East Slope, West Slope and Horseshoe Curve Operations - Page 5

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 6075 on RR261 at Cresson, PA

CR 6075 and 6614 lead RR261 past a westbound freight at Cresson, PA on June 25, 1998. This was the second train in my three way meet I witnessed that day.

CR 6075 on RR261 at Gallitzin, PA

CR 6075 and 6614 lead RR261 out of the tunnel at Gallitzin, PA on June 25, 1998

CR 6079 Altoona, PA 4-22-1980

Many of Conrail's inherited SD45s served their short stint with Big Blue as helpers, sometimes far from home. Here an ex-EL unit leads an ex-PRR/PC unit on their way to help another train across the mountain.

CR 6079 Altoona, PA 8-4-1979

CR SD45's 6156 and 6079 run light down Horseshoe for another pusher assignment in August, 1979.

CR 6083 at Bennington Curve in 1984

Conrail SD45 6083 (ex-EL 3618) is seen helping an eastbound TV train around Bennington Curve in 1984.

CR 6085 at Horseshoe Curve 9/27/84

A pusher set drifts through Horseshoe Curve on its way back down the mountain for another push.

CR 6085 plus 5 at Horseshoe Curve 9/27/84

A westbound COFC climbs toward Gallitzin behind helper set 6085/6453, with 6042/8144/2732/3326 for road power. While most trains that got pushers had them on the rear, TV trains got them up front, due to the likelihood of the long trailer flats to derail when pushed. The Curve was quite a show in those days, when there was still a lot of older power around. You never knew what would show up.

CR 6087 Altoona, PA 1981

A 1981 shot shows Conrail 6087 (ex-EL 3622) shoving a westbound train around track 2 of Horseshoe Curve while another train ascends the grade on track 2.

CR 6087 and CR 6145 Gallitzin, PA 1981

Conrail SD45 6087 (ex-EL 3622) is seen with a SD45 6145 (ex-PC 6145, nee-PRR 6145) at Gallitzin, PA in 1981.

CR 6087 Gallitzin, PA 1981

Conrail SD45 6087 (ex-EL 3622) is seen shoving an eastbound train into the Allegheny Tunnel at Gallitzin, PA back in 1981.

CR 6088 at Cresson, PA

Conrail C40-8W 6088 brings up the rear of a westbound light engine move at Cresson, PA in 1991.

CR 6089 west at Altoona, PA

CR 6089 and 6854 leads a westbound freight at Altoona, PA on June 24, 1998

CR 6091 Altoona, PA 6-24-1998

CR 6091 and UP 3185 are being led by SD40-2 helper units on a westbound freight around Horseshoe Curve June 24, 1998. That UP engine was the only non Conrail engine I seen during the entire time I was on there.

CR 6091 and CR 6286 Altoona, PA 1-1-1984

Conrail SD45 6091 (ex-EL 3626) and SD40 6286 (ex-CNJ 3062) are shoving a westbound freight around Horseshoe Curve in 1984.

CR 6091 South Fork, PA 1-1-1984

Conrail SD45 6091 (ex-EL 3626) is seen helping an eastbound coal drag up the west slope towards South Fork, PA in 1984.

CR 6092 at Tyrone, PA

Conrail C40-8W 6092 is seen leading a westbound freight at Tyrone, PA in 1992.

CR 6095 Altoona, PA 1981

CR SD45 6095 (ex-EL 3630) is seen leading a GP38-2 and a GP40 on a westbound mixed freight at Horseshoe Curve, PA back in 1981.

CR 6095 Leads a westbound manifest through Benny, 3/78

Patched SD45 No. 6095 leads a westbound manifest upgrade through Benny Interlocking at Bennington, PA on 3/18/78.

CR 6096 west at Cresson, PA

CR 6096 and 6161 leads a westbound freight at Cresson, PA on June 25, 1998

CR 6099 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

CR SD-35 6001 leads SD-45 6099 (ex-EL 3634, the last SD-45 of EL's 3601-3634 series) as they roll piggybacks down Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6099 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

CR SD-35 6001 leads SD-45 6099 (ex-EL 3634, the last SD-45 of EL's 3601-3634 series) as they roll piggybacks down Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6099 at Tyrone, PA

Conrail C40-8W 6099 is seen leading a westbound empty coal drag at Tyrone, PA in 1992.

