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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
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A Mountain Rail Extravaganza: The Cass Scenic Railroad and Other West Virginia Excursions

In-Person Program

Multi-Day Tour

Friday, June 3, 2022 - 8:00 a.m. to Sunday, June 5, 2022 - 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1CNCAS
Select Your Tickets
$760 - Double Room Member
$885 - Single Room Member
$960 - Double Room Non-Member
$1,085 - Single Room Non-Member

Materials for this program

  1. COVID Guidance for In-Person Tours

The Durbin Rocket, built in 1910

Please Note: The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for participation on all tours; additionally, current CDC and Smithsonian COVID-19 guidelines (at the time of the tour) will be followed, including but not limited to masks on the bus and indoors.

All aboard for an exciting rail journey through West Virginia’s breathtaking mountain scenery. Led by railroad historian Joe Nevin, this multi-day tour features three rail excursions, including a climb behind the geared steam locomotive of the Cass Scenic Railroad to the top of the second-highest point in the state.

Friday’s route descends into the scenic Shenandoah Valley before turning west into the region known as “Virginia's Switzerland.” After a stop for lunch, continue west to the town of Durbin, West Virginia, and board the train for a private chartered trip on the last remaining 10-miles of the track along the upper Greenbrier River which once connected Durbin with Cass.

On Saturday, begin with a tour of the historic Cass town lumber town buildings and remnants of the great mills that once filled the valley. The town, built as a company town for loggers, remains relatively unchanged since its founding in 1901. While in Cass, board the Bald Knob train for a four-hour ride behind historic geared steam locomotives to the top of Bald Knob. Make a stop at Whittaker Station where passengers see an authentically recreated logging camp before traversing grades exceeding nine percent, before reaching Bald Knob overlook where a large platform offers panoramic views into two states and the Allegheny Mountains. After a stop for gazing and facilities, descend the mountain making a stop at a spring where the train takes on water using a steam siphon on the locomotive. Continuing towards Cass, the train passes through two switchbacks and follows Leatherbark Creek, passing the Cass shops and mill, to its mouth at the Greenbrier River. At the conclusion of the ride, return to Elkins for dinner at a local restaurant and an evening at your leisure.

Kick off Sunday with a visit to the West Virginia Railroad Museum and learn about the state’s railroad heritage though a specialized collection of memorabilia and equipment. In the afternoon, board the New Tygert Flyer for a four-hour round trip with lunch on the train. After twisting and climbing from the Tygart Valley, the train travels to the Cheat River side of the 4,000-foot-high mountain and descends to the valley below. Enjoy a 30-minute stop at the isolated High Falls of the Cheat before returning to the station for your journey home.

General Information

  • Accommodations are at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Elkins; two dinners local restaurants and daily breakfasts at the hotel are provided.
  • Tour meets and departs by bus from the Mayflower Hotel, Connecticut Ave. and DeSales St., NW, with a stop at the Vienna Metro south-side Kiss and Ride at about 8:25 a.m.
  • Single-room supplement $125 (factored into the Single Room Member and Single Room Non-Member pricing).
  • Singles registering at the double-room rate are paired (on a nonsmoking basis) if possible, but must pay the single-room supplement otherwise.
  • Detailed information is emailed to registrants about four weeks prior to departure.
  • Registrants may want to consider purchasing trip insurance.
  • For additional tour information:
Detailed information for overnight tours
is mailed approximately FOUR WEEKS
prior to departure.