East Slope, West Slope and Horseshoe Curve Operations - Page 9

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 6366 at Gallitzin, PA in 1993

Conrail SD40-2 6366 is seen shoving on the rear of a westbound freight at Gallitzin, PA in 1993.

CR 6366 at Gallitzin, PA in 1993

Conrail SD40-2 6366 is seen making a trip onto the helper loop at CP-UN in Gallitzin, PA in 1993, so she can head back down the mountain to Altoona and help another westbound tackle the Alleghenies.

CR 6366 at the Brickyard in Altoona, 12/88

Conrail SD40-2 6366 and SD40 6354 lead some hoppers back to the mines at the Brickyard Crossing in Altoona.

CR 6368 at Cresson, PA in 1998

Conrail SD40-2 6368 is seen shoving on the rear of an eastbound coal train from the porch of the Station Inn in Cresson, PA in 1998.

CR 6369 Altoona, PA 7-25-1978

CR SD40-2 6369 and SD45-2 6658, ex-EL 3673, push hard up the Curve in July, 1978.

CR 6370 & 6372 at Altoona, PA 6/7/97

CR 6370 & 6372 are seen shoving a WB past Alto Tower in Altoona, PA on 6/7/97.

CR 6370 9-25-94 Cresson, PA

CR SD40-2 6370 at Cresson, PA on September 25th, 1994. Photo by Terry Nardella, collection of Steve Ondik.

CR 6370 at Cresson, PA

Conrail SD40-2 6370 is seen at Cresson, PA in 1991.

CR 6370 at Cresson, PA

Conrail SD40-2 6370 is seen at Cresson, PA in 1991.

CR 6370 at Summerhill, PA in 1993

Conrail SD40-2 6370 is seen leading a westbound freight through Summerhill, PA in 1993.

CR 6370 on the west slope

Conrail SD40-2 is seen heading light westbound between South Fork and Mineral Point, PA in 1991.

CR 6372 and 6394 Altoona, PA 1981

CR 6372 and CR 6394 are seen passing the venerable ALTO tower at Altoona, PA. A common sight in 1981, but now only on rare occasions can one re-create this shot.

CR 6372 and 6394 Altoona, PA 1981

Conrail SD40-2s 6372 and CR 6394 are seen drifting downgrade with a sister SD40-2 just west of Horseshoe Curve in 1981.

CR 6372 and 6394 Altoona, PA 1981

CR 6372 and CR 6394 are seen at CP-Works in Altoona, PA in 1981. In the background is the Union Tank Car facility that occupies the former PRR passenger car shops.

CR 6372 at Altoona, PA

Nothing but a sea of blue and white as far as the eye can see.

CR 6372 at Cresson, PA

Conrail SD40-2 6372 sits on the lead to the Cresson engine house while 6361 charges eastward on track 1 in 1991.

CR 6372 at Cresson, PA

Conrail SD40-2 6372 is seen sitting on the lead to the Cresson engine house in 1991, shot from the old Cresson Secondary flyover.

CR 6373 at Horseshoe Curve in August 1995

Conrail SD40-2 6373 is seen providing some extra braking on an eastbound TV train at Horseshoe Curve on 8/6/1995

CR 6373 drops downgrade east of Cresson, PA on 10/2/82.

A westbound Conrail manifest drops downgrade east of Cresson, PA on 10/2/82.

CR 6374 at Horseshoe Curve in August 1995

Conrail SD40-2 6374 is seen slowing an eastbound freight as it rounds Horseshoe Curve on 8/6/1995

CR 6374 at the Brickyard, Altoona, PA in 1993

Conrail SD40-2 6374 is seen trailing on a westbound 4-banger of helpers as it passes the Brickyard crossing in Altoona, PA in 1993.

CR 6374-6364 pushing on rear of freight at Altoona, PA

CR 6374 and 6364 pushing on rear of a eastbound freight at Altoona, PA on June 24, 1998

CR 6375 and 6413 at Altoona, PA

A pair of helper sets, one led by the 6375 and the other by the 6413, pass each other at Altoona, PA on June 24, 1998. Ten years later(2008) I would get to witness that CR crane parked off to the right in operation at the CRHS convention. That heavy duty flatcar parked next to the crane is now on display inside the Altoona Railroaders Museum.

CR 6375 at Jamestown, PA in 1998

Conrail SD40-2 6375 is seen slowing the rear of a westbound freight as it passes through Jamestown, PA in 1998.

CR 6375 Cresson, PA 5/28/1978

A fairly new SD-40-2 rests between helper assignments.

