S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 4 keywords = " Horseshoe Muleshoe Curve Pennsylvania Pennsy PRR Altoona Juniata Gallitzin Allegheny Alleghany Allegrippus Tunnelhill 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:   12 Nov 2016; 10:25  ET
[Page created 12 Sep 1999; converted 21 Feb 2011 {?};
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/hshucrv4.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/hshucrv4.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 4

noteright - The pages about the actual and model Horseshoe Curve have become almost-hopelessly scrambled;
please bear with me as I struggle to sort it all out (12 Nov 2016).



NOTE:  HTML 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 pages.


    (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:
    Prototype Horseshoe Curve Story

On the next page, 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 the Continuation Page 2:
    {no content yet}

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

On this 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.

For other PRR and RR links, see the main PRR and RR pages.

The BERLINERWERKE (HO - 1:87.1) Story, the story of the HO Berlinerwerke pike.
The full prototype story will appear shortly.
The Z-scale (1:220) Berlinerwerke-Z Saga is on a separate page.


'62 EROS Satellite View of HSC
(EROS Data Center ABIVALR 00000003 73, 05 Jun 62-
I rescanned this at higher resolution and added close-ups, below)
[Thumbnail image; click on picture for larger image.]

NORTH is at the top.

(top or up)
(left) W <-----o-----> E (right)
(bottom or down)


    "MP" = Milepost (distance from Philadelphia).
    "BM" = BenchMark (distance above mean sea level.
    "RH" = Right-Hand (heading westbound).
    "LH" = Left-Hand (heading westbound).
    "e/b" = East-Bound.
    "w/b" = West-Bound.     "RoW" = Right of Way.

For a start, the Horseshoe Curve is at the vertical center of the image, about 1/3 of the way down, circling around the left-most of the three City of Altoona Water Works reservoirs, the blackish blobs at upper right with thick, vertical, white lines to their right (impounding dams).   Altoona (BM 1,182 feet near the station) is downhill off-screen, about three screens worth, to the upper right (east-northeast).   Now, lets follow the track west from Altoona actually running south- southwest past Alto Tower at the 17th Street bridge; we start on the right-hand margin, just above center, at a blackish blob (pond, lake, or reservoir).  The left end of that pond/lake/reservoir has Burgoon Run running (what else would it do?) in from upstream above the Curve.  Immediately above that is a white line which is 40th Street coming up from southeastern downtown Altoona South Altoona.  Next, immediately above and left of that is a greyish complex (an orchard?), with the tracks directly above that on a 1.75% grade climbing uphill to the left.  This is McGarvey's Curve (LH), with MP 239 (BM 1,260 feet), Wike's Curve, and Brickyard Curve (with what is or was the Coburn Kilns/Blair Clay Products' Ladle Brick Yard/"The Kilns") at MP 238, downhill just off screen to the right.  Following east/left (which is westbound on the Pennsy at this point), we come to MP 240 and then enter Miller's Curve (RH) just above the biggest reservoir, "Lake Altoona".  Next, we go right into LH Scotch Run Curve.  MP 241 is located just above the center reservoir, "Kittaning Reservoir", and, if you look very closely above the track trace, you can make out a tiny black dot there.  That is a huge, abandoned water tank (1,660 feet at its base and still visible in the trees) and marks the former site of the giant Kittaning Point coal dock, which spanned all four tracks (oh, those were the glory days, indeed!).  Visible as a thin white line immediately above the tracks at this point, and running to the right, is a Jeep trail that was the RoW of a PRR siding elevated uphill above the Main that fed coal and sand to the dock on a track over the dock, perpendicular to the Main.

We are now at the site of the former (and completely vanished) Kittaning Point Station; there was a handsome station and a stationmaster's house just south of the tracks immediately east (right) of the Baker's/Kittaning RR spur and a freight house on the north side at the turnout.

