December 6, 1989 |
This is a landmark without a mark. To find it, ask for directions from the man at the gas station in Gallitzin, a few miles west of Altoona. Right at the custard stand. Left at the Haunted House Saloon. From there, you plunge into a ravine, creep through a narrow stone tunnel and, suddenly, emerge into the embrace of one of the great engineering feats of the industrial age. Horseshoe Curve was the Pennsylvania Railroad's ingenious solution to the Allegheny mountain range, a barrier that had inhibited the growth of the railroad and of the country.
October 7, 2012 |
ALTOONA, Pa. - The sound starts as a low moan from somewhere around the mountain. "Train's coming," says Joanne Brown. She and her husband, Sam, are "escaped Californians" with a home in South Dakota. As retirees, they have been traveling the United States in an RV for 16 months. And now, in early fall, they have come to Horseshoe Curve - "World Famous Horseshoe Curve," as the old postcards always said. On any day in good weather, you'll find travelers from seemingly everywhere standing by the fence here to watch the freights coming down the line, from Chicago in the west and Philadelphia in the east.
October 4, 1992 |
Horseshoe Curve is a pretty remarkable place, probably the most remarkable spot on any American railroad. Not so much for the dozens of freight and passenger trains that pound their way toward the summit of the Alleghenies every day. They're impressive, but let's face it, trains do pretty much the same thing on mountain railroads across the country. The most remarkable thing about the Curve is that good old-fashioned train watching - the kind of thing that most people find peculiar in hard-core rail buffs - has been made a mass entertainment here.
December 9, 1990 |
One of the delights of the holiday season is the chance to get the train set out of the attic, lay out the tracks and turn the living room into a train station. But if your mother threw out your train set years ago, or if there isn't enough room at your house for rolling stock bearing the names of Pennsylvania, Reading, Santa Fe, Erie, Burlington Northern or Union Pacific, the Burlington County Model Railroad Club has the solution. Members will let you pretend you're a railroad mogul by letting you play with their trains.
October 20, 2008 |
1. Up, up and away: Three helium balloons might have knocked out the power for a couple hours at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but the 5-1 Bills didn't need a clock to tell them that it's obviously time for a change at the top of the AFC East. Buffalo seems like a lock to win the division; the only problem is they could clinch as early as Week 14 when their home game - sacrebleu - is in Canada. 2. Horseshoe curve: The Colts have a big problem. They're 3-3, their worst start since 2001, and sporadic on both sides of the ball.
April 20, 1995 |
The only people who can complain about the passage of the Broadway Limited are those of us who ride it. Sure it's sad to see her go. But Amtrak needs the money, and by the end of the year, it will be history. The Broadway, that reliable high-baller that runs each night between New York and Chicago, by way of Philadelphia, is better off as a memory than as a littered and late lady. The Broadway is not as well-known as the Chattanooga Choo-choo, for example, which has not choo-chooed in generations.
November 20, 2009 |
Black Friday is for bidders, too. A number of post-Thanksgiving sales catering to holiday shoppers are in the works, notably in the Pennsylvania suburbs. In Hatfield, the Alderfer Auction Co. will conduct an uncataloged sale beginning at 9 a.m. next Friday that will feature hundreds of collectibles including Byers' Choice figures, Longaberger baskets, coin-operated slot machines, and sports cards and collectibles, as well as antiques and tribal art, notably a Zulu witch doctor/medicine man bag and Masai beaded belts.
July 18, 2003 |
In a news story about the Bush administration's plans to break up Amtrak, a conservative analyst said the service's long-distance train routes had "no social value. " Obviously, he never rode the Empire Builder. I moved to Montana from South Jersey in 1979, and each year I would make the trek back to visit my parents in Haddonfield. I lived in a two-bedroom rancher nestled in the Rocky Mountains with a view of Gray Wolf Peak from my picture windows, although my parents envisioned me in a one-room cabin, sans electricity and running water.
December 6, 1989 |
On the Rancocas Valley Rail Line, the famed Horseshoe Curve near Altoona lies just a few feet away from the Wild West where the train whistle blows as the dancing girls kick up their heels in the saloon and Billy the Kid gets ready to shoot it out once again. This line - more than 1,000 feet of it with up to 400 cars running along the tracks - is limited only by the imaginations of the men who run it. Here all the trains run on time. And when derailments do occur, there's no need to call any ambulances, notify legions of bureaucrats, file reports in triplicate or head off lawsuits.
December 1, 2014 |
Hitler's secret plot to blow up trains, factories, and bridges in the Northeast was dubbed Operation Pastorius, after the founder of Germantown. The local reference was appropriate. When the two four-man teams of Nazi saboteurs traveled by submarine to America in 1942, they carried the name of their U.S. contact written on a handkerchief - a man quite familiar with Philadelphia. "Pas. Krepper," as he was called, was to provide money and lodging while they prepared to attack sites including a cryolite metals plant in Philadelphia, the Horseshoe Curve railroad pass near Altoona, and Pennsylvania Station in Newark, N.J. "Pas" stood for pastor.