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Ohio and Pennsylvania Railfan Locations

Altoona Area Railfan Locations

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Altoona Amtrak Station

The Amtrak station in downtown Altoona is also a favorite spot for railfans, My family and I usually visit during the evenings after a long day of locations west of town. We’ve also visited at night and early morning. Railfans can enjoy a public pedestrian bridge across the Mainline and Station tracks. The location provides great sightlines along a long strait portion of the line. To the North the line curves to slightly and enters Altoona Yard. Location Rating 7.5

 



Sandpatch

Recently I went to sandpatch in south west PA. I am sure you know about Horseshoe Curve and the Altoona to Johnstown Norfolk Southern Line, Sandpatch is the CSXT equivalent. The line climbs into some rugged and remote areas of Southwest PA, it is great for the adventurer types. The easiest spots to visit for new railfans are Cumberland MD, Hydmen and Fairhope in PA. *If you plan on reaching the the CSXT summit if the Alleganies YOU MUST get food, water, and gas before leaving Cumberland.

We set up base camp for the weekend in Cumberland in the Holliday Inn, (rooms are available with trackside views) On the first leg of the trip we traveled North out of Cumberland to the small town of Hyndman PA. Go N out of Cumberland on MD Rt 36, turn right on Rt 35 which turns into PA Rt 96. Hyndman is a great location with great sightlines. After getting to the tracks in town (not hard to find in a town of about 500) looking south one can see the helper sidings and a long straightaway looking North the line curves through a trestle bridge providing unique photo shots to frame trains. The line curves NW and begins the steep climb to Sandpatch. Hyndman Location Rating: 10!

To reach Fairhope, take Rt 3004 Northwest out of town, its Goosberry Road in Hyndman (turns into Fairhope road) the road follows the railroad up a steep grade to Fairhope, a very small town. On the Northside of the town Fairhope road crosses the tracks on a horseshoe curve along the creek, this is a great photo location with parking along the road and is also a popular fishing spot. Location Rating 8!

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NS #9648 pulls heavy freight over the summit now on a downhill

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Two trains meet at Cresson!

Cresson Pa is located off US 22 between Ebensburg and Altoona. Take the exit to Cresson and travel to the tracks. Turn on the road on the south side of the tracks, right at the bridge under them. Drive east about 3/4 of a mile and you will see a deck and a caboose. Park and walk up on the deck. The deck has a scanner all you do is push the button.(it doesn't have all the frequencies so I still bring my own to supplement it).

If my memory is right Cresson is at MP 152. The summit of the Alleganies is to the East and Cresson is along a downhill grade for westbounds. The platform is directly across from the helper maintenance area. Helpers are detached East of Cresson and will occasionally come into the pocket to be refueled. Helpers are also stored there and a variety of other engines from coal lines North off the area are usually parked on the sidings. Helpers are also dispatched West of Cresson to push heavy eastbounds up to the summit. Expect A train every 10-20 minutes can be expected.(sometimes even more) Location
Rating 8

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Helper set pushes heavy autoracks.

Cassandra Pa is located along Pa 53 between Altoona and Johnstown. The entrance to town is on a sharp curve so pay attention! Once in the tiny town go past the fire station and follow signs to the Railroad overlook. The viewing spot is a small bridge with a grassy park area on the otherside. Looking west one will see the tracks on a long strait-away through rock cuts. Looking east is a sharp curve with senic mountains in the background.(As seen in the pic. below). Location Rating: 9!

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