"I'm here to work....honest!"

Over the years I have been lucky to travel quite extensively with my job. On occasions I manage to "escape" for a day or two (or just part of a day) to get some train watching in. One such trip was in December 2006 when I was in the US on business for two weeks, split between a week in State College, Pennsylvania and a week in Canton, Ohio.

With two weekends to play with, the camera and camcorder were an essential part of my luggage on this trip!

My thanks go to:
Kevin Birkett - for recommending The Station Inn, Cresson as somewhere to stay near Altoona, PA.
Tom Davis of The Station Inn, Cresson - for making my first weekend so enjoyable.
Dale Zimmerman - for his hospitality during my second weekend.

You can click on any of the thumbnails for a 800x600 of the image in a new window.

1st December 2006, Birmingham Airport

Continental Airlines Boeing 757 reg. N19130

Great - a dud plane to start the trip! Never mind, at least this one flew...I arrived at Newark to discover my onward flight to Pittsburgh (and all others that day) were cancelled due to bad weather. Best Continental could offer me was a Sunday morning flight (this was Friday lunchtime!) I ended up hiring a car and driving 300 miles to my weekend destination of Cresson, PA - arriving around 7pm.

2nd December 2006, Station Inn, Cresson

At breakfast Ashby, the Station Inn cat, was roasting slowly by the radiator which was absolutely belting out the heat.

If you are ever in the area I would definitely recommend you consider stopping here. If you do be sure to mention to them that you heard about it here!

2nd December 2006, Gallitzin

With the temperature around freezing and a considerable wind-chill I was one of the few out and about with my camera this weekend - here my hire car (a Nissan Altima) sits alone in the car park by the tunnels in Gallitzin.

2nd December 2006, Gallitzin

Norfolk Southern EMD SD70M 2593 leads GE D9-40CW 9186 out of the tunnel on a westbound freight.

2nd December 2006, Gallitzin

Same train as the previous shot, backed by two "helpers" in the shape of EMD SD40-2's 3342 & 3341. Don't be fooled by the liveries, both are Norfolk Southern - the blue one is still in Conrail livery, a railroad split between NS & CSX a few years ago.

Passing the other way is the eastbound Amtrak "Pennsylvanian" complete with a private-owner car on the rear (Ohio Central "Sugar Creek" I believe). I was a bit gutted not to get a good shot of the whole train!

2nd December 2006, Horseshoe Curve

A major attraction in the area is the Horseshoe Curve about 10 miles east of Cresson and 5 miles west of Altoona - here the track curves right round the valley and, with the westbound being about a 1:100 climb, it is a good place to train watch.

Arriving at the viewing area the visitor is greeted by this stuffed and mounted EMD GP9 ex-PRR 7048.

2nd December 2006, Horseshoe Curve

In typical Thornton fashion I arrived at a quiet time! After almost an hour a pair of "helpers" wandered down the hill towards Altoona (NS 3335 & 3338).

2nd December 2006, Horseshoe Curve

An "intermodal" heads down the hill headed by NS 6734 (an EMD SD60I, in Conrail colours) and NS 2765 (EMD SD70M-2).

2nd December 2006, Horseshoe Curve

NS 5662 (EMD GP38-2) heads by with an out-of-gauge special freight consisting of an electrical transformer.

2nd December 2006, Horseshoe Curve

More helpers going down the hill - NS 3357 & 3344.

2nd December 2006, Horseshoe Curve

...and even more helpers going down the hill!! NS 3345, 3428, 3387 & 3374.

I think NS was using the lull in freight traffic to have a major reshuffle of their "helper" fleet.

In the end, after 3 hours, I was finally treated to a 9,200t train (almost 200 freight wagons) heading up the hill - no photograph though, that was caught on video for the full thrash effect!

2nd December 2006, Railroad Museum - Altoona

How many wheels on my wagon???

GG1 electric PRR 4913 on display at the museum in Altoona.

2nd December 2006, Altoona

NS 2767 (SD70M-2) leads 3384 & 3375 on an eastbound freight.

2nd December 2006, Altoona

The helpers were still being reshuffled! 3341 & 3342 (which I photographed earlier at Gallitzin) were back at Altoona.

2nd December 2006, Altoona

Another view of 3341 & 3342.

2nd December 2006, Altoona

GE D9-40CW 9388 leads classmate 9449 on a westbound working.

2nd December 2006, Altoona

A "mere" 17,000hp at the head of this train of (empty) coal cars!

NS 8338 (D9-40CW), 9962 (D9-40CW), 3369 (EMD SD40-2),
3365 (EMD SD40-2) & 3355 (EMD SD40-2)

2nd December 2006, Altoona

9962 looks right out of the paint-shop.

2nd December 2006, Altoona

...unlike 3355!

2nd December 2006, Altoona

A slightly different angle (for the modellers?).

2nd December 2006, Altoona

A pair of EMD SD80MAC's - NS 7215 & 7211.

3rd December 2006, Cassandra

Not the best shot but if you could only have heard the sound that went with the view - SD70M-2 2743 leads classmate 2763 & SD40-2 3535 on the climb eastbound through the cutting at Cassandra.

3rd December 2006, Cassandra

With the previous freight still passing, SD60M 6767 leads D9-40CW 9687 on another eastbound working, just beginning to overtake it. It was another pretty decent bout of thrash on the climbing grade!

