Horseshoe Curve

Status
Not open for further replies.

harri2626

Member
Joined
22 Aug 2012
Messages
37
I am travelling to Altoona, PA by Amtrak in November and plan to visit the Horseshoe Curve, its visitor centre and the town's museum.

Due to my bad planning, the Visitor Centre and town's museum are closed on the (midweek) day I am booked to travel.:oops:

However, I understand that I can gain access to the curve from the car park without trespassing.

Has anyone done this and can offer any advice please? I will need to hire a taxi for a couple of hours as there is no public transport access.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Holly

Member
Joined
20 May 2011
Messages
783
I am travelling to Altoona, PA by Amtrak in November and plan to visit the Horseshoe Curve, its visitor centre and the town's museum.

Due to my bad planning, the Visitor Centre and town's museum are closed on the (midweek) day I am booked to travel.:oops:

However, I understand that I can gain access to the curve from the car park without trespassing.

Has anyone done this and can offer any advice please? I will need to hire a taxi for a couple of hours as there is no public transport access.
Write to the museum and/or visitor center (sic) and ask if anyone with local railway knowledge would be willing to let you buy them lunch on the day.

There's a fair chance you will be offered a private showing by some retired railman.
 

harri2626

Member
Joined
22 Aug 2012
Messages
37
Thanks, Holly. I've contacted the Museum and been told that the staff will be laid off for the winter and no-one will be around. However, you may well be right about a local retired railman willing to help. Yes, I would be happy to fund a lunch etc and make a donation to the museum. I'll contact them again nearer the time.
 

ac6000cw

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2014
Messages
2,178
Location
Cambridge, UK
Another thought may be to contact the local NRHS chapter (National Railway Historical Society) - http://www.nrhs.com/chapters/horseshoe-curve and https://www.facebook.com/HSCNRHS/

If you only have a 'couple of hours' keep in mind that although that line is generally pretty busy, it does have unpredictable traffic lulls so there is no guarantee you will actually see a train in that time (this is US freight railroading, where many trains run as-and-when required). It's worth the wait though - just the noise of the trains echoing off the walls of the valley as they blast upgrade is superb...if it's a really heavy train you might have 2-4 locos up front and four SD40Es pushing on the rear, all at full power...

If you are planning to stay overnight, and don't mind being kept awake by rumbling trains, the Station Inn at Cresson, PA is a decent, if slightly quirky, 'railfan' B&B in the area with a porch out front you can sit and watch the trains from all day and night if you want to.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
15,514
Location
Mold, Clwyd
If you only have a 'couple of hours' keep in mind that although that line is generally pretty busy, it does have unpredictable traffic lulls so there is no guarantee you will actually see a train in that time (this is US freight railroading, where many trains run as-and-when required). It's worth the wait though - just the noise of the trains echoing off the walls of the valley as they blast upgrade is superb...if it's a really heavy train you might have 2-4 locos up front and four SD40Es pushing on the rear, all at full power...

When I visited we waited 2 hours and all we saw was a rail-roader truck ambling downhill, probably doing an inspection!
But finally a big coal train came uphill, well worth the wait...
Nice place to just chill out and have a picnic though.

Flagstaff, Arizona is my favourite location for train-watching in the US.
 

ac6000cw

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2014
Messages
2,178
Location
Cambridge, UK
Nice place to just chill out and have a picnic though.

Agreed - I went on a Sunday morning/late afternoon, and it slowly got quite busy with both enthusiasts and families. (These are some highlights taken from video I shot during the day - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48z0doMvM2E )

Flagstaff, Arizona is my favourite location for train-watching in the US.

As part of a trip from LA to/from the Grand Canyon, I spent most of an evening in Flagstaff (waiting for the Southwest Chief to take me back to LA) and didn't see a single freight train... I know it's one of the busiest mainlines in the 'west', but it just illustrates that you sometimes need luck and patience when train watching in US - and my luck wasn't in that evening :(

Favourite train-watching places ? Cassandra, PA (a little way over the hill - west - from Horseshoe Curve on the same line), the east slope of Sand Patch Grade, PA (CSX ex-B&O), the BNSF triple-track 'racetrack' west out of Chicago, IL at one of the nice suburban stations, and of course Tehachapi Pass, CA (where else? :))
 

harri2626

Member
Joined
22 Aug 2012
Messages
37
Many thanks, gentlemen, for your thoughts. My time is limited - relying (perhaps unwisely) on an Amtrak arrival of 10.00 and departure at 17.00. I'll contact the local NRHS as suggested, in case someone is free for an hour or two to assist.
 

ac6000cw

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2014
Messages
2,178
Location
Cambridge, UK
Many thanks, gentlemen, for your thoughts. My time is limited - relying (perhaps unwisely) on an Amtrak arrival of 10.00 and departure at 17.00. I'll contact the local NRHS as suggested, in case someone is free for an hour or two to assist.

You'll be travelling around the curve in both directions (as you are coming from the west to Altoona), so even if you can't get to stand there at least you'll see it from the train - just keep your fingers crossed that there isn't a double-stack container train between you and the view at the critical time... (there are three tracks).

As the 'Pennsylvanian' starts from Pittsburgh at 07:30, hopefully it will be more-or-less on-time when it gets to Altoona.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top