Published On: Fri, Dec 2nd, 2016

Cass to host Christmas-themed Elf train

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Santa must decide who is the best Elf to join his crew in the story written for the Elf Limited Train at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.

Santa must decide who is the best Elf to join his crew in the story written for the Elf Limited Train at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer
 
The Cass Scenic Railroad State Park usually closes for the season after its Halloween train in October, but due to high demand for seasonal trains, Mountain Rail Adventures is hosting a special Christmas-themed train ride called “Elf Limited.”

The ride was inspired by the popularity of the Polar Express train out of Elkins.

“We wanted to do it because we see that the Polar Express out of Elkins sells out so early and there’s a demand for holiday train travel,” MRA external affairs manager Chase Gunnoe said. “It complements the existing Polar Express brand, and it expands the operating season of the Cass Scenic Railroad beyond the end of October.”

Elf Limited is like the Polar Express in that it will be a night train with on-train entertainment provided by the Old Brick Playhouse in Elkins. The ride will also use newly restored track between Cass and Durbin.

“The route of the Elf Limited is along a section of track that we have been restoring between Cass and Durbin, so it’s actually a section of track along the Greenbrier River that has not seen a train since 1985,” Gunnoe said.

The train will provide enclosed, heated passenger cars usually used by the train in Elkins, a steam locomotive and a diesel locomotive to make the ride go smoothly.

While the Polar Express follows the story of the book and movie by the same name, the Elf Limited story was created by the Old Brick Playhouse players.

“The Elf Limited script is more of an Appalachian-themed idea,” Gunnoe said. “You’re going to be getting gift baskets. You’re going to be traveling into this forest to one of Santa’s Elf Training Schools that is in a rural section of the state and that kind of has a local twist on the holiday concept.”

As travelers on the train learn to become Santa’s newest elves, they might get a special visit from the big guy himself.

The train began with the opening of ski season at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, November 25 through November 27. It will continue November 30 through December 11, Wednesday through Sunday, with two departures each evening. One at 5 p.m., the second at 7 p.m.

To add to the holiday cheer, Cass State Park will be open and host a Christmas at Cass celebration December 9 through 11. The Cass Company Store and Last Run Restaurant will host a Holiday Bazaar and Open House, as well as Breakfast with Santa.

To make reservations for Elf Limited, visit www.mountainrailwv.com, click on special events, and select Elf Limited; or call 1-877-686-7245.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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