trip. Much of the ride is along the New River, one of the oldest rivers in North America. It’s a full day trip. Here’s where you go for more information: http://www.newrivertrain.com/nrt.shtml. While you’re there, you may want to check out the other excursions the railroad offers.
Joe Stephens is a teacher at Parkersburg High School. He is also the author of Harsh Prey, Kisses and Lies, and the recently released In the Shadow, all of which are available in paperback and Kindle formats. The paperback may be purchased from Createspace, Amazon, and most online booksellers. In the real world, you may purchase from J & M Used Book Store in Parkersburg and from the author’s trunk.
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