Climbing uphill (left) on a slight RH curve, we enter the HORSESHOE CURVE itself and swing left on the 9° (604.7' nominal radius, 83.3"R in HO, 45.3"R in N, and 33.0" in Z) lower curve on a 1.45% grade and cross over Baker's/Kittaning Run (also with a mine run-off channel paralleling it).  A coal hauler line used to run up Kittaning Run; it was the S. E. Baker Railroad (later the Kittaning Run Railroad), which was abandoned around the first World War.  The RoW is plainly visible on the ground and on the photo (angling up to the left).  We now enter the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark, with the upper plateau park (visible as a tiny white rectangle inside the curve) and PRR K4s #1361 on display there.  The K4s is barely visible as a elongated black dot at the top of the white rectangle; GP9 #7048 was substituted for the K4s on 16 Sep 85 so that the big Pacific could be restored for fantrip service.  Deep into the Curve at this point, the LH white line between the tracks and the run-off channel is 40th Street as it was before they cut in away from the Curve to build the Park Service's Vistor's Center and parking lot.  The sort of white triangle to the left, where the road rejoins the channel, is the old parking lot, with the old gift shop at its apex (top) and the old PRR bobber (4-wheel) cabin car (caboose) a microscopic black dot at the left.  Now, the darker grey triangular swath to the left of the Curve is the top of the mountain (Kittaning Point), and the light grey bar to the left of the tracks, opposite the upper park, is the sheer 100' high rock face of the cut.  At this point we start on the upper curve, still LH on the 1.45% grade but changing to a slightly easier 9° 25' of curvature (637.3' nominal radius, 87.8"R in HO, 47.8"R in N, and 34.8" in Z) and cross over 40th Street, at 1,530 feet above mean sea level, which becomes Sugar Run Road at this point, with Glenwhite Run and its mine run-off channel all in the tunnel underneath (Kittaning Point tops out directly above the Curve at 2,249 feet!).  A short distance more on the upper curve and we swing around on a very short RH curve and CLIMB along the north face of the northern (2,421 feet) of the "Twin Peaks" (my terminology) on a fairly straight run called the Ledge at 1.74% grade.  Entering broad RH McGinley's Curve, we climb out of the Horseshoe Curve and swing around past MP 243 at 1,700 feet and out of sight over the hill.

Note that Burgoon Run is paralleled by a mine run-off channel; that channel used to carry highly-polluted water (red with iron ore) down from the strip mines to the north and east (a few visible as whitish scars at upper and middle left) before they cleaned up the situation.  Burgoon Run is actually the combination of Kittaning Run from the northwest and Glenwhite Run from the west.  The channel is barely evident on the photo; it appears as the white line immediately to the left of the leftmost reservoir, whereas Glenwhite Run itself appears there as a microscopic black line between the reservoir and the tunnel under the curve (The Run and the channel run under the Curve in two paired conduits next to the road in a common tunnel.

The Glenwhite Coal and Lumber Co. had rails up both sides of Glenwhite Run until 1938.  The line on the north side had a wye at the Curve and the RoW of the wye is still plainly visible on the ground and it can be seen on the photo as a white trapezoid above the western tunnel mouth (against the tracks and left of the Curve).

Continuing uphill (down on the photo), we hit the Whipoorwill Straight Line, swing very slightly left on gentle LH McCann's Curve and pass MG Tower, barely visble on the photo as a dot to the left of the track opposite an old, abandoned reservoir visible as a white oval just right of dead center on the image.  A long tangent brings us to MP244 (1,800 feet) and RH AG Curve and around the southern "Twin Peak" (2,422 feet) into Greenough Curve and parallel to Sugar Run and U.S. Route 22.  Swinging left on Brandimarte Curve (named for Italo-American track supervisor Giulio Brandimarte, 1885-1970, who worked for the PRR from 1905 to 1957!), we come to MP 245 and swing left on Allegrippus Curve, named for the locomotive that came to grief there.

Next, we swing right on Cold Curve, come to MP 246, and turn sharply left on Bennington Curve at 1,900 feet, where the Pennsy's "Red Arrow" crashed in 1947, and the site of the former Benny Tower, then on past the Slide.

OOP!  We just fell of the left margin, but if we hadn't we would have continued uphill and westerly through a very gentle RH Salpino Curve on a fierce 2.36% w/b grade (1.89% e/b) into the Tunnel Hill area at MP 247 and the turnouts at the tunnels under the hill, exiting in Gallitzin, the Allegheny Crest, with SF Tower controlling the east portal area.  The northern tunnel is the Gallitzin Tunnel (now used only as a vehicular service road but with rails in place for emergency use), the central one the Allegheny Tunnel, cresting at 2,194.6 feet above mean sea level, while the southern tunnel is the old New Portage Tunnel; the two southern bores, cresting at 2,160.8 feet, were deepened in 1995 to accomodate double-stacks.  Just east of the NP tunnel, the old NPR line came in from the southeast and the e/b Main flyover under which it ran into the Allegheny and New Portage Tunnels and the NPR RoW are still there; the BM is 2,109 feet.  MP 248 is at the west end of the tunnels and, after AR Tower (2,154 feet) in the wye (known as the Loop Track, where the steam helpers turned) between the e/b and w/b tracks in Galltzin (controlling the west portal area and the loop/wye), we come to Cresson and MO TOWER, Lilly, Portage, Johnstown, and, so, finally, to Pittsburgh and "the West".  Helpers now run to Cresson before running back to Altoona.

