S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 2 keywords = " Horseshoe Muleshoe Curve Pennsylvania Pennsy Penn South PRR Altoona Juniata Gallitzin Allegheny Alleghany Allegrippus Tunnel Hill Cresson Sang Hollow Lilly Hollidaysburg Duncansville Glenwhite Kittaning Burgoon Sugar Run Blair Gap Bennington New Portage Main Line Public Works Utilities model rail train Z HO scale track Berlinerwerke "

Updated:   03 Nov 2011, 13:45:  ET
[Page created 12 Sep 1999;
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/hshucrv2.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/hshucrv2.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 2



Continuation Page 2

NOTE:  HTML originally limited my pages to 30kB!  Thus, I was forced to add separate pages to fit the lengthy stories of the prototype and HO (1:87.1) Berlinerwerke; both the Berlinerwerke-HO (HO-Scale - 1:87.1) and Berlinerwerke-Z (Z-Scale - 1:220) stories are now on their own separate pages.

[Note also that material about the prototype Horseshoe Curve and HO (1:87.1) and Z (1:220) scale versions are almost-inextricably mixed here and on the model RR pages and will eventually get sorted out - just don't hold your breath!]   added (03 Nov 2011)


    (Truncated - see main Horseshoe Curve Page)

[APOLOGIA - I can't possibly keep track of all the interconnected linking on the Horseshoe Curve and Berlinerwerke-HO pages so I'm just posting the latter and reposting the former without 100% link correlation at first; hopefully I'll catch up with the links "one of these days".]

On the main Horseshoe Curve Page:

On the main Horseshoe Curve page:

    Prototype Horseshoe Curve Story
    Berlinerwerke (HO) Saga

On the Continuation Page 1:
    Dimensions of the Horseshoe Curve - with HO (1:87.1) Scale Equivalents -
        a mile-by-mile and even foot-by-foot guide to the Curve. On this Continuation Page 2:     UPDATE of the BERLINERWERKE (HO) Saga.

On the Continuation Page 3:
Dimensions of the Horseshoe Curve in N (1:160) and Z (1:220) Scales.

On the Continuation Page 4:
    Satellite Photo of the Horseshoe Curve, with description of features.
    Muleshoe Curve (New Portage Secondary).

On the Berlinerwerke-HO Page:
    Berlinerwerke-HO Saga, et seq. (the story of the HO-scale Berlinerwerke pike.)

The Z-scale (1:220) Berlinerwerke-Z Saga is on a separate page.

For other PRR and RR material, see the main Pennsylvania Railroad Page, et seq., and Railroad Page, et seq.

On the other RR pages:

S. Berliner, III's Model Railroad Page, et seq.
S. Berliner, III's Z-Scale (1:220) Model Railroad Page, et seq.

The BERLINERWERKE (HO) Story, the story of the HO Berlinerwerke pike.
The full prototype story will appear shortly.
The Z-scale Berlinerwerke-Z Saga is on a separate page.

Visit these courtesy and official home pages:

Long Island Sunrise - Trail Chapter
(National Railway Historical Society)

Sunrise Trail Division
(Northeastern Region)
(National Model Railroad Association)

Ztrack Magazine
The Newsletter for Z Scale Model Railroading
Z-Scale is only 1:220 with rails only ¼" apart!
It is about 2½ times smaller than HO!

The Prototype HORSESHOE CURVE Story

(to follow)

To better understand the prototype Horseshoe Curve, I am inserting some material here also appears on the full prototype story:

The Horseshoe Curve was opened to traffic on 15 Feb 1854, as either a single-track or double-track line (the records are not clear, but it was definitely double-tracked by the end of 1854), widened to three tracks in 1898, and widened to four tracks in late 1899 through early 1900.  The Allegheny Crest is NOT at the Curve, which is uphill all the way (westbound) or v.v., but is located some three miles due west (five miles along the RoW) UNDER Tunnel Hill, where the original bore, the New Portage Tunnel, carries Track 1, the eastbound main.  A second bore, the Gallitzin Tunnel, still stands but is now abandoned; it carried Track 3 until 07 Sep 1965.  The third bore, the Allegheny Tunnel, was enlarged and deepened to handle stack trains (as was the New Portage Tunnel) and now carries both Tracks 2 and 3, the westbound main.  There is an abandoned RoW just east of the eastern portal of the New Portage Tunnel which used to carry the New Portage Line south to the also-abandoned Muleshoe Curve; this was the old 1850 New Portage Railroad which bypassed the inclined planes of the original 1834 Pennsylvania Main Line of Public Works and Utilities between Duncansville and the Muleshoe.  The Portage Line was abandoned in1857, reopened in 1904 to relieve pressure on the Horseshoe Curve route, and abandoned again in 1981 and taken up when U.S. Route 22 was relocated northward closer to the Main Line.

