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
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!
|NS #9648 pulls heavy freight over the summit now on a downhill
|Two trains meet at Cresson!
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).
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