On the opposite (south) side of Sugar Run is the old PRR Muleshoe Curve, which was the RoW of the now-abandoned PRR New Portage Branch, previously the New Portage Railroad.  This line was built by the Commonwealth (State) of Pennsylvania to replace the Allegheny Portage Railroad in the 1850s when the PRR was cutting the Horseshoe Curve.  The APR was a part of the Pennsylvania Main Line of Public Works and Utilities, the line of canals and inclined planes that linked Philadelphia (hence the Phillly term "Main Line" - being on the RR was a status thing then) and Pittsburgh in the early 19th Century.  When the PRR was "new', it ran south from the Belefont/State College area down the valley of the Juniata River through Altoona and on to Duncansville where it turned west to Holidaysburg as now but also turned east (wyed) and met up with the APR.  The APR started at the eastern terminus of the canal system at at Hollidaysburg and went up over the Alleghenies on ten inclined planes, five on each side of the crest, to get canal boats over to Johnstown and the terminus of the western canal; its RoW was used by the PRR from 1850 through 1854.  The APR crossed over the old highway to the west, now old U.S. 22, on the cut-stone Skew Bridge which still stands, between the eastbound and westbound lanes of the highway about one screen distant to the lower left; now a part of the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, with a National Park Service Visitors Center only a few hundred yards north-northwest nearby at the head of Plane 6, headquartered in the restored Lemon House, a 19th Century hostelry serving passengers waiting to be hauled up, or let down, Plane 6.  The foundations of the steam hoisting plant there have been dug up and restored and a simulation of the plane has been constructed.

To make it easier for you to see the features at the Curve itself, here are a close-up of the Curve area and one even closer of the Curve with the water tank indicated:

'62 EROS Satellite View of HSC
(enlarged from EROS Data Center ABIVALR 00000003 73, 05 Jun 62-
close-up of Curve area)

'62 EROS Satellite View of HSC
(enlarged from EROS Data Center ABIVALR 00000003 73, 05 Jun 62-
close-up of Curve area with water tank indicated)

You can even see Signal Bridge 2416 (at MP241.6 -surprise!), just west (and PRR West - left) of the tank, at the sites of the old Kittaning Point passenger and freight stations (still visible below and above the tracks, respectively).  If you look really closely, you can make out the sheer rock face of the cut as a diagonal dark line at the far left and the tiny black blob just inside the tracks opposite the bottom of that line is the stone track shack (noted below).  Following the track around to the west (down at that point on the photo), you can easily see where 40th Street runs under the tracks where Glenwhite Run comes in from the west to join Kittaning Run and become Burgoon Run and the mine runoff channel immediately south (down) of it.  You can see the Jeep trail by the tank and the rights-of-way of the old S. E. Baker (later Kittaning Run) RR (north side of the run) abandoned ca. 1917) and Glen White Coal and Lumber Co. RR (both sides of the run) abandoned ca. 1938) in their respective runs; the trace of the wye of the northern line of the latter is still quite evident on the ground.  U- by the tank, you can also quite clearly make out the RoW of the line from the east that carried coal gons up to the coaling bridge between the tank and the tracks.  It seems to me that in 1962 the little gift shop and the N-6b cabin car (caboose) #980901 (burned by vandals in 1976) were already there but I can't really make them out and I must assume that long diagonal blob just above and to the right of the shack, opposite the rock face, is 1918 K4s #1361, dedicated there 08 Jun 57 and removed for restoration to running condition on 16 Sep 85 - 1955 GP9 #7048 (below, right) replaced her later that same day.  The round dark blob ahead (upper right) of the old Pacific is the giant tree that still shades that area (and obstructs photos).

Mid '70s Photos - I ran across a slew of photos taken at and around the Curve sometime in the mid '70s, well before the ones below dated Aug 83, and most were simply awful but a few are worth posting because of their special interest (at least to me).  First of all, I ran across two color shots taken from the parking lot at the base of the Curve, showing (left to right/west to east) the hack (funny, I could have sworn it was a 4-wheel bobber, not N6b ##980901), the gift shop, the "Food Shoppe", and a gazebo (who remembers what the gazebo* was all about, please?):

HSC/Cabin/GiftShop HSC/FoodShoppe/Gazebo
(Mid. 1970s photos by and © 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed images; click on pictures for larger images]

* - Well, Jason remembers - it was a wishing well (12 Jan 07 - thanks, Jason)! new.gif (13 Mar 05)

Next, well east of the curve, here's that huge open-topped water tank, first from the west when we came upon it looming up out of the shrubbery, then from above looking down from the old mine run RoW (what's that building in the near foreground?), and lastly looking back from the east:

HSC/Tank/W HSC/Tank/Top HSC/Tank/E
(Mid. 1970s photos by and © 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed images; click on pictures for larger images]

Here's a 1940s aerial view showing the tank, Kittaning Point Station, and signal bridges 2416/7 and 2426/7:   new (12 Nov 2016)

Horseshoe Curve Aerial View ca. 2006

I marked up a crop to show the tank, Kittaning Point Station, and the signal bridges:

Horseshoe Curve Aerial View ca. 2006 Markup

Kittaning Point Station was boarded up but still standing into the '40s; it was torn down in - when?