Here is a rough sketch (a schematic, ONLY; not to any scale) showing the tunnel arrangements ca. 1940:

PRR Schematic ca. 1940
(03 Nov 2011/05 Jul 2002 sketch by and © 2011/2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
  rev (03 Nov 2011)

Here is a "doctored" similar sketch showing how the Berlinerwerke will "fake" the area:

BW Schematic 'ca. 1940'
(04 Sep 2002 sketch by and © 2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

The major changes are double-tracking the New Portage Tunnel (that didn't happen until long after the 1940s but I want continuous running on all four tracks), flipping the New Portage Line from running SE at the tunnels to running NE (quite impossible but the elevations are reversed to suit my basement), and removing any fifth tracks and associated turnouts (hey, it's MY layout, not an exact duplication!).


(Adapted from an update of articles in the March 1974 (Vol. No. 42, page 3) and the September 1974 (Vol. No. 44, pages 5, 6, and 9) of the "Long Island CANNON BALL", the newsletter of the Sunrise Trail Division, Northeastern Region, National Model Railroad Association.  If the update, ca. 1988-1992, was ever published, I've lost track of such.  One problem here is that I only just now am able to HTTP upload graphics, so there are few accompanying illustrations yet.  When I can get around to it, I'll combine the old and current articles on the BW and give full coverage.)

You vill remember, kinder, von't you?  (Ve haf vays of dealing mit dunderheads vot can remember nicht.)  Dose of you vot veren't arount are excused; read on, bitte.

Great-grand-uncle Weiner Berliner (Vee'ner Bearlee'ner) reputedly (it said so in the NMRA/NER/SRTD Cannon Ball, so it must be true) "founded a small ironworks somewhere in Germany".  The story has it that it was moved to the good old U. S. and A., ending up at Mineola Junction.  Later the works (werke) moved to Glen Head (Glen Cove P. O.), up the Oyster Bay line.  Then a major facility was set up on the banks of the Little Conemaugh River (tributary of Johnstown flood infamy) in central Pennsylvania, just over the Allegheny crest from Altoona.  Heading east, the nearest town is Cresson, where helpers are serviced and turned, then come the towns of Gallitzin at the crest and Tunnelhill sitting directly over the Allegheny tunnels, next the great Horseshoe Curve itself (and the former Muleshoe Curve), and finally Altoona, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and New York.

Two previous articles {included herein but not yet integrated} discussed at great length the rationale of the Berlinerwerke and how the Horseshoe Curve was to be at one end of it, logically fitted into the whole shebang as part of trackage rights across the Pennsylvania RR of several highly unlikely railroads and, eventually, through the Pennsy tunnels under the Hudson and East Rivers, through Sunnyside Yard, and out east along Long Island to that staggering feat of engineering, the great railroad bridge across Long Island sound between Greenport and Rhode Island (and I'll bet most of you didn't even know it was there).

The BW's primary affiliate is a giant road, the Northfork and Western, from Boston, via Peekskill (Hudson River bridge), Port Jervis, Scranton, Williamsport, Lock Haven, and west to Pittsburgh, bypassing both Harrisburg and Altoona.  By running an alternate through Rhode Island and the Sound bridge, across LI to New York, and then along the Pennsy main line to Altoona, the Berlinerwerke's operating divisions have a viable alternate routing.  By connecting the two between the Horseshoe Curve and Williamsport (at Lock Haven) with another subsidiary, the Wopsononock Northern RR, an arduous crossing of the Alleghenies is avoided and the distance to Pittsburgh greatly shortened.  Another connector is the Paumanok and Conodoguinet RR (the Algonquian names for LI and a creek near my sister's home in Enola, of all places).

