The Railroad Sights Of Gallitzin, Pennsylvania
Little more than a speck in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountain region, Gallitzin offers a major draw to each railroad and history buffs. It’s the very mountains surrounding it, as soon as conquered with track, which sparked the engineering feats to be seen immediately.
Located midway between Altoona within the east and Johnstown in the west off of the appropriately-designated “Gallitzin” exit of US Route 22, the town itself, a borough bordered by Gallitzin Township and Tunnelhill in Cambria County, was integrated in 1872 and took its title from the prince who based close by Loretto.
Creating spherical coal and coke manufacturing, it ranks as the tenth-highest metropolis within the state, its topography mandating the very tunnels for which it is now recognized, since prohibitive grade, then beyond current engineering maturity, left little other option in the railroads’ quest for westward expansion.
Three space tunnels were ultimately bored through Gallitzin’s peaks. The first, the brand new Portage and positioned beneath Tunnelhill at a 2,167-foot elevation, was completed on December 10, 1852 after E. Rutter and Sons, contracted for the $500,000 challenge, manually attacked dirt and rock with shovels and picks with their 300-robust team. The second, the three,605-foot-long Allegheny and positioned at Milepost 248, was completed in 1854, and first used on February 6. Coupled with the Gallitizin, it is considered one of the “twin tunnels.”
The latter, constructed between 1902 and 1904, was employed, together with its Allegheny brother, by the Pennsylvania Railroad. They were the highest and longest engineering feats of the time, enabling the railroad, after negotiating the Horseshoe Curve, to proceed its westward journey from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.
Its use, nonetheless, was now not wanted when the $25 million Conrail Pennsylvania Clearance Enchancment Venture, initiated because of the progressive loss of state-circumventing rail site visitors, lowered its flooring to offer clearance for double-stacked vehicles and widened it to accommodate dual-and dual-direction-track. Using extra technologically-advanced construction means than its nineteenth-century crew counterpart, the ninety-robust workforce accomplished the work in August of 1995, leaving the once-equal Gallitzin tunnel trackless and abandoned.
Gallitzin rail line ownership paralleled the possession modifications of the railroads themselves. The very quick-lived Penn Central, formed in 1968 as a result of the merger between the virtually-institutional Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central, yielded to Conrail via the bankruptcy process, itself created by the amalgamation of several faltering northeastern strains, such because the Erie Lackawanna, the LeHigh Valley, and the Studying. A twin buy of Conrail by Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation in 1999 ensured that its Pennsylvania routes, plying the tunnel by Gallitzin, have been maintained by Norfolk Southern’s Pittsburgh line. Most of its eastbound trains employ observe one through the new Portage Tunnel, while its westbound ones use track three through the Allegheny Tunnel. The latter’s track two can be used for both.
The tunnels facilitate each passenger and freight transport. Amtrak, for example, routes 4 day by stone island badges patches day trains via them. Coal vehicles, destined for powerplants, journey easterly and return empty for further replenishment by Pennsylvania’s coal mines, whereas half of its operations transfer intermodal shipments to the Midwest, significantly to Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas Metropolis.
Gallitzin Tunnels Park and Museum:
The realm’s railroad heritage will be skilled-in motion-at the Gallitzin Tunnels Park and Museum. Its Community Heritage Museum, sharing the center with borough places of work, the library, and the police station, shows railroad memorabilia and mannequin trains and reveals the “As soon as Upon a Mountain” film in its 24-seat theater room.
The park, situated throughout the road, between the museum and the precise tunnels, features a restored, 1942 Pennsylvania Railroad NSC caboose. Initially built in Juniata Shops and acquired from Conrail, the automotive, bearing number CR23081, options a 36-foot size, ten-foot width, 15-foot peak, and forty-inch wheel width, and was restored by Pennsylvania Railroad volunteers. Its interior, alive with radio transmissions from trains using the tunnels, sports sign lights, an air brake system, sleeping quarters, a relaxation space, a pot bellied stove for heat and cooking, and the caboose-characteristic cupola.
An commentary platform overlooks the as soon as-equivalent twin tunnels-the Gallitzin, on the left, sporting its authentic top and width, but now trackless with solely its dirt bed remaining, and the Allegheny, on the correct, displaying its larger and wider “mouth” and projecting two tracks.
Frequent operations, detailed by the Norfolk Southern prepare schedule obtainable within the museum and listing times, origins and locations, and sorts of freight, guarantee practice identification, whereas the tunnel’s nearly-echoing effects amplify their power, sending vibrations, by way of the ground, proper to the observer’s feet.
Allegheny Portage Railroad:
Solely a mile from the Gallitzin Tunnels Park and Museum is another important sight, the Allegheny Portage Railroad. Just like the tunnels themselves, it was one of many 19th century’s major engineering feats.
Though the nascent United States supplied vital alternatives, its sheer dimension and lack of infrastructure equally provided vital obstacles, particularly to most of the European immigrants who had entered the nation by the use of its traditional New York-Ellis Island threshold and now wished to journey westward. Roads, of any type, traced their paths along the eastern seaboard, however had been separated by the imposing Appalachian Mountains, whose natural barrier was just about impenetrable. A bit of them in Pennsylvania, the Alleghenies, rose like a roