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Top photos from December 30th, 2006

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December 30th, 2006

We headed for Horseshoe Curve to start the day catching two there, moved to Cresson for the Amtrak and a few trains, and migrated toward South Fork in hopes of finding the SD80MACs. We didn't immediately, but did meet an SD80 nut named Dan who we chased while he chased a coal train the short hop up to Summerville, and then headed up to Creslo Station to shoot coal train C90 coming from the mines -- with 5 SD80MACs for power (3 at the head end, 2 pushing). After spending an unholy amount of time chasing and watching the SD80s, we returned to Altoona to see the museum, which closed the week before for the season, and then spent some time exploring the area around the museum and Amtrak station.

Horseshoe Curve, Pennsylvania

(map) Horseshoe Curve, just oustide of Altoona, is the site of a Pennsylvanian State Park and purpose-built railfan observation platform, complete with its own cable-drawn tram to get up to it. The tracks change in elevation by 122 feet as they go around the observation deck.

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Horseshoe_Curve_30.12.06_8506.mpg
A helper heads down by horseshoe curve as an intermodal train struggles upward.

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Cresson, Pennsylvania

(map) Cresson is the summit of the hill for which Horseshoe Curve exists. There is an engine facility where several sets of helper units park, the SD80MACs that work in nearby South Fork spend their weekends there, and NS interchanges with R. J. Corman on the wye. There is even a city-owned railfan observation platform at the tracks across from the wye.

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Cresson_30.12.06_8527.mpg
Amtrak heads under the highway 53 overpass just outside of Cresson.

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Cresson_30.12.06_8541.mpg
Two SD40-2s help slow two C40-9Ws and their trash train down on the hill.

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Cresson_30.12.06_8559.mpg
An SD70M-2, a C40-9W, an SD40-2, a P42dc, lots of manifest freight, and two more SD40-2s approach the summit.

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Cresson_30.12.06_8595.mpg
Two SD70M-2s climb the grade with an intermodal train.

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Cresson_30.12.06_8609.mpg
Helper units head back down the hill.

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Cassandra, Pennsylvania

(map) Between Cresson and South Fork, Cassandra is a small town with a disused road bridge over the tracks that is now explicitly a railfan platform, complete with a "Welcome, Railfans!" sign at the end.

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Cassandra_30.12.06_8615.mpg
An NS intermodal train with two units passes under the railfan bridge at Cassandra on its way up the hill.

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Cassandra_30.12.06_8622.mpg
Another two unit NS intermodal train passes under the bridge at Cassandra heading east.

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South Fork, Pennsylvania

(map) Home of the SD80MACs, this junction on the NS serves as the service line for coal mines in the area, which are serviced by NS' few SD80MACs. It is about thirteen miles west of Cresson.

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Summerhill, Pennsylvania

(map) Summerhill is a small town between South Fork and Cresson on the route 53 railfan point list.

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Summerhill_30.12.06_8635.mpg
Three SD40-2s pull and four SD40-2s push this all-star coal train under the overpass at Summerhill minutes after leaving its point of origin at South Fork.

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Creslo Station, Pennsylvania

(map) Just south of South Fork, Creslo Station is a point on an NS coal spur serviced by NS' few SD80MACs.

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Creslo_Station_30.12.06_8661.mpg
NS #C90 comes down a major coal mine spur toward South Fork with 3 SD80MACs on one end and 2 SD80MACs on the other.

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South Fork, Pennsylvania

(map) Home of the SD80MACs, this junction on the NS serves as the service line for coal mines in the area, which are serviced by NS' few SD80MACs. It is about thirteen miles west of Cresson.

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South_Fork_30.12.06_8709.mpg
NS #C90 with three SD80MACs pull and two push out of the coal mines near South Fork.

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South_Fork_30.12.06_8768.mpg
Two dash 9s pull and two SD40-2s push an ethanol unit train up through South Fork.

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South_Fork_30.12.06_8788.mpg
Another helper set heads back down the hill.

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South_Fork_30.12.06_8794.mpg
A three unit intermodal train climbs through South Fork unassisted.

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South_Fork_30.12.06_8820.mpg
A coal train heads up the hill by South Fork with two units on the head end and two helper sets pushing.

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South_Fork_30.12.06_8838.mpg
An NS eastbound autorack train climbs through South Fork with an SD70M-2 on point.

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South_Fork_30.12.06_8849.mpg
An westbound mail train heads down the hill through South Fork.

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South_Fork_30.12.06_8859.mpg
NS #C90's head end power heads down track one to get into South Fork yard.

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South_Fork_30.12.06_8873.mpg
NS #C90 pulls into South Fork yard.

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Altoona, Pennsylvania

(map) Railfan City. Altoona's sports stadium is in the shape of a roundhouse, railfans are welcome, and trains are everywhere. Just a few miles away is Horseshoe Curve, Cresson, the Gallitzin tunnel, the SD80MACs at South Fork, and other sites making the region a virtual Mecca for railfans in this corner of the US.

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Altoona_30.12.06_8897.mpg
An NS eastbound rack train passes the Altoona railway museum covered overpass as a westbound intermodal train heads for the hills.

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Altoona_30.12.06_8913.mpg
An NS coal train pulls into Altoona having completed the obstacle course through Horseshoe Curve.

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video
Altoona_30.12.06_8949.mpg
A helper set pushes an intermodal train west into the mountains.

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December 30th, 2006

We headed for Horseshoe Curve to start the day catching two there, moved to Cresson for the Amtrak and a few trains, and migrated toward South Fork in hopes of finding the SD80MACs. We didn't immediately, but did meet an SD80 nut named Dan who we chased while he chased a coal train the short hop up to Summerville, and then headed up to Creslo Station to shoot coal train C90 coming from the mines -- with 5 SD80MACs for power (3 at the head end, 2 pushing). After spending an unholy amount of time chasing and watching the SD80s, we returned to Altoona to see the museum, which closed the week before for the season, and then spent some time exploring the area around the museum and Amtrak station.

December 30th, 2006

We headed for Horseshoe Curve to start the day catching two there, moved to Cresson for the Amtrak and a few trains, and migrated toward South Fork in hopes of finding the SD80MACs. We didn't immediately, but did meet an SD80 nut named Dan who we chased while he chased a coal train the short hop up to Summerville, and then headed up to Creslo Station to shoot coal train C90 coming from the mines -- with 5 SD80MACs for power (3 at the head end, 2 pushing). After spending an unholy amount of time chasing and watching the SD80s, we returned to Altoona to see the museum, which closed the week before for the season, and then spent some time exploring the area around the museum and Amtrak station.

December 30th, 2006

We headed for Horseshoe Curve to start the day catching two there, moved to Cresson for the Amtrak and a few trains, and migrated toward South Fork in hopes of finding the SD80MACs. We didn't immediately, but did meet an SD80 nut named Dan who we chased while he chased a coal train the short hop up to Summerville, and then headed up to Creslo Station to shoot coal train C90 coming from the mines -- with 5 SD80MACs for power (3 at the head end, 2 pushing). After spending an unholy amount of time chasing and watching the SD80s, we returned to Altoona to see the museum, which closed the week before for the season, and then spent some time exploring the area around the museum and Amtrak station.