The BW plant includes a museum and restoration shop, so anything can and does run on the BW; thus there are no chronological restrictions.  There is also an excursion RR, the Lattingtown, Landing, and Locust Valley Light 'Lectric Line (Go to "L"), running battery tram cars la the Edison-Beach cars on the LIRR's West Hempstead (Tigertown) branch, and a heavy-duty moving group with super-gigantic engines (the legendary DDP-45, and FAR WORSE) and enormous well and drop-center flats and Schnable cars (up to an 880-ton monster with 38 axles, scaling out at exactly 1 meter in length in HO), the DD Diesel Delivery Dept. (Dependable Drayage).  There is never any shortage of weird, wonderful rolling stock.

Of course, along with the Northfork and Western and the LL&LVLLL, there's also the Skunk's Misery Excursion RR (that's actually the name of an auto road up here), the Norfork nor Wetson [the Burgher Line, part of Commodore Vanderbuilt's Patroon System (you've gotta be a true York stater to understand all this)], the totally insane Wrong Island RR, the one that runs the PRR Z-6s Arctic 4-2-2, and, as a nod to my Colorado-born brother-in-law, the D&RGW [Diaphragm and Rubber Goods Works (the Yampa Valley Male, Route of the Chauvinist Pig)].  Anent this inanity, you might want to note that the real Yampa Valley Mail was actually called the B&FE (Back and Forth Empty), shades of the LIRR!

Skunk's Misery Road signs at West End Avenue and at 10th Street in Glen Cove and at Overlook Road in Lattingtown:
Skunk's Misery at West End Skunk's Misery at 10th St. Skunk's Misery at Overlook
It's Lattingtown Road on the south side in Glen Cove and Skunk's Misery on the north side in Lattingtown.

The previous articles and a long clinic went into excruciating detail about the existing layout, the Curve itself, the tunnels, etc.

My layout is huge; the basic table started out as a piece of 3/4" plywood, 4' x 6', left-over from an unfinished headboard project.  It was spliced crossways and longways later to 6' x 14' and now has banjos at each end to make the loops 44" and 46" radius.  There were 39 turnouts (29 automatic and 10 manual, and now there are almost double that.  It always was basically a yard in which to store and run anything that tickled my fancy (usually either huge or miniscule).  The main line was a -mile long loop (0.499925 smiles).  Now, with the banjos, it's even bigger, some 2.3 miles.  By running double track up along the wall and around the back of the basement, through the Curve (on a nominal scale 86" radius), under the mythical Ruckberg (Back Mountain) at Kreisdorf (Loop Town), and, amazingly, back through the Curve again, etc., twice (double track), I will have a total main line run of some 4 miles with the classical PRR 4-track main through the Curve!  All grades are also prototypical, 1.75% on tangents and 1.45% on the curve (0.2"/' and 0.175"/' rises).  Thus, I can sit at my control panel and see exactly the same magnificent sweep of track as at the actual Curve near Altoona!  With a sofa up against West Bend, one can sit down at eye level with the park in the Curve and watch the procession of trains rumble around the curve above exactly as one can in Pennsylvania at the real thing.

So, what makes this worth writing about after 12 years (23, now)?  Well, it's because this time it's actually happening.  I have already relaid the track on the main table, worked out exactly how to run up along the wall, simulate the tunnels at the crest, swing the curve, and superelevate it.  With 4 tracks through the curve, roadbed will be a bit tricky.  It's kind of exciting for me now that it's actually happening.

Epilogue:  I STILL haven't run the HO Curve out yet, but I SURE did put a lot into the Z version of the Berlinerwerke, q.v. (well, hold off a little while I rewrite that mini-saga to meld with this one).

However, with a digital SLR up and running,


Here's the HO Berlinerwerke in a panoramic series taken 29 Jan 99 after the cellar was flooded and lots of junk (mostly artfully dodged out of the pictures) was piled on top.

