East Slope, West Slope and Horseshoe Curve Operations - Page 2

Conrail operated trains over the world famour Horseshoe Curve during its entire existence. This engineering marvel is a national historic landmark, and is known to railfans around the world.  

The 'curve changed over time. Slimming from 4 tracks when Conrail started to 3 in the early 1980s, and many of these views are of things that are gone, or are from locations you shouldn't go to (due to more stringent enforcement of tresspass laws).

This gallery is a way to visit the area and see how Conrail's ops changed, and how they've stayed the same.  Included are photos from the main helper district over the Allegheny Mountains between Conemaugh and Altoona, PA.

Map Icon This gallery is available on an interactive map.

CR 2704 Cresson, PA 7/1/1978

4 axle power idles thru the night at the Cresson service area.

CR 2742 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (1)

CR GP38 7866, CNW GP30 821, U23B 2742, and CNW GP30 812 head down Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 2742 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (2)

CR GP38 7866 leads CNW GP30 821, U23B 2742, and CNW GP30 812 down Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 2742 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (3)

CR GP38 7866 leads CNW GP30 821, U23B 2742, and CNW GP30 812 down Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 2742 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (4)

CR GP38 7866 leads CNW GP30 821, U23B 2742, and CNW GP-30 812 down Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 2742 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (5)

CR GP38 7866 leads CNW GP30 821, U23B 2742, and CNW GP30 812 down Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 2751 Galltzen, PA 10/24/77

Long hood running U23B 2751 leads a leased CN GP38W on a westbound grain mty as a eastbound gets a shove to the summit.

CR 2759 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (3)

U23B 2759 and F-7A 1755 make up the 4th and 5th units of a seven-unit consist battling up the Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 2789 & 8120 Leading a Freight Past MG Tower, 4/82

CR U23B-2789 & GP38-2-8120 are leading a W/B freight as they pass MG Tower at Mid-Grade on the east slope. 1:29PM on 4/24/82 west of Altoona, PA.

CR 2794 and 2786 Altoona, PA 11-1-1992

Conrail U23Bs 2794 and 2786 (ex-LV 510) are leading GP38 7684 (ex-PC 7684) on of WHAL-46 at Altoona, PA in November, 1992. 2794 would later become Providence & Worcester 2208, while the 2786 would go on to be used by Pennsy Supply at Annville, PA until just a few yrs ago.

CR 2857 Altoona, PA 8-7-1977

Former PC U30-B 2857 is the third unit of a quartet of CR power pulling piggybacks through Altoona in August, 1977.

CR 2896 Altoona, PA 8/4/1979 (01)

CR U33B 2896 leads a quartet of U-boats as they pull a TV train up Horseshoe Curve in August, 1979.

CR 2896 Altoona, PA 8/4/1979 (02)

CR U33B 2896 leads a quartet of U-boats as they pull a TV train up Horseshoe Curve in August, 1979.

CR 2896 Altoona, PA 8/4/1979 (03)

CR U33B 2896 leads a quartet of U-boats as they pull a TV train up Horseshoe Curve in August, 1979.

CR 2901 Cresson, PA 5/27/1978

A crew puts their power away at Cresson after coming down the branch from Clarion.

CR 2916 Altoona, PA 3-13-1981

CR U33B 2916 leads an SD-35 (6039), U33B (2958), SD-40 (6293), U25B (2564), and a GP-38(7913) dragging empty hoppers up Horseshoe Curve in March, 1981.

CR 2916 Altoona, PA 3-13-1981 (1)

CR U33B 2916 leads an SD-35 (6039), U33B (2958), SD-40 (6293), U25B (2564), and a GP-38(7913) dragging empty hoppers up Horseshoe Curve in March, 1981.

CR 2916 Altoona, PA 3-13-1981 (2)

CR U33B 2916 leads an SD-35 (6039), U33B (2958), SD-40 (6293), U25B (2564), and a GP-38(7913) dragging empty hoppers up Horseshoe Curve in March, 1981.

CR 3001 Grazierville, PA 1993

Conrail GP40 3001 is seen running light westbound at Grazierville, PA in 1993.

CR 3120 Altoona, PA 3-27-1978

CR GP40 3120 and SD45 6219 take up the rear of a trio of units pulling a TV train up Horseshoe in March, 1978.

CR 3120 Altoona, PA 3-27-1978

CR GP40 3120 and SD45 6219 take up the rear of a trio of units pulling a TV train up Horseshoe in March, 1978.

CR 3165 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

CR GP40 3165 runs third in a seven-unit consist that blasted up the Curve on May 22, 1977. The GP-40 leads U23B 2759, F-7A 1755, and GP40's 3065 and 3071.

CR 3167 Altoona, PA 3-13-1981 (1)

CR 3167 GP-40 leads GP-30 2194 and two other black and blue EMD SD's with a coal train down Horseshoe Curve in March, 1981.

CR 3167 Altoona, PA 3-13-1981 (2)

CR 3167 GP-40 leads GP-30 2194 and two other black and blue EMD SD's down Horseshoe Curve in March, 1981.

CR 3167 Altoona, PA 3-13-1981 (3)

CR 3167 GP-40 leads GP-30 2194 and two other black and blue EMD SD's down Horseshoe Curve in March, 1981.

CR 3171 at Antis Tower Altoona, PA 1986

Conrail GP40 3171 is seen hauling an eastbound TV train past abandoned Antis Tower in Altoona, PA in 1986.

