The Gregarious Railfan
Horseshoe Curve, Altoona, PA   16601             Page 2   

GPS: N 40.4978, W 78.4841      map   

NS:  160.800 [46], 160.980 [58], and 161.070 [64]  

Norfolk Southern Pittsburg Division

Description:  Horseshoe Curve is located about 5 miles west of Altoona and much of this same information can be
seen on my Altoona page. Horseshoe Curve is a National Landmark operated by the U.S. Park Service, and a railfan you
better appreciate the work involved in building this engineering marvel. The Visitors’ Center also houses a gift shop you
of souvenirs for every railroad buff – from books to hats and sweatshirts. The “Funicular” is an incline plane elevator
designed to take you from the Visitors’ Center at Horseshoe Curve Historic Landmark up to the train tracks of
Horseshoe Curve. Or if you prefer a nature walk, you may take the beautifully scenic steps to the top.

Interesting facts: The Horseshoe Curve opened February 15, 1854 and was engineered by J. Edgar Thompson. It is
located at Kittaning Point, at the base of the Allegheny Mountains. The length of the curve is 2375 feet. Degree of
curvature is 9 degrees; 25 minutes; central angle is 220 degrees. Elevation of lower (east) end of the curve is 1594
feet, upper (west) end is 1716 feet - 122 feet total elevation climb. The grade is 1.8% or 1.8 foot rise per 100 feet.
The construction of the Curve was done by about 450 workers, many of them from Ireland. The work was done
entirely by hand, and workers were paid 25 cents per hour for a twelve hour day.

Approximate # trains per 24 hours: 35 including Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian.

Nearby RR stuff: Altoona,  Gallitzin, and Cresson   

Photo opportunities: Wide angle shots of The Curve

Gregariousness quotient: Medium to High
“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make
its own people comfortable.” - Clifton Fadiman
Denver Todd is The Gregarious Railfan
Todd Sestero is the RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
November 2014
Do you have info that you could share with me. I would welcome suggestions, additions, or corrections to this page (or
any page).  New info will be credited on the page. e-mail me at