East Slope, West Slope and Horseshoe Curve Operations - Page 7

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 6219 west at Horseshoe Curve

CR 6219 and 6861 leads a westbound freight around Horseshoe Curve on June 24, 1998

CR 6225 Altoona, PA 8-7-1977

CR SD-45 6225 shows PRR roots with two Keystones as part of a quartet of SD's pulling piggybacks through Altoona in August, 1977.

CR 6225 Gallitzin, PA 5/28/1978

A BAR GP-38 is mixed in the consist of this Eastbound passing the blowers as it exits the East Portal of the Southern most tunnel (the slide). BAR power was very common on early CR, as they leased power from several sources.

CR 6225, Altoona, PA 8-7-1977

CR SD-45 6225 shows PRR roots with two Keystones as part of a quartet of SD's pulling piggybacks through Altoona in August, 1977.

CR 6230 Altoona, PA 1981

Conrail SD45 6230 (ex-PC 6230, nee-PRR 6230) is helping to control a westbound train under the signal bridge at Kitanning Point, just east of Horseshoe Curve in 1981. The SD45s are gone, and soon the signal bridge will fall, to be replaced by sterile, soul-less modern models.

CR 6230 Gallitzin, PA 1981

Conrail SD45 6230 is running light westbound through Gallitzin, PA in 1981.

CR 6230 MG Tower PA 1981

Conrail SD45 6230 is shoving on the rear of a westbound ballast train passing MG Tower in 1981.

CR 6234 Cresson, PA 1-1-1986

Conrail SD45 6234 is seen coming over the Cresson Secondary bridge over the Pittsburgh Line at Cresson, PA in 1986.

CR 6242 Altoona, PA 8-7-1977

Former PC SD-40 6242, sandwiched in a quartet of SD units, pulls through Altoona with a load of piggybacks in August, 1977.

CR 6243 at Horseshoe Curve

Conrail SD40 6243 (ex-PC 6243) is seen leading a westbound train at Horseshoe Curve in 1983.

CR 6243 Cresson, PA 5/28/1978

An Eastbound roars thru Cresson, with what looks like the helpers on the front end.

CR 6251 at Bennington Curve.jpg

Conrail SD40 6251 is seen trailing on a westbound empty Pennsylvania Power and Light coal train at Bennington Curve in 1986.

CR 6252 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

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

CR 6252 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

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

CR 6252 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

CR SD-45 6112 and SD-40 6262 give braking assistance down the hill at Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6252 Altoona, PA 7/4/1978

Westbound empty hoppers head up the grade at SLOPE.

CR 6256 Altoona, PA 3-27-1978 (3)

You can feel the ground shake as CR SD40 6256 and an SD45 pound up Horseshoe in March, 1978.

CR 6256 Altoona, PA 8-7-1977

Former PC SD-40 6256 at the tail end of a quartet of CR units rushing piggybacks through Altoona in August, 1977.

CR 6256 Altoona, PA 8-7-1977

Former PC SD-40 6256 at the tail end of a quartet of CR units rushing piggybacks through Altoona in August, 1977.

CR 6256, Altoona, PA 8-7-1977

Former PC SD-40 6256 pulls hard at the tail end of a quartet of SD's pulling piggybacks toward the Curve in August, 1977.

CR 6258 Horseshoe Curve 5-28-1978

6258 leads an Eastbound into the West leg of Horseshoe Curve.

CR 6261 and CR 6465 at South Fork in 1984

Conrail SD40 6261 and SD40-2 6465 are shoving an eastbound freight through South Fork in 1984. The P&LE gons ahead of the cabin car are a cool touch to this shot, as that road was only a few years away from its own bankruptcy.

CR 6261 on the Pittsburgh Line in 1984

Conrail SD40 6261 (ex-PC 6261) is seen heading west on the Pittsburgh Line between Mineral Point and South Fork in 1984.

CR 6262 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 6262 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (2)

PC 890568 3-bay hopper class H56A feels the pressure as CR SD45 6112 and SD40 6262 give braking assistance down the hill at Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.

CR 6262 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977 (3)

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

CR 6263 Altoona, PA 5-22-1977

CR SD40 6263, in a mix of locomotives, rolls down the hill at Horseshoe Curve on May 22, 1977.  

