The Wild Heart of West Virginia Adventure Package is the combination of two rail trips over at least two days. We left from Elkins where we boarded the diesel powered Cheat Mountain Salamander. for a trip south along the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River. The four hour trip included an adequate cold cut buffet lunch and an extended stop at the High Falls of the Cheat. For photographers, there are open air "windows" in the back buffet car.
The train then rendezvoused with the Cass Mountain Railroad at Spruce Junction where we transferred to a Shay steam powered train up to Bald Knob. This three hour trip took us up 12% grades and included a water stop. After an extended stay at the top, we went back down to Cass. This trip included an extended stop at Whittaker Station, a recreated logging camp.
After spending the night in Cass, we returned to Elkins, taking the Shay to Spruce Junction where we transferred back to the diesel train. On board we received another buffet lunch. This latter trip included an extended stop at the site of the abandoned Old Spruce town.
If you take this trip, I have three recommendations.
1) If you are a couple, resist the sales pressure to stay in the Cass company houses and stay at the local motel instead.
2) Board the Cheat Mountain Salamander early so you can sit is the coach car - it is much more comfortable than the parlor car tables.
3) Spend an extra night in Cass, using the next day to explore the town and railroad attractions.
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