Logging operations ceased at Cass in the 1960s. However, a group of farsighted enthusiasts decided to preserve the old logging railway to Spruce. Within a few years, they had part of the line operational and open to passengers. Eventually, the Cass Scenic Railroad would expand to become the line we know today.
By the mid-1990s the situation was this: the original Greenbrier Railway line had gone, as had the Western Maryland line north east of Elkins, towards Maryland. The Cass Scenic Railroad was in operation between Cass and Spruce. CSX owned the main line from Tygart Junction (near Carrollton) to Webster Springs (operated only as far as Bergoo) and the Elkins to Huttonsville branch (truncated to Dailey).
Like the timber traffic that had preceded it, coal traffic was now in decline and CSX sought to abandon the line from Elkins to Bergoo. To prevent this, the line was purchased by the West Virginia State Rail Authority. As it appeared unlikely that the section from Elkins to Bergoo could be made viable as a separate entity, the deal included the line from Tygart Junction to Elkins, and the branch from Elkins to Dailey. The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad were contracted to operated the line, both for freight and for tourist passenger services.
About the same time, the State Rail Authority had leased a 5 mile stretch of the former Greenbrier Railway south of Durbin (which the Authority already owned under a railbanking scheme) to the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley for a tourist steam operation. This would become the Durbin Rocket.
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Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad map from the website of Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad
Map of Spruce area by Glyn Williams based on maps published in the
Appalachia & Piedmont volume of the SPV Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America
West Virginia flag image from Wikipedia
Pocahontas County emblem from the Pocahontas County website
Special thanks to the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association
for providing much of the information used in this article
Thanks also to SPV for their excellent Railroad Atlases