CR 6375 Gallitzin, PA 5/28/1978

A helper set shoves against a Westbound van train at Benny Curve.

CR 6375 leads a manifest downgrade east of Bennington Curve, 8/79

Back in the late 1970's and early 1980's, one could drive the access road east along the right of way from Bennington, almost to MG Tower. There is some pretty neat territory in those few miles. An EB Conrail manifest drops downgrade east of Bennington, PA on 8/26/79 with two SD40-2s.

CR 6375 west at Horseshoe Curve

Helper units 6375, 6382, and 6366 leads a pair of GE's on a westbound freight around the legendary Horseshoe Curve on June 24, 1998.

CR 6376 at the Brickyard in Altoona, 1993

Conrail SD40-2 6376 is seen trailing on a westbound helper set at the Brickyard crossing in Altoona, PA in 1993. To see a blue helper set passing a string of Conrail big-boxes in this day would be incredible...

CR 6376 Horseshoe Curve, PA 5/28/1978

A pair of newer SD-40-2s bracket a couple of older PC units.

CR 6377 Horseshoe Curve, PA 5/28/1978

A Westbound heels into the curve. This angle shows the superelevation that was present at the time.

CR 6378 Altoona, PA 3-13-1981 (1)

CR SD-40-2 6378 leads GP-38 7910 and SD-45 6177 up track 2 past a mixed freight led by SD-40 6313 at Horseshoe Curve in March, 1981.

CR 6378 Altoona, PA 3-13-1981 (2)

CR SD-40-2 6378 (1977-built) leads GP-38 7910 and SD-45 6177 racing piggybacks up Horseshoe Curve in March, 1981.

CR 6378 Altoona, PA 3-27-1978

CR SD40-2's 6378 and 6419 brake round the Curve as they head to Altoona in March, 1978.

CR 6378 at Cresson, PA 8-1995

Rear end helpers(6378, 6374) hold back an eastbound coal train coming off the Cresson Secondary and passing former MO Tower in August 1995. Doug Davidson photo with permission

CR 6378 at Cresson, PA in 1998

Conrail SD40-2 6378 is seen on the rear of a coal train heading up the Cresson Secondary at Cresson, PA in 1998.

CR 6378 at Horseshoe Curve

Conrail SD40-2 6378 is trailing on a westbound TV train at Horseshoe Curve in 1983.

CR 6378 at Horseshoe Curve in August 1995

Conrail SD40-2 6378 is providing some extra braking power on the rear of an eastbound freight, with Conrail class H1C triple hopper 490220 bringing up the rear of the train. 8/6/1995

CR 6378 pushes BAPI4X at Logan Twp. (Horseshoe Curve), PA 10/15/94

6369 and 6378 push an extra BAPI, BAPI4X, around Horseshoe Curve on a sunny October day.

 MP242 CR Pittsburgh Line
 

CR 6379-6381 at Altoona, PA

CR 6379 and 6381 head toward ALTO tower to await their next helper assignment at Altoona, PA on June 24, 1998

CR 6382 at CP-Slope in 1984

After picking up a pair of helpers in downtown Altoona, a westbound freight is helped up the start of the grade by SD40-2 6382 in 1984.

CR 6382 at Cresson, PA in 1993

Conrail SD40-2 6382 is seen leading a westbound freight at Cresson, PA in 1993.

CR 6382 shoving BAL-142 at Altoona, PA 9/3/95

CR 6382 & 6359 shove BAL-142 west around Horseshoe Curve on 9/3/95.

CR 6383 Leads an ML Train East Out of Cresson PA, 10/86

Back in 1986 Conrail's ML trains still had open top autorack cars on them. Here an SD40-2 and SD40 lead a train of racks under the Rte 53 Overpass in Cresson PA.

CR 6384 shoving UMP-91 at Cresson, PA 6/15/96

A four pack of SD40-2's, that consist of CR 6384, 6366, 6380 & 6397, are seen shoving UMP-91 east at Cresson, PA on 6/15/96.

CR 6386 at Cassandra, Pa. 8/20/95

CR 6386 & 6366 assist Eastbound Conrail PIBA at Cassandra Pa. ( long before this place was the railfan Mecca that it is today).

CR 6386-6369 at Cresson, PA

CR helper engines 6386 and 6369 are pushing on the rear of a eastbound PPLX coal train at Cresson, PA on June 25, 1998.

CR 6388 at Gallitzin, PA

Conrail SD40-2 6388 is seen trailing on an eastbound helper move as it's about to dive into the Allegheny Tunnel at Gallitzin, PA in 1992.

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