World Famous Horseshoe Curve

Oct 11, 2018Attractions

In my infinite searches for more ways to see trains, we stumbled onto Virtual Railfan’s Youtube Channel a while back. This well-known channel immediately expanded my railfan adventures. No longer is distance an issue in my daily railfanning adventures.

Once livestream caught my attention immediately with its beautiful scenery and almost constant train action. Our living room tv was a straight view of this intriguing spot. We then decided seeing it from our tv wasn’t enough, we needed to witness it in person.

So we made the drive down from Ottawa to Altoona to see it. You cannot help but feel the railroad centric history that fills the base of Brush Mountain, where Altoona sits within the Allegheny Mountains. As we made our way the winding road towards the Curve, there was a definite quiet in our vehicle. The breathtaking beauty of the surrounding area and the anticipation of every train we’d watched from our living room made the excitement almost unbearable.

As we parked at the visitors center, located at the bottom of this landmark, we kept wondering when the next train would show up. The Visitors Center also houses a gift shop of souvenirs for every railfan – from books to glassware to sweatshirts. But at this moment, we didn’t care about souvenirs, we wanted to make our way up the hill. The hill presents you with two options; The Funicular or the 194-step stairway. Too excited to wait, we took to the stairs!

Reaching the top, there was this sense of achievement. We’d made it. Was it a dream? No, we were really here. A quick check on my phone to watch the livestream proved it. And yet, where were the trains? Other visitors were pacing back and forth around the small park, some discussing what they’d seen earlier. We started taking photos of the surroundings; the mountains, the old Pennsylvania Railroad 7048 locomotive on display and those tracks curving all the way around. You couldn’t help but marvel at the work of engineering it would have taken to accomplish all of it.

And then suddenly in the distance, the unmistakable rumbling of a train. And it wouldn’t disappoint. Three hours later, we’d just seen more trains than any previous outings. The following day, we would be visiting the Railroaders Memorial Museum before coming back to the Curve for more.

Here’s a playlist of our best catches from the Horseshoe Curve.

This place was well worth the drive down and we will be returning in the future. Below are photos from our visit to the Curve and the museum. You can follow our Instagram profile to see more. Please visit Railroaders Memorial Museum’s website for more information on how to visit the museum and this historic landmark.