East Slope, West Slope and Horseshoe Curve Operations - Page 14

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 8107 HorseShoe Curve 10/81

GP38-2 8107 leads a four unit helper set ahead of TV61's three unit road power.

CR 8114 Gallitzin, PA 5-28-1978

A Westbound train blasts out of one of the tunnels at Gallitzin.

CR 8147 Horseshoe Curve, PA 5/27/1978

An Eastbound with open top auto racks descends the curve.

CR 8151 Gallitzin, PA 8-4-1979 (1)

CR GP38-2 8151 leads U23B's 2719, 2748, and 2781, and a GP into the tunnels at Gallitzin in August, 1979.

CR 8151 Gallitzin, PA 8-4-1979 (2)

CR GP38-2 8151 leads U23B's 2719, 2748, and 2781, and a GP into the tunnels at Gallitzin in August, 1979.

CR 8151 Gallitzin, PA 8-4-1979 (3)

CR GP38-2 8151 leads U23B's 2719, 2748, and 2781, and a GP into the tunnels at Gallitzin in August, 1979.

CR 8151 Gallitzin, PA 8-4-1979 (4)

CR GP38-2 8151 leads U23B's 2719, 2748, and 2781, and a GP into the tunnels at Gallitzin in August, 1979.

CR 8179 Altoona, PA 7-24-1978

Waiting for clearance, CR GP-38-2 8179 leads a quartet of black and blue units at Altoona in July, 1978.

CR 8193 Altoona, PA 7/3/1978

A freshly painted GP-38-2 leads a Westbound out of Altoona.

CR 8221 and CR 1968 at Horseshoe Curve

Conrail GP38-2 8221 and B23-7 1968 are seen on a westbound freight at Horseshoe Curve in 1982.

CR 8241 at Bennington Curve in 1984

Conrail GP38-2 8241 is leading a westbound freight around Bennington Curve in 1984.

CR 8241 at Bennington Curve in 1984

Conrail GP38-2 8241 is leading a westbound freight around Bennington Curve in 1984.

CR 8251 Altoona, PA 4-11-1981

CR GP-38-2 8251 leads GP38AC 7656 (ex-LV 310) and a U-boat down Horseshoe Curve in April, 1981.

CR 9072 Altoona, PA 8-7-1977

Former PC SW-7 9072 rests from yard work at Altoona in August, 1977.

CR SD50 6778

CR SD50 6778 on train ALPI-3 on June 13th, 1996 in Altoona, PA. Terry Nardella photo, collection of Steve Ondik.

CR wreck, Altoona, PA

Another view of the wreck that occurred in front of the Amtrak station in Altoona, PA on July 13th, 1995. Terry Nardella photo, collection of Steve Ondik.

Cresson helper facility in 1982

A 1982 shot of the Cresson helper maintenance facility, taken from the Cresson Secondary bridge over the mainlines. The signals on the right edge of the photo were the eastbound signals for MO interlocking. When the bridge was removed in 1995 as part of the double-stack clearance improvement project, these signals were replaced with Type G signals.

Cresson helper terminal in 1991

A 1991 shot of the Cresson helper terminal, with several helpers languishing between tours of duty on the mountain.

Eastbound freight at Johnstown, PA

An eastbound freight is coming into Johnstown, PA to pick up helpers for the assault on the Allegheny Mountains.

Eastbound TV train at Bennington Curve in 1984

An eastbound TV train is seen rounding Bennington Curve in 1984.

Eastbound TV train on the Pittsburgh Line

An eastbound TV train is seen between South Fork and Mineral Point on the Pittsburgh Line in 1984.

Helpers passing MO tower

In what turned out to be my last train on this trip, here are a set of helper engines pushing on the rear of a PPLX coal train as they pass MO tower in Cresson, PA on June 25, 1998.

Horseshoe Curve Tracks 1-4 Altoona, PA 7-24-1978

Discarded ties litter the edge of the westbound track following recent maintenance on Horseshoe Curve in July, 1978.

In the distance, a number of railfans wait for the Horsheshoe operations to continue.

