D&GV Carried Nearly 90,000 in 2015

In a year-end report the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad reported that it dispatched 950 excursion trains and carried nearly 90,000 passengers.

The D&GV began operating the Cass Scenic Railroad this year in addition to other operations.

Trains departed from three locations in West Virginia, Elkins, Cass and Durbin.

Ridership on the Cass Scenic was 40,400 passengers with more than 3,000 riding the peak fall foliage trips in October.

Those trains traveled to Whittaker Station or Bald Knob and a few extra trains ran to Whittaker to accommodate overflow crowds.

“The first year operating the Cass Scenic Railroad was both challenging and rewarding,” said D&GV President John Smith. “We set out with a very ambitious schedule.”

During 2015 the D&GV put into service an online reservation system. Smith said the system was particularly useful in showing when to schedule additional trains or add cars to handle peak ridership in October.

For the time being, the D&GV is busy performing scheduled maintenance and repairs.

Cass Shop crews are installing flues on Cass Shay No. 2, which is expected to return to service in 2016.

Workers are removing the flues and getting Heisler No. 6 ready for a Federal Railroad Administration inspection.

Cass expects to have five steam locomotives in operation in 2016, including Shays Nos. 2, 4, 5, Western Maryland No. 6, and Heisler No. 6.

Moore & Keppel Climax No. 3, currently in Durbin, will be moved by truck to the Cass shops for an FRA inspection.

No. 3 is expected to resume service in 2016, but a GE 44-ton switcher will pull the Durbin Rocket during the first half of the excursion season.

D&GV forces will also be working to maintain track.

“Work is ongoing to repair the track from Cass to Durbin for the 2018 season,” Smith said. “In the meantime, a four-mile section will be open in 2016 to allow holiday trains to depart from the depot at Cass.”

Track crews worked north from Cass and south from Durbin during 2015 to repair two washouts and restore about two miles of track.

A connection that is expected to be finished by 2018 will will allow trains access to Cass, Spruce, and Elkins from Durbin. Currently, the 5.5-mile Durbin line is landlocked.

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