Finally, I Got To See The World Famous Horseshoe Curve.

Finally, I Got To See The World Famous Horseshoe Curve.

Horseshoe curve (18 of 36)
Previous Post
Next Post

I first read about the Horseshoe Curve, located   near  Altoona, Blair County, Pennsylvania, in  one of  those factoid  features in a newspaper when I was in grade school. I was curious about it then, and pretty much everything else , and told myself I would visit it someday. Well a half century later I finally did. 

I was traveling to Pittsburgh to attend my niece Cassidy’s graduation from Duquesne Law School.  While  looking for somewhere to stop along the way I came across an article about the World Famous Horseshoe Curve and decided to visit  on my drive to Pittsburgh.  The visitors center  is  located in Logan Township a few mile off of I99.

Upon arriving at the visitor center I soon learned that  in order to cross the Allegheny Mountains by train, this 2300 foot railroad curve was completed in 1854. It was a remarkable feat of engineering in it’s day. And still is. I walked up 194 stairs to the train viewing area (the funicular was closed due to Covid-19 concerns, but I would have walked up the stairs anyway.)

The view of the curve and the valley below was spectacular. 

A train was just leaving the curve in a northerly direction as I arrived. 

I read some of the informative placards describing the history and construction of the curve. And some of the locomotives that pulled the trains in the last 170 years. 

The views of the mountains in the distance and reservoirs below were breathtaking. 

I was hoping to see another train so I roamed the grounds on the hill top for a while taking in the view of the mountains and reservoirs below. 

However I had  dinner reservations in Pittsburgh for 5 p.m. so I had to leave and walked down  the stairs. 

Along the way I noticed some wildflowers, like the fleabane 

and   ornamental  flowers like this wayfarer tree in bloom in the woods along the path and some well maintained gardens along  the stairs  . 

As soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs I heard another train. I immediately ran up the 194 stairs, my legs are still sore, three days later, and watched a very long train pass along the Horseshoe Curve. This was the engine pulling the train,

and this a view of the lengthy  train on the southern part of the curve.

These were the cars still passing the northern part of the curves. It was a very long train.

These were engines  pushing the numerous railroad cars forward. I believe over 50 trains a day pass over the three sets of track on the curve. 

I once again walked down the stairs and made a quick visit to the museum. There was all kind of exhibits and information but I didn’t have much time to see it all.

I left the museum and visited the Creek that flowed out the the mountains and through a tunnel under the curve. 

On the way I saw some more of nature  on the grounds of the visitors center , this indigo bunting and,

this yellow warbler. 

I wished I had more time to explore the exhibits, and learn more about this  historic site and it’s influence on our Nation’s industrial development. But I had a dinner engagement in Pittsburgh and I hadn’t even had breakfast yet. Here is a link to some more photographs from my visit.  World Famous Horseshoe Curve. May 15 2021. 

“The introduction of so powerful an agent as steam to a carriage on wheels will make a great change in the situation of man.” — Thomas Jefferson, 1802

This is my first post