LOST AND FOUND SOUND: West Virginia Steam Trains The Lost and Found Sound series continues with a story from All Things Considered host Noah Adams. Noah travels to West Virginia in search of a lost sound - the sound of the steam train. Most trains in the United States switched from steam to diesel by the early 1950s, turning robust centers of activity into ghost towns. One such place is Thurmond, West Virginia, which now has only seven residents. Noah also visits Cass, a restored lumber town, to take a ride up Cheat Mountain on an authentic steam train. A veteran engineer explains how train whistles work, and we hear steam whistles far off in the valley, echoing through the hills.