The city of Altoona, Pennsylvania is a city built around railroads. It has been referred to as ‘The Railroad Capital of America’, although Trains Magazine has named Chicago, Illinois as the ‘Railroad Capital’ mainly because of the massive number of railroads that serve that city. How does Altoona get the name? It does not have as many railroads as Chicago, but it does have many railroad sites. You have the Juniata Shops where trains are serviced. You have the Railroaders Memorial Museum. For train watchers, you have the famous Horseshoe Curve where you can watch trains roll on through. You also have the Gallitzin Tunnels that helped pave the way for railroads through the high Allegheny Mountains, and you have the Portage Railroad that had the task of link canal barges across the mountain range. Yes, you have great railroad sites in Altoona.
Now some of you are saying, “Wow! That is so ool. There are so many railroad sites in Altoona, but I do have to agree with Trains Magazine about Chicago being the official ‘Railroad Capital’. With all those sites in Altoona, it would be nice if they had a train to ride.”
That brings us to another railroad site in Altoona. Located in the town of Hollidaysburg is the Everett Railroad, a small short line railroad that runs freight service, and it also runs passenger excursions. It departs from the station and heads south through the countryside down to the town of Roaring Spring where you can step off the train for a little ice cream, take a tour of the depot or see the ‘Roaring Spring’ located just a short walk from the train. The train, made up of old passenger cars, is pulled by the Number 11 steam locomotive, a restored Alco-Cooke 2-6-0, or by older model diesels. For those who love trains, this may be your best reason to visit Altoona.
The Everett Railroad is located at 244 Loop Road in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania which is south of Altoona. It is just east of Pennsylvania Route 36 and south of U.S. 22 and three miles east of I-99. You can get more information at www.everettrailroad.com.
You now know about another great railroad site in Altoona. The Everett Railroad is a ride that you will enjoy. Also, you can head south to the town of Everett and visit the Everett Railroad Station Museum. It was here where the Everett Railroad originated. You can visit their website at www.bloodyrunhistory.org. The museum is open every Saturday between April and October from 11:00am to 4:00pm and is free, but they gladly accept donations.