|Nickel Plate Road 765; Horseshoe Curve, Altoona, Penn.; May 26, 2013|
|NKP 765; Mifflin, Penn.; May 26. 2013|
|NKP 765; Mapleton, Penn.; May 26, 2013|
Using the lengthy stop to board passengers at Lewistown to get ahead of the train, I went off seeking the next shot. The story of the trip was the locomotive was running on the former Pennsylvania Railroad, and not many photo props say "Pennsy" quite as well as the classic position light signals that were unique to the railroad. A set was found between Mount Union and Huntingdon at Mapleton, and the train was duly recorded.
From Huntingdon the tracks swing north through Tyrone while U.S. 22 makes a straight shot into Altoona. From Mapleton I headed directly to the signature shot of the trip, Horseshoe Curve. I knew it would take some hiking to get to the location here -- what I was not prepared for was the amount of other photographers here. Parking was a problem, resulting in a long walk, and then it was hard to find a location that wasn't occupied by someone else on the slick hillside overlooking the curve. I had no sooner found a place to wedge myself into than the whistle could be heard, a lot sooner than expected. Nonetheless, I got the shot (top of this post).
|NKP 765; Altoona, Penn.; May 26, 2013|
|Norfolk Southern; Huntingdon, Penn.; May 26, 2013|
The next shot up on my agenda was another classic Pennsylvania Railroad location -- the tower at Huntingdon, which is now a museum. I knew the eastbound train would be a tough shot in the afternoon light, but I was hopeful. While waiting, two nicely lit westbound freights showed up. Unfortunately, the light only got worse and worse here for the 765. Reluctantly, I decided that the shot would not be doable. Where to go next...
|NKP 765; Mount Union, Penn.; May 26, 2013|
Another shot on my wish list was just about 20 miles east -- crossing the Juniata River at Mount Union. The angle here was more broadside, and the tracks were oriented slightly more towards the south than at Huntingdon, so the uncooperative afternoon light wouldn't be a big issue. Amtrak's Pennsylvanian rolled through westbound to keep the large photo line entertained while we waited, and then 765 made its appearance crossing the Pennsy arch bridge.
|NKP 765; Port Royal, Penn.; May 26, 2013|
Light was getting tough everywhere for the eastbound chase. Using the passenger unloading stop at Lewistown to get ahead again, the best light that could be found was an across-the-field shot just east of Port Royal. Once again, broadside lighting saved the day, and an old barn added to the scene.
|Nickel Plate Road 765; Duncannon, Penn.; May 26, 2013|
|Norfolk Southern; Port Royal, Penn; May 26, 2013|
|NKP 765; Mifflin, Penn.; May 27, 2013|
|Nickel Plate Road 765; MG Tower, Altoona, Penn.; May 27, 2013|
|MG Tower; Altoona, Penn.; May 27, 2013|
The train would proceed to the top of the grade at Gallitzin just to the west and turn on the loop rack there to come back downhill and continue east. While this was going on, there was time to check out the long-closed structure and get some photos.
|NKP 765; MG Tower; May 27, 2013|
Following an eastbound freight, the steam special headed back down the hill for its layover in Altoona. However, many photographers did not follow the train back down into town. Word was out that a very special visitor was in the area.
|Norfolk Southern; Gallitzin, Penn.; May 27, 2013|
One of Norfolk Southern's colorful heritage units, this one honoring the Virginian Railway, was leading a westbound train. With clouds building up, I headed to the west end of the Alleghany Mountain tunnels near the summit of the grade at Gallitzin and waited. After getting the shot here, I chased the train into Cresson for another shot before returning back to look for 765 and its westbound move.
|Norfolk Southern; Petersburg, Penn.; May 27, 2013|
By now the weather was universally blah, so I headed to Petersburg, the end of a long straight section of track. Delays in Altoona made the 765 late, but a nice parade of trains through Petersburg kept the crowds entertained. Most of the people gathered were non-railfans, and it was interesting hearing them yell "here it comes" every time a headlight appeared at the end of the straightway -- I could tell three miles away that it was yet another freight. The opposite direction from the straighaway presented a nice curve for photography.
|NKP 765; Petersburg, Penn.; May 27, 2013|
Finally smoke appeared at the end of the tangent (although most of the people gathered claimed it was yet another freight; the single headlight gave it away) and 765 came drifting through as it was heading down a slight grade towards the Juniata River at Huntingdon. Amtrak's Pennsylvanian was just out of Huntingdon, so I stuck around for that before making one last attempt to overtake 765.
|Nickel Plate Road 765; Newport, Penn.; May 27, 2013|