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“An A+ Grade...On A Curve”

Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark
Ranked #1 of 23 things to do in Altoona
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: An unusual construction of rail-building that enabled trains to move westward.
Kokomo, Indiana
Level Contributor
257 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 161 helpful votes
“An A+ Grade...On A Curve”
Reviewed 19 December 2012

I've heard of this place since the 90's but never had the chance to go until this year. This would have been a sight to see back in the days of Conrail and formerly Pennsylvania Railroad; it is now exclusively Norfolk Southern. However, the rail action does not disappoint on this triple-tracked panorama of rails. A time or two on occasion, three trains may pass through the curve simultaneously. The rumble of engines ascending the grade builds adrenaline for visitors waiting with cameras. Getting here is a bit tricky. It's five miles west of Altoona on a winding two lane road with tight turns though printed directions (from local businesses) are easy to follow. The curve sits a few stories above ground level. Entry is through a well stocked gift shop which leads to a marvelous museum on the curve's history. You have two choices...take a multitude of stairs to the top (well over 200 steps), or cruise up on a funicular to a spacious park with an observation deck and picnic tables to see the action. The view is outstanding at any angle with endless scenery. I was here for 3 hours and left only because I had to make another stop on my trip back home to Indiana. A railfan's dream.

Visited May 2012
1 Thank MrCrossIsBoss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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381 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Charles Town, West Virginia
Level Contributor
119 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Worth A Trip If You're In The Area”
Reviewed 19 November 2012

Have seen pictures of this remarkable engineering project and have read and heard about it, so it seemed worthwhile to check it out, especially because of it's tie in to other local history, including the Alleghany Portage Museum and while not super exciting (unless your a "Trainer") it is pretty neat to see, especially on a nice weather day when the view is beautiful. I wouldn't go too far out of my way for it, but if you're nearby, definately check it out!

Visited November 2012
Thank rickgmail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cresson, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
42 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 November 2012

This is a legendary place that I have visited since I was a small child. Just to see a train on the horseshoe tracks are awesome. You must walk the steps. Take your time though; there are a lot!

Visited October 2012
1 Thank Mary N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
135 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Worth a visit!”
Reviewed 5 November 2012

A bit off the beaten path, but worth a visit. We arrived on a sunny fall day and a train was going around the curve. Buy your tickets at the gift shop, then you go to another adjoining building where a little museum is where you can see some exhibits and read about how the curve was made, etc. There are two little 10-15 minute films to watch as well is a little tiny theater - one of the films was broken when we were there, but we watched the other one.

The tickets along with admission to the little on-site museum give you passage to ride the incline up the small hill to watch the trains come around the curve, a good vantage spot. You can also walk up steps to get to the top of the stairs. The incline is worth trying, one of the seats in one of the inclines, was broken, but you can stand or sit on one of the other seats in the incline car. There are picnic tables at the top of the hill as well as benches to sit and wait for a train. There is a P.A. system that announces when a train is coming, but the P.A. system was static and you couldn't understand a word they said. Anyway, there is a railroad car there on display too to look at as well as plaques to read about various things about railroad cars, etc. We didn't have to wait long to see another train come by. It was thrilling to watch. Some trains, I understand, are few to come by as another couple waiting to watch a train said they waited 6 hours one day for a train to come by. But we had the luck of the draw that day.

There are restrooms facilities inside the brick buidling, but they are 'green' toilets - no running water. The sinks have running water but beware, there are signs saying DO NOT DRINK THE WATER.

A fun day!

Visited October 2012
Thank MissLoisLayne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
36 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Must stop in Altoona!”
Reviewed 26 October 2012

We took a bus tour of the Altoona area and this historic site is a must stop when visiting the area. The staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. If you visit in the fall, you can also
enjoy the Autumn colors as a plus. Take some time to read the historical facts and buy something at the gift shop.

Visited October 2012
Thank pappynmimi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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