All the railfans are waiting for RDG 4-8-4 #2102 and Cuyahoga Valley Lines 2-8-2 #4070 to make a run through later that day.

CR 6265 Gallitzin, PA 5/28/1978

4 units lug a Westbound van train under the signal bridge that is East of the tunnels, (Benny Curve area).

CR 6268 and CR 6523 Altoona, PA 1981

Conrail SD40 6268 and SD40-2 6523 are leading an eastbound mixed freight at CP-Works in Altoona, PA in 1981.

CR 6272 Horseshoe Curve, PA 5/28/1978

4 black units descend the mountain, starting into the West leg of the curve.

CR 6279 Altoona, PA 1981

SD40 6279 is seen shoving hard on the rear of a westbound hopper train at Bennington Curve back in 1981.

CR 6279 at Bennington Curve

Conrail SD40 6279 & SD40-2 6513 are seen shoving a WB coal train at Bennington Curve in 1986.

CR 6280 and 6314 grind upgrade with a westbound ballast train at MG Tower, 9/84

A westbound Conrail ballast extra grinds upgrade at MG Tower, PA on Sept. 8, 1984 with SD40s No's. 6280 and 6314.

CR 6280 Horseshoe Curve, PA 7/2/1978

Helpers shove a Westbound up the mountain in gloomy weather.

CR 6281 pushing at the Brickyard

CR 884412 and SD40 6281 are seen at the Brickyard in Altoona, PA

CR 6285 and 6658 Altoona, PA 1982

Conrail SD40 6285 (ex-CNJ 3061) is trailing SD45-2 6658 (ex-EL 3673) on an eastbound helper set at Horseshoe Curve in 1982.

CR 6285 at Horseshoe Curve

Conrail SD40 6285 is trailing on a westbound auto parts train as it approaches Horseshoe Curve in 1986.

CR 6286 at Horseshoe Curve

Conrail SD40 6286 is seen shoving on the rear of a westbound freight from the park at Horseshoe Curve in 1986.

CR 6287 at Bennington Curve

Conrail SD40 6287 is seen shoving a westbound empty PPLX coal train around Bennington Curve in 1986.

CR 6287 HorseShoe Curve 10/81

It takes a lot of horsepower to lift a train up or help a train down over HorseShoe.. Three SD40's lend thier dynamic brakes to keep an eastbound coal train in check.

CR 6288 and CR 491159 at Bennington Curve

Conrail triple hopper 491159 is seen trailing behind SD40 6288 (ex-CNJ 3064) on an eastbound coal drag at Bennington Curve in 1983.

CR 6288 Leads ALPI Around Bennington Curve, 1/86

The United Way SD40 (although the special paint isn't visible in this shot) lead the ALPI from Allentown to Pittsburgh around Bennington Curve.

CR 6288 pusher Horseshoe 09271984

Conrail changed the power used for helpers over Horseshoe over the years. At the time I shot this, SD 40 types were common. Later, I'd see ex EL SD45-2's, which were always a treat. Aside from the SD 40's, we also have a caboose in the mix, as well as some colorful freight cars being pushed over the mountain.

CR 6290 at Bennington Curve.jpg

Conrail SD40 6290 is seen shoving on the rear of a westbound empty coal train at Bennington Curve in 1986.

CR 6290 at Cresson, PA

Conrail SD40 6290 is seen crossing over at MO interlocking in Cresson, PA in 1986.

CR 6290 helps slow an eastbound coal train at Horseshoe Curve, 10/86

An SD40 helper lends its dynamic brakes to the effort to slow a descending coal train around horseshoe curve. Check out the great mix of hoppers in there, two EL styles and a PC car.

CR 6291

A pair of SD40 locomotives, one looks like it is 6291, smoke it up as they push on the tail of a westbound freight around Horseshoe Curve in 1990

CR 6291 at Horseshoe Curve

Conrail SD40 6291 is seen shoving an empty westbound coal train around Horseshoe Curve in 1986.

CR 6291-van Horseshoe 09271984

A closer look at a helper set seen earlier in a wider angle view, we see CR 6291/6288, along with ex New Haven caboose 23808, all rolling slowly west over the Alleghenies.

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