Our tour begins in Altoona, PA, the east end of the modeled portion of the line. In real life, Altoona was a major shop complex, where the Pennsylvania Railroad manufactured many of its own steam locomotives. The shop survives today, servicing the diesel locomotives of PRR successor Norfolk Southern.
On the layout, Altoona is primarily a staging yard. While I'm not trying to duplicate the city exactly, scenery will be evocative of the area.
Upon leaving Altoona, the line begins climbing a steady 2% grade toward Horseshoe Curve and the summit of the Allegheny Mountains.
Since the prototype station was long gone by the time period I model, I figured I could take some creative license and use this Atlas passenger station.
Eventually this area will contain the trackside visitor's center, reservoirs and steep mountains.
Upon leaving the curve the trains head for the Gallitizin Tunnels.
In the real world there are actually two tunnels in Gallitzin. In PRR days one track used each bore. However, under Conrail, one bore was enlarged to allow the passage of double stack container cars and other tall rolling stock as well as fit two tracks. The other bore was subsequently abandoned.On the layout both tracks will pass through one bore and the other bore will be omitted in the name
Cassandra is a tiny little town of a few hundred people just off Route 53. So why include it on the layout? Well, it's a really good place to watch trains and I've spent many a happy hour railfanning there with my dad.
This scene will include a short bridge across the Little Conemaugh River. The tracks will pass under an old bridge, which is now used by railfans, and the through a long rock cut.
Johnstown is also the start of a branch line to South Fork. This branch serves several industries as well.