CR 3194 at Horseshoe Curve in 1984

Conrail GP40 3194 (ex-PC 3194) is seen heading light westbound on Horseshoe Curve in 1984.

CR 3212 at Tunnelhill, PA

Conrail GP40 3212 is seen trailing on a westbound TV train as it prepares to duck into the Allegheny Tunnel at Tunnelhill, PA in 1986.

CR 3216 at Bennington Curve in 1984

Conrail GP40 3216 (ex-PC 3216) is wearing fresh paint as she trails on a westbound freight just west of Bennington Curve in 1984.

CR 3217 Altoona, PA 1981

A westbound mixed freight is climbing Horseshoe Curve in 1981, with the assistance of CR GP38 7912 and GP40 3217.

CR 3220 Cresson, PA 1981

Conrail SD40-2 6397 is leading CR GP40 3220 (ex-PC 3220) and CR SD40-2 6388 on an eastbound mixed freight at Cresson, PA in 1981. MO tower is at the left edge of the picture, with MOW equipment in the yard in the background.

CR 3238 Altoona, PA 8-7-1977

In a quartet of all former PC power, GP40 3238 leads GP35 2296, U30B 2857 and GP38-2 8070 with a load of piggybacks through Altoona in August, 1977.

CR 3242 at Bennington Curve

Conrail GP40-2 3242 is seen again in 1983, this time trailing on an eastbound freight at Bennington Curve.

CR 3247 South Fork, PA 1981

A westbound freight is being led by GP40 3247 (ex-PC 3247) through South Fork, PA in 1981. The train is passing under the old bridge that carried a road and streetcar tracks over the North Fork of the Little Conemaugh River.

CR 3254 at Horseshoe Curve

Conrail GP40 2354 (ex-PC 3254) is seen heading west around Horseshoe Curve with a mix of intermodal and autoracks in 1983.

CR 3269 at Bennington Curve

Conrail GP40 3269 (ex-PC 3269) is seen trailing on an eastbound autorack train at Bennington Curve in 1983.

CR 3276 Tunnelhill, PA 1981

CR GP40-2 3276 (ex-RDG 3672) is seen leading a westbound freight towards the Allegheny Tunnel in Tunnelhill, PA in 1981.

CR 3278 Gallitzin, PA 5/28/1978

This Westbound is almost to the top of the mountain, about to head into the tunnel. There were only 5 of the ex RDG GP-40-2's, and they all wore the green paint scheme.

CR 3296 leads a westbound manifest at MG Tower, PA, 9/84

Westbound Conrail manifest at MG Tower, PA on 9/8/84, led by GP40-2 No. 3296.

CR 3296 Leads TV4 Down Horseshoe Curve, 3/88

Conrail's TV trains didn't always rate head end helpers, even in adverse weather. Here TV4 heads around the curve on a snowy day in March of 1988.

CR 3299 and CR 3362 At Bennington Curve

CR 3299 is leading CR 3362 on an eastbound TV train around Bennington Curve. The bi-level cattle cars on the head end identify this as a train bound for Philly or North Jersey.

CR 3299 at Bennington Curve in 1984

Conrail GP40-2 3299 is a Phase II unit built in 5/1977. She is seen leading an eastbound TV train into Bennington Curve in 1984.

CR 3312 Altoona, PA 1981

CR GP40-2 3312 is trailing on an eastbound TV train about to round Bennington Curve in 1981.

CR 3316 and CR 3324 on an eastbound TV train on "The Slide" at Tunnelhill, PA

Back in 1979, a trio of new GP40-2s (including 3316 and 3324, both Phase II units built in May, 1978) keep an eastbound TV train in check as it descends "The Slide", a stretch of 2.37% grade that restricts trains to a maximum speed of 12 mph, due to the wreck of the Pennsy's Red Arrow on Feb 18th, 1947. That day, 24 people perished and more than a hundred were injured after the eastbound Red Arrow lost its brakes on the slide and jumped the tracks at Bennington Curve. The track beneath the overpass is the old New Portage secondary, a second route up the east slope that ran south out of Hollidaysburg via the much-less-famous Muleshoe Curve. Much of the old New Portage Secondary route is now used by the new alignment of US Route 22. Of particular interest is the first car in the train, one of the 86' double-level stock car that were seen ferrying delicious cows between yards in the Midwest and slaughterhouses in North Jersey and Philly until the early 1980s.

CR 3322 Gallitzin, PA 5/28/1978

A new GP-40-2 leads an Eastbound van train out of one of the tunnels at the top of the mountain.

CR 3323 Horseshoe Curve, PA 5/28/1978

Another bizzare lashup. I don't remember if that E-unit was running or not. A newer GP-40-2 leads 4 much older units around the middle of the curve.

CR 3324 6-9-96 Altoona, PA

CR GP40-2 3324 on train OIPI-9 at Altoona, PA on June 9th, 1996. Terry Nardella photo, collection of Steve Ondik.

CR 3325 at Bennington Curve in 1984

Conrail GP40-2 3325 is a Phase II unit built in 5/1978. It is trailing on an eastbound TV train rounding Bennington Curve in 1984.

CR 3325 on MAIL3 Through Cresson PA, 5/86

GP40-2 3325 is doing what Conrail bought it to do, haul a high priority freight. Here it runs past MO tower in Cresson PA with three siblings. Don't miss the hoppers in the back coming off the Cresson Secondary in the background.

CR 3327 at Grazierville, PA in 1993

Conrail GP40-2 3327 is seen heading east at Grazierville, PA in 1993.

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