LMS 710 at Horseshoe Curve, PA

LMS C40-8W No. 710 leads an eastbound manifest around Horse Shoe Curve, while another manifest grinds up grade, in August 1995. Doug Davidson photo with permission

MDAX 1753 Altoona, PA 8-4-1979

With so many varied locomotives available on CR and the cost of film prohibitively expensive to also archive freight equipment, this accidental shot at Horseshoe Curve in August of 1979 captured a surprise, a CR MDAX 1753 tri-level autorack.

MNCR 105 (CR 3637)

Metro North GP35 105 (ex CR 3637) shown next to the tank at Cresson, PA on December 23rd, 1993.

MO Tower Cresson, PA 3-11-1995

CR 'MO' Tower in Cresson, PA on March 11th, 1995 as viewd from a passing train. Terry Nardell photo, collection of Steve Ondik.

OCS train rounding Horseshoe Curve

An eastbound Conrail OCS train descends around Horse Shoe Curve in the midst of an afternoon rain storm on October 1, 1994. Doug Davidson photo with permission

PRR 1361 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

PRR K-4 Pacific 1361 rests at the Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977. A gift from the PRR to the city of Altoona, 1361 was placed at the Curve "permanently" after her retirement in 1957.Her presence would be eclipsed this day by the run through of RDG 4-8-4 #2102 and Cuyahoga Valley Line 2-8-2 #4070.

A restoration was begun the fall of 1985 and completed in April 1987 to bring 1361 back to operating condition. A gleaming 1361 steamed briefly in July and October 1987, October 1988, and September 1989 before breaking a wheel bearing and being placed at Steamtown in Scranton, PA.

PRR 1361 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

PRR K-4 Pacific 1361 rests at the Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977. A gift from the PRR to the city of Altoona, 1361 was placed at the Curve "permanently" after her retirement in 1957. Her presence would be eclipsed this day by the run through of RDG 4-8-4 #2102 and Cuyahoga Valley Line 2-8-2 #4070.

A restoration was begun the fall of 1985 and completed in April 1987 to bring 1361 back to operating condition. A gleaming 1361 steamed briefly in July and October 1987, October 1988, and September 1989 before breaking a wheel bearing and being placed at Steamtown in Scranton, PA.

RR262 at Gallitzin, PA

While the twin tunnels attract all the attention at Gallitzin, PA there is also a third main that runs south of the tunnels. Here is a trailing shot of RR262 on that third main on June 24, 1998.

SD45-2s 6654 and CR 6664 at Bennington Curve, 7/90

Pittsburgh Line, Bennington Curve - Bennington, Pennsylvania, USA
July 08, 1990
SD45-2 6654 & SD45-2 6664
A pair of Conrail's former Erie Lackawanna SD45-2s roll light westward around Bennington Curve, heading for Cresson for servicing back in 1990.
Photo by Don Kalkman III

UN (tower?) 3-11-1995

CR's 'UN' (Tower?) more like a shack to me.... but viewed from a passing train on March 11th, 1995. Terry Nardella photo, collection of Steve Ondik

Westbound coal on the west slope

A 1991 view of a westbound coal train crossing the Little Conemaugh River between South Fork and Mineral Point, PA.

Westbound freight at Gallitzin, PA in 1993

A westbound freight is being led through Gallitzin, PA in 1993 by a trio of SD40-2s.

Westbound freight at Horseshoe Curve

A westbound freight climbs the Curve in 1982 behind a pair of Geeps and a 4-axle GE. Would love to have shots of all those CR freight cars; railfanning must have been a lot more interesting back then.

Westbound freight at Horseshoe Curve

A westbound freight with a block of auto frames (likely coming from the Dana plant in Reading) climbs the curve in 1982.

Westbound TV train at Horseshoe Curve

A westbound TV train climbs the Curve in 1982 with a pair of SDs shoving on the rear.

Westbound TV train on the Pittsburgh Line

A 1984 view shows a westbound TV train as it passes an eastbound between South Fork and Mineral Point on the Pittsburgh Line

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