First, here is West Bend, with the drop out for the huge diesel loco house visible as a blank space in the center just left of the lally column (the dropout for the transfer table is almost invisible just past the column) and the dummy track for Benny Curve just west of the Horseshoe Curve climbing upward along the far left (compass East) wall and that for the Horseshoe Curve itself high on the far right (compass South) wall (not visible, but just under the back window):

BW HO 'West Bend'

Now, we are just "east" (left) of West Bend, with a better view of Benny Curve on the wall; the curved cardboard represents the Gallitzin tunnels; in the background ("North") are the old and new coal tipples and in the near foreground are the F50, FP50, and F45B unit (if you weren't previously aware of these models, see my EMD page); the water tank just beyond has not come unglued - it never got glued:

Don't even ask what the Statue Delivery is doing in there!

BW HO - just left ('East

Immediately "west" (right) of center, we find the BW enginehouse (three Revells), partly hidden by the bridges to carry the westbound high-line down from the Curve; a Japanese 3-truck diesel partly hidden behind a Pennsy diner, my Viking rail tractor in front of a Beer Can tanker, some of my huge assemblage of RoCo MiniTanks, Matchbox Miniatures, and HotWheels; and (oops!) one of my secret Pennsy steamers:

BW HO - just right of center

At the center of the so-called panorama, you can see more of the same as in the previous view, with the BW Paint Shop at the left and a hippo-boilered PRR K5 Pacific (see note below) in front; there is my very first good engine (ca. 1960) just beyond it, the NWSL Cosmos Timber logging Mallet #11:

BW HO - center

[Except for one little detail - the engine is NOT Cosmos (Kosmos, actually) Timber #11 at all;
it is Crown Willamette Paper Co. #12!  How embarassing!]

As an aside here, this is a good place to show what that #12 looked like
ca. Apr 1961 (apparently new or almost so):

Crown Willamette Paper
#12 Apr 61
(Apr 61 photo by and © 1961/2003 S. Berliner, III - all reserved)

As long as I've diverged from the tour, let's continue a bit on the small logging mallets.  While on a 9,617 mile jaunt around the country, I stumbled on #12's virtual twin, Rayonier/Weyerhouser 1928 Baldwin 2-6-6-2T #110 under steam at the Black Hills Central Railroad in Hill City, South Dakota, on 15 Jun 2007:

Rayonier110BHC1 Rayonier110BHC2
(Photo 15 Jun 07 by and © 2007 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.)
[Thumbnail images - click on the pictures for larger images]

WHAT A KICK THAT WAS!  Well, back to the tour.

Moving just left ("east") of center, there's the whole Paint Shop, with the turntable hidden behind it and the roundhouse, and the BW Dynamometer Shop (light gray) beyond; the engine in front of the #11 is an ancient Aristo-Craft 0-6-6-0 Mallet, with an oddity ahead of it (don't even ask - I didn't do it!) and a low-nose FM switcher beyond (didn't know about those, either, did you?):

BW HO - just left of center

Further "east" (left) is the throat into East Bend, with the dropout for the BW Foundry Department vaguely visible beyond the roundhouse; it will be made up of three Suydam American Chemical and Potash kits and you can barely make out the sweep of the main around East Bend in the distance:

BW HO - just right of 'East Bend'

Finally, we come to East Bend itself (this picture is not strictly in panoramic order, I had to duck around an obtruding lally column); there isn't much to see here because of flood storage; there are a bunch of GN/WFEX cars in N, HO, and O scales stored here for the nonce; and the two tracks rising toward the left in the foreground will curve off to the rear right and climb the back wall to Cresson (in the far corner), and Gallitzin and the Curve to the right:

BW HO 'East Bend'

There's so much to do and so little time - - - (and so much junk)!

Re "hippo-boilered" - so-called because the K5 class Pacific had the "hippo" boiler from the I1 class Decapod, not the one from the K4 class Pacific - except for one little detail!  The PRR Steam Locomotive Diagrams (as reprinted by Alvin F. Stauffer) clearly show an 89" (7' 5") boiler diameter for the K4 class Pacifics (and the L1 class Mikados, which shared it) vs. a 93" (7' 9") hippo boiler on the I1 class Decapods BUT only an 89" boiler on K5 #5698 and #5699!  See my new (07 Apr 99) Pennsy page for more on this.

Erecting Heavy Steel on the BW!