Repeating from the main Horseshoe Curve page, here's a ca. 2006 aerial photo I just HAD to post there (and here):   new (12 Nov 2016)

Horseshoe Curve Aerial View ca. 2006
(click on thumbnail for larger view)

Not only is it a great view but you can clearly see signal bridges 2416/2417 and, with the foliage down, the big old water tank above the tracks at right center, about which I have so much to say and show here.

I also marked a crop of this last photo to show the locations froom which I shot the tank back in the '70s:

Horseshoe Curve Aerial View ca. 2006 Markup

Trudging around the outside of the Curve (can you even imagine doing that today - and getting away with it?), along came an E/B diesel running almost light, pulling only a drop-center flat with a big transformer load (I guess it was a trafo).  It's a great load to model but I only had time to unlimber the camera and grab this shot and don't recall and didn't record what flat or where or when, but you can see across the Curve to the opposite (S) mountain:

(Mid. 1970s photo by and © 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

Could that be PC 76675?

Finally, we drove over to Tunnel Hill, parked above the Gallitzin (N or W/B) Tunnel, and climbed down (again, try that stunt today!); as I noted, most of the photos were just awful but I did get these three of the old tunnel ventilation blowers from above, looking ESE, then ESE again but closer, and almost S:

TH/Blowers/1 TH/Blowers/1 TH/Blowers/1
(Mid. 1970s photos by and © 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed images; click on pictures for larger images]

Pictures taken from the S side show mostly brush.

Lastly, we walked in on the Muleshoe (see below).

On the incredibly foggy morning of 26 Aug 1999, after blindly creeping over the mountain behind an 18-wheeler the night before, I was at the Curve, like visiting an old friend, and the traffic was quite good.

To get up to the upper plateau (the trackside park - you can still trudge up the endless steps up from the parking lot (100' straight up!) or take 5-striped, tuscan red, PRR passenger car #1854 (ha, gotcha!):

HSC Tram Car
(Photo by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image; click on picture for larger image.]

One guess how I got up this time, with a train coming up the hill over Miller's Curve?

Here, then, is a "panorama" of the lower Curve from Glenwhite Run down/right/east to GP9 #7048; the fog was too thick to get the upper Curve without filters and the trees have grown so thickly within my lifetime (they say the steamers' smoke kept them down - ???) that you can barely see trains cresting McGinley's Curve.  I'll dig up 10-20 year old photos and scan them in one of these days.

Far Left View of Lower HSC Left Center View of Lower HSC Center View of Lower HSC Right Center View of Lower HSC Far Right View of Lower HSC

(All photos by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail images; click on pictures for larger images.]

I have long been fascinated by the little stone shack sitting inside the track and outside the fence at trackside smack in the middle of the lower curve.]  It's not all that old, perhaps turn of the 20th Century, but it looks just great and I want to model it for my HO Curve:

Left Side of Trackside Shack at HSC   Right Side of Trackside Shack at HSC
(Photos by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail images; click on pictures for larger images.]

WHEW!  Hope all that holds you for a while!

On another incredibly foggy two days, 'way back on 06-07 Aug 1983, I was on both curves and took a lot of useless pictures in the thick haze.  However, three are of some immediate interest.  The first shows the area where the the turnout for the New Portage secondary had just been removed (those are the Tunnel Hill portals in the distance):

NPS Turnout Site

We camped out in the van under the New Portage duckunder (we lived dangerously!) and in the morning drove the van along the now-abandoned Muleshoe RoW; this shot was taken late in the evening facing south (PRR "west" along the RoW), just shy of relocated Route 22 (which split the RoW):

Muleshoe RoW

Finally, we reached the gap where 22 ran and spotted huge, ghostly stacks of 39' lengths of Muleshoe track panels stacked above us in the fog, looking for all the world like out-of-focus Atlas Snaptrack:

Muleshoe Track Panels
(06-07 Aug 1983 photos by and © S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

To contrast with that, here's an almost-painterly photo of the Muleshoe taken on the mid-'70s trek noted above, when the tracks were still in place and it was eerily beautiful:

(Mid. 1970s photo by and © 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

At the NRHS-Sunrise Trail Chapter meeting on 17 Sep 2004, there were courtesy copies of this postcard from Amtrak showing an early Trakker running e/b through the Curve:

Amtrak HSC Postcard

We know the photo predates 16 Sep 1985, for that is when PRR K4 Pacific #1361 was removed and you can just make out her tender peeking out behind the huge tree in the upper park, at left, between the white interpretive sign and the Trakker:

Amtrak HSC Postcard detail

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
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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