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Conrail's Pittsburgh Line
Courtesy Conrail Inc. Conrail's Pittsburgh Line

"Brand New to Conrail" would be an excellent caption to this view. Taken shortly after Conrail received their first order of SD60M's, one of the first daylight runs of the westbound RoadRailer 261 train was caught east of Newport, PA. The single SD60M makes little effort hauling the 70 Triple Crown trailers around the reverse "S" curves along the Juniata River. April 1995 photo by Kevin Burkholder
Here is Conrail 6657, an ex-Erie Lackawanna SD45-2, reposing at CR's Juniata Shops in Altoona, PA. Not yet extinct, these dinosaurs spent their later years pushing trains "over the hill" west of Altoona. In recent years, they have been assigned to lease duty on CN. In the last several months, they have been found in road service throughout the Conrail system.
Sitting dead at Conrail's Juniata shops, an ex-Reading GP35 awaits it's appointment with the scrap torch. Some predecessor-painted locomotives could still be found in July, 1993 (when this photo was taken), but only in scrap lines. Does anyone know what has since happened to CR 3624?
Conrail EDPI-3 struggles upgrade at Bennington Curve (CP-SF), not far from the summit at Gallitzin. EDPI (Wilmington - Edgemoor to Conway) was led by 5551-5564-6705 (2 SD60M, SD50) on a beautiful October 23, 1994.
UMP-40B is about to begin it's descent down "The Slide", passing the now-closed AR Tower. It's journey eastward on Number 3 track will lead UMP into the New Portage Tunnel, built by the Pennsylvania government in a failed attempt to compete with the PRR in the 1850's. UMP was led by two General Electric C40-8W's, on March 4, 1998. UMP is a coal train destined to Maryland with coal for Potomac Electric.

The ex-PRR Middle Division is by far one of the most popular railfan locations of all time. Tourists from far and wide come to Altoona to visit world-famous Horseshoe Curve. Cresson, on the West Slope of the Allegheny Mountains, is a popular railfan (as opposed to tourist) location - both in town at MO Tower and at the PA Rt. 53 Overpass. Westbound Mail-9H overtakes Mail-3 approaching the Rt. 53 Overpass, and will shortly pass the site of MO-Tower in Cresson proper.



With MO Tower in the background, OIPI-5 passes through Cresson, PA on Saturday, July 6, 1996. Cresson is an interesting railroad town for several reasons. For Conrail, it is the home of Conrail's helper units. MO Tower is located here, overseeing helper movements and controlling several crossovers and connections to RJ Corman coal lines. Cresson was once noted for the PRR position light signals mounted on the overpass of the Irvona Secondary. Today, it is well known as the site of Tom Davis' Cresson Inn, a railfan-oriented Bed & Breakfast inn.
OIPI's interesting power came into North Jersey on Southern Pacific (now UP) runthrough TV-556. TV-556 runs once a week, arriving in New Jersey on a Thursday or Friday; it's power typically returned west via the River Line. Today, we were lucky and caught Conrail 5044, Cotton Belt 9291, Rio Grande 5326, and Southern Pacific 7447 (B36-7, SD45T-2, SD45, SD45E). In the East, it is rare to see this many 20-cylinder units together, with the exception of CR's SD45-2 helper units and the new SD80MACs.
Several SD40-2's are laying over at the Cresson Enginehouse on March 3, 1998.
A brace of RJ Corman units arrives at Cresson yard on January 6, 2002 after dropping off covered hoppers a few miles to the north.
The West Slope town of Lilly contains some photo opportunities such as the PRR signal bridge west of town on Railroad Street. Amtrak 44 headed east under the position lights at 2:58 pm on March 4, 1998 in delightfully snowy weather.

On October 24, 1994; TV-2 screeches eastward around the curve at South Fork, PA. TV-2 was a Chicago to Morrisville train, sometimes running to Kearny, NJ. TV-2 has since been replaced by stack train TV-2M.
Eastbound trailvan TV-22 passes the cut at Ardara, PA on Conrail's Pittsburgh Line. Ardara is not far from the recently rebuilt Pitcairn Intermodal Terminal. TV-22 was spotted on February 25, 1997 behind CR 6122 and CR 6260 (2 C40-8W)
RoadRailer 262 (Chicago to Elizabethport, NJ) rounds the curve at Ardara, PA on Conrail's Pittsburgh Line on February 25, 1997. 262 was powered by Conrail 3282 and 3309 (GP40-2's), not uncommon for a RoadRailer.
Later that day, PIES-5 was spotted at Ardara behind Conrail 6435 and 6474, a pair of SD40-2's. The next day, we saw TV-2M behind 6803 - 6249 - 5645 (SD50, C40-8W, SD60I). TV-2M (Chicago to Morrisville) had just completed work at the nearby Pitcairn Intermodal Terminal.


Westbound Mail-3 slows for the CP-Traff distant signals at Ardara, PA on May 27, 1998. Mail-3 will work at the Pittsburgh Intermodal Terminal at Pitcairn, PA, picking up and setting off TOFC/COFC cars. This Mail-3 was powered by Conrail 6519, Conrail 3387, and Southern Pacific 146 (SD40-2, GP40-2, AC4400CW). Photo by Melanie L. Good
After spotting that SP AC4400CW, we decided to chase Mail-3 to Pitcairn. The power is seen here after cutting off from the train to pick up loaded trailers for St. Louis. While not as large as the original Pitcairn Yard, this TOFC/COFC terminal has begun a rebirth process for the facility. Photo by Melanie L. Good


TV-2H has just completed it's air brake test and is seen departing Pitcairn Yard at CP-Traff, in Trafford PA. This location is geographically between the above two Mail-3 photos. The interchange switch to the Turtle Creek Industrial RR can be seen to the right, as well as PIMO "waiting his turn" in the distance. Photo by Melanie L. Good


Although Horseshoe Curve and Altoona are known for their use of helper or pusher engines, Conrail regularly uses helpers on heavy manifest trains between Pittsburgh and Johnstown. Here, and eastbound ore train is assisted by two EMD SD40-2's at Pitcairn Yard, near Wall, PA.


Technically speaking, this photo doesn't belong in the Pittsburgh Line page. Westbound CAPI-2 is approaching CP-Penn, milepost 1.8 on the Fort Wayne Line, on May 23, 1998. CP-Penn marks the junction of the Pittsburgh and Conemaugh Lines, becoming the Fort Wayne Line. Tracks 4 and 1 are the Pittsburgh Line; tracks 2 and 3 are the Conemaugh Line. CAPI is on track 4 (remember, the PRR numbered their tracks opposite most roads). This oft-seen view is from a footbridge at Pittsburgh's West Park, on the Northside near the Allegheny Commons Mall. Skyscrapers in the Golden Triangle can be seen in the right background. Photo by Melanie L. Good

This page was created and maintained by J. Alex Lang, 1997-1998.
Last updated October 9, 1998

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