This is a little off subject, but a lally column obstructed my view of the area where the HSC was to go (and may yet) and so I designed and put up heavy 8" x 16' steel channels on either side of the steel beam which the lally column "supported" (actually, the beam ROSE an inch when I disconnected* the column!).  Here's the end of the bracing; the second set of bolts barely visible are the center of the splice, where the column was connected and there's yet another set out of sight and the range of the flash:

Spliced beam over HSC
(11 Apr 03 photo by and © 2003 S. Berliner , III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image - click on picture for larger image]

You can see the waste line I had to relocate; it was a heavy cast-iron one tucked up against the beam.  It also is the same white pipe that shows in the far distance on the first BW photo up above on this page, a white line which gives some idea of the extent of that 16' splice.

The straps in the distance have additional bolts; they go through the holes that held the top lally column flange and tie the channels to the beam longitudinally (the ends float).  Well, I put those heavy channels up single-handedly, using a pair of miniature block and tackle I rigged up; the recent incredibly-heavy snows squashed my house down a bit (it has a large, low-pitch roof) and I put up five much lighter I-beams under a central load-bearing wall that was 20" offset from the main steel beam, using the same tackle:

I-beam rigging
(11 Apr 03 photo by and © 2003 S. Berliner , III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image - click on picture for larger image

I-beam support
(11 Apr 03 photo by and © 2003 S. Berliner , III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image - click on picture for larger image

The first shot shows one set of falls holding up a short (3') beam (I had plates welded across the ends for torsional stability) and the second a short beam in place with an adjustable lally column under it (and safety clips which held the beam to the joists until the lally column was in place); longer beams required both pair of tackle and two columns.  The loop for Kreisdorf may have to be adjusted to avoid the columns, but it sure beats having the house sagging.

Isn't this the way EVERYONE practices model railroading?

[* - Funny story about cutting that permanent lally column - I sawed the column off about two feet from the floor to use it as a pivot for the HSC park (for access to the track) and my power hacksaw blade teeth kept dulling out until I spotted sparks and realized that the column was filled with concrete!  Very carefully girding the column cut away all the steel and rocking it cracked the concrete core at the cut, leaving me the stub column as a very stable pivot indeed!]

As noted on the main Horseshoe Curve page, the basic HO layout is now 31½' long, with 8' banjos at each end.  Doing a rough calculation, allowing for the end curves being pulled in several inches to make room for the "high lines", and ignoring any smoothing from easements, this works out to about 80½' of outer track or just over 1¼ smiles.

Thus, when I'm being even sillier than usual and have a train so long that its loco pilot is just shy of catching up with the caboose's rear coupler, I am pulling a string over a scale mile long [can you hear me, Uncle Irv (Athearn)?]!

[As I said in the preceding story about the HO Berlinerwerke, "it didn't quite work out that way and the layout has still not been expanded through the Curve but it is great for dreaming and armchair railroading and now I'm back in the house and so it may yet happen.  Major changes in the track plan include putting in three more scissors crossovers between the primary and secondary off-table tracks and the primary, secondary, and tertiary loops on the table (yes, there is now a third loop inside the other two) and dropping the diamond crossing so that by having all the scissors crossovers set reverse one can run a single engine all the way around all five tracks without ever touching the panel!"  However, all that is history, now; I moved in Jul 2010 and the BW-HO is now drastically reduced.]   updated (03 Nov 2011)

Tabulation of Prototype Horseshoe Curve Dimensions with N and Z Equivalents.

{see Continuation Page 3}

On my Model Railroad page 4, I added a Railroad Grades chart, with the major Horseshoe Curve grades included.


- Moved to Berlinerwerke-HO Page, et seq.

For tall tales of the BW and its equipment and such,
visit the Berlinerwerke Apocrypha page.

If you like this sort of nonsense, take a gander at Jim Wells' incredible

and at the AW NUTS Magazine site, "A Publication of the A.W. N.U.T.S. Garden Railway Society".

prevpage.gif  =  frstpage.gif    nextpage.gif
of this series of Horseshoe Curve pages. of this series of Horseshoe Curve pages.

You may wish to visit the Pennsylvania Railroad Page, et seq., and the
main Railroad Page, et seq.
of this series of Railroad pages.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


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