3rd December 2006, Cresson

Cresson boasts a raised wooden platform from where trains can be watched. Here the rising grade is from west to east. A train of new aluminium freight cars is seen here coasting down the grade with SD40-2's 3361 & 3367 in charge.

3rd December 2006, Cresson

SD80MAc's 7211 & 7215 turned up on a short freight of...well, um - not sure?

3rd December 2006, Cresson

A final view from Cresson - D9-40CW's 9796, 9196 & 9632 coast westwards.

At this point I had to head off to State College as I was on a "marketing bootcamp" which started at 5pm on the Sunday afternoon.

9th December 2006

For my second weekend I had relocated to Canton, Ohio. Having dropped my 'rental car' off on the Sunday at State College I hitched a lift with colleagues who dropped me off at CAK (Canton Akron Airport) to pick up another car to get me to/from the office during the second week.

Here's my Chevrolet Malibu - V6 powered but gutless nonetheless!

9th December 2006, Berea

About an hour north I had been recommended a location in Berea in the Cleveland suburbs. This was luxury, train watching from the car...I was sat in the drivers seat taking this one! A days snow on the previous day had definitely added something positive to the scene (though it was damn cold once again!).

Union Pacific GE C41-8W no. 9468 leads a trio of SD40-2's GATX 7360, CSXT 8818 & UP 3149 eastwards.

9th December 2006, Berea

CSXT 8665 (EMD SD50) leads a Helm Leasing SD40-2 (HLCX 7169) westwards.

9th December 2006, Berea

More leasing power - a pair of SD40-2's GCFX 3082 & HLCX 6501 lead this freight. The third loco was a brand new GG20B ('Green Goat') ultra low-emission switcher for Union Pacific (UP 2607)

9th December 2006, Berea

CSXT 5213 (GE ES44DC) leads GE C40-8W's 7850 & 7322.

9th December 2006, Berea

This pair caught me out (I was busy videoing a train coming the other way!) but nonetheless I still managed a reasonable (and little a different) shot!

CSXT 8860 (SD40-2) & 7636 (C40-8) power past "wrong line" westwards.

9th December 2006, Berea

The sun was a bit far round to make shots of eastbound workings worthwhile but this one has the unusual aspect of including a "B-unit" (a cabless loco), just visible second in the consist.

BNSF 4848 (C44-9W) & 340 (SD60B) lead BNSF 8701 (GP60 in Santa Fe blue/yellow), CSXT 5250 (ES44DC) & 8611 (SD50).

10th December 2006, Brittain Yard, Akron

A local enthusiast I'd been put in touch with offered to take me on a bit of a tour round the area on the Sunday - an offer I was quick to accept as it took me to places I'd never have found on my own.

WE 105 (EMD GP35) is seen here stabled in the former ACY (Akron, Canton & Youngstown RR) Brittain Yard.

10th December 2006, Brittain Yard, Akron

WE 3048 (EMD SD40-3) was also stabled in the yard.

10th December 2006, Peninsula

Part of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic RR fleet, captured at the CVSR site in Peninsula, this GE 44 tonner was, I assume, never actually part of the B&O fleet as painted. It in fact began life as USAF 1243 (S/N 31881 dating from 1953).

10th December 2006, Cleveland

Something we don't have in the UK - a "slug". Slugs are un-powered units which retain their traction motors and thus, when driven by another locomotive, provide additional traction.

NS 992 is now classed as a RP-E6Y. In it's previous life it was in fact an Alco RSD-12, originally belonging to the Nickel Plate RR (no. 328) and rebuilt to a slug by NS in 1981.

10th December 2006, Cleveland

The mate loco for NS 992 was this 'high hood' EMD SD40.

10th December 2006, Cleveland

J & M Locomotive Inc (AAR code JDNX) are a very small operator with just a handful of locos to their name, including this EMD GP10 numbered JDNX 80. This is an "any further info will be gratefully received" photo as I have been unable to confirm the loco history!

10th December 2006, Berea

As we weren't too far from Berea we called in for a short while and caught this CSX westbound working with ES44DC CSXT 5221 & 7328 (C40-8W) in charge.

10th December 2006, Flats - Cleveland

The Flats Industrial RR looked to have only two locos to their name, both SW9 switchers.

Here FIRR 1202 sits behind fencing (presumably to prevent vandalism) up against a lift-bridge that gives access to part of their "territory" of sidings.

10th December 2006, Collinwood Yard

I was told only two locos still retained the former Chesapeake & Ohio "Chessie System" livery/branding at this time. Whatever the case, here's one of them - CSXT 9122 - which is now a remote-control unit (RCPHE4). I've no further information on the origin of this loco.

10th December 2006, Collinwood Yard

Helm Leasing power was much in evidence, led by HLCX 9035 (SD40-2). This loco had painted over "Morrison Knudsen" branding suggesting this was a one-time rebuild by M-K.

10th December 2006, Collinwood Yard

CSXT 7551 (C40-8) & 8553 (SD50) lead a freight into the yard.

10th December 2006, Collinwood Yard

...and 591 (GE AC44CW) brings up the rear of the power trio.

10th December 2006, Collinwood Yard

Don't be fooled, this Conrail isn't Norfolk Southern but is CSXT!

GP40-2 CSXT 4420 sits in the yard.

10th December 2006, Collinwood Yard

Brand new GE power heading for Mexico! FXE 4647 was in a freight consist.

10th December 2006, Collinwood Yard

..as was Kansas City Southern de Mexico 4656, still in undercoat.

10th December 2006, Collinwood Yard

..and FXE 4645.