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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Pennsy Es on the Horseshoe Curve

Pennsy Es on the Horseshoe Curve

My Dad wasn't really a train fan, so to speak, but we're genetically disposed to appreciate transport in its many guises.

He roamed western Pennsylvania as a field director for the Presbyterian Church and on one of his trips in February 1960, he made a stop at the Horseshoe Curve and recorded this express train headed to points east.

Photographer Don Hall, Sr.

Don Hall
Yreka, CA

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Coming 'round the Curve

That's not an express train but a freight train, and right behind the diesel locomotives (looks like two A - or cab - units and two B - all engine - units) are a Railway Express box car and one with the Pennsylvania Railroad logo (PRR in a keystone, because Pennsylvania is the Keystone State).

I grew up in Altoona and the world famous (and it was) Horseshoe Curve was maybe 20 minutes from town. My dad, who retired from the Pennsylvania Railroad after 38 years, used to take us kids in the 1940s and 1950s there to climb the steps up to the track level, where you could stand (with no fence, I think) and experience America's railroad traffic closeup in its glory years.

The road to the Curve continued on through a culvert under the track right-of-way, and beyond that culvert the shallow mountain stream that bordered it had a low bank where lots of people would drive their cars into the water to wash them. I can still see all those soap suds (and various engine drippings, I'm sure) going through the culvert and on their way to the Altoona Reservoir. No one gave it an environmental thought. Nor did anyone seemed to be bothered by the deer and other wildlife that drowned in our city's water supply. But I'm sure it all was treated. Well, I hope it was.

Pennsy E's

When I worked for Conrail in the early 80s, I had the opportunity to ride from Pittsburgh to Altoona on the head end of a freight train. Went by this spot and took pictures of people taking pictures of my train!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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