Tigers roar to reach Wembley
Widnes supporters had been given little to cheer as Castleford ran in five tries to book a Wembley date with their rivals Leeds.
Tries from Liam Finn and Daryl Clark in the opening nine minutes set the tone and further scores from Kirk Dixon, Jamie Ellis and Jake Webster put the result beyond doubt.
Widnes mustered just one consolation try late on from Jack Owens.
Before the end the Castleford fans in the sold-out 12,005 crowd had been shouting, 'Bring on the Rhinos' - a match that will have extra poignancy for Tigers coach Daryl Powell.
Powell, who has led a remarkable revival of Cas over the past year, was a member of the last Leeds side to win the Challenge Cup in 1999 and later had a spell coaching the Rhinos.
The game was scrappy at times, but Powell's men always had the upper hand.
The combinations between the key quartet of four-goal Marc Sneyd, Finn, Luke Dorn and Clark were superior to anything Widnes offered.
The writing was on the wall after five minutes as the influential Clark found Dorn and his pass enabled Finn to burst through the line and race clear.
The early blast continued and Cas claimed a second try as Clark ran from dummy half and exchanged passes with Sneyd to touch down in the corner.
Widnes might have conceded a third soon after as Dixon pounced following a high kick by Finn but video referee Phil Bentham spotted a touch from Webster in the build-up.
Castleford's charge was tempered when prop Craig Huby was forced off with what was later confirmed as a dislocated elbow following a clash with team-mate Nathan Massey.
Widnes finally produced a meaningful attack after 25 minutes as Chris Dean drove close to the line but Frankie Mariano led a swift Tigers counter-attack.
Dixon increased the Widnes misery as he stepped inside from the right touchline to beat the last defender and score a third try after good handling from Mariano and Dorn.
Danny Tickle drove Widnes to within inches of the line as they looked to respond just before the hooter but he could not hold on.
Castleford tightened their grip after the break and put the game beyond Widnes as former Leigh player Ellis, back on his old ground, darted through from dummy half.
After that Castleford just needed to play out time. Sneyd added a penalty and Widnes efforts to fight back were thwarted when Stefan Marsh had a try disallowed by the video referee.
Webster found his way over to put the seal on victory for the Tigers but the Vikings pulled one back at the close when Owens touched down in the corner, converting his own score.
The final hooter should have prompted joyous scenes for Castleford, but their celebrations were quickly overshadowed as trouble broke out.