CR 6100 at Horseshoe Curve in 1998

Conrail C40-8W 6100 is seen leading a westbound TV train around Horseshoe Curve in 1998.

CR 6101 Altoona, PA 3-27-1978

Ex-RDG SD-45 6101 (ex-RDG 7601) and GP-35 3631 bring up the rear of a quartet of units pulling through Altoona in March, 1978.

CR 6105-6239 Altoona, PA 3-13-1981

An ex-PC SD45 leads a sextet of black and blue power as they pound up Horseshoe Curve in March, 1981.

CR 6109 Gallitzin, PA 5/27/1978

The sun has just about set, but still enough light for a shot of 1 more train as it has just exited the tunnel.

CR 6112 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

CR SD35 6037 heads down the Curve, while SD45 6112 leads six other units up the hill on May 22, 1977.

CR 6112 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

SD45 6112 leads six other units, 6262, 3165, 2759, 1755, 3065, and 3071, up the Curve on May 22, 1977.

Railfans were gathered on the hill behind awaiting a scheduled run up the Curve by former-RDG 4-8-4 #2102. 

CR 6112 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (1)

CR SD45 6112 and SD40 6262 give braking assistance down the hill at Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6112 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (2)

CR SD45 6112 and SD40 6262 help with braking down the hill at Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6114 Gallitzin, PA 8-4-1979 (2)

Former PC SD45's 6177 and 6114 push hard on CR N12-class caboose 24531 at Gallitzin in August, 1979.

CR 6114 Gallitzin, PA 8-4-1979 (2)

Former PC SD45's 6177 and 6114 push hard on CR N12-class caboose 24531 at Gallitzin in August, 1979.

CR 6116 Altoona, PA 7-24-1978

Former PC SD-45 6116 and CR SD-40-2 6365 on pusher duty at Altoona in July, 1978.

CR 6120 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

CR SD40 6252 and SD45 6120 help with braking as PC N-5C 23329's train heads down the Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6120 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (1)

CR SD45 6120 and SD40 6252 push hard on ex-PC N10 class cabin 24041 at Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6120 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (2)

CR SD45 6120 and SD40 6252 push hard on ex-PC N10 class cabin 24041 at Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6120 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (3)

CR SD45 6120 and SD40 6252 push hard up Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6120 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (4)

CR SD45 6120 and SD40 6252 push hard on ex-PC N10 class cabin 24041 at Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6120 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (5)

CR SD45 6120 and SD40 6252 push hard up Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6120, Horseshoe Curve 1990

C40-8 6120 leads a westbound around Horseshoe Curve in 1990.

CR 6125 and CR 6321 near MG Tower PA 1981

CR 6125 (ex-PC 6125, nee-PRR 6125) is seen leading CR 6321 (ex-PC 6068, nee-PRR 6068) are on the point of an eastbound mixed freight near MG tower in 1981.

CR 6125 at MG Tower, 4/77

A WB TV Train grinds upgrade at MG Tower, PA on 4/29/77 w/ former PC SD45 No. 6125 and a former EL SDP45. The first few years after Conrail's birth on 4/1/76 weren't pretty. Back then, I would have never guessed that Conrail would turn out to be the success it was.

CR 6128 at Cresson, PA

Conrail C40-8W 6128 is trailing on a westbound freight at Cresson, PA in 1991.

CR 6129 and 6144 head back downgrade at Bennington, PA. 10/79.

Its push done, a Conrail light helper drops downgrade at Bennington, PA on 10/15/79. For me, a pair of SD45s on a helper was always a treat.

CR 6129 Cresson, PA 8-4-1979

A powerful pair of SD-45's line up for helper duty at Cresson on an overcast day in August, 1979. This EMD 20-cylinder duo included CR blue 6129 and 6144, both ex-PC units.

CR 6130 and CR 6383 at Cresson, PA

Conrail C40-8W 6130 barrels west through Cresson with a mixed freight while SD40-2s 6383 and 6370 idle between helper assignments in 1991.

CR 6133 Cresson, PA 8-4-1979

A pair of SD-45 helpers waits for a call to head up Horseshoe on an overcast August day in 1979. This set of CR blue 20-cylinder power included 6133 and 6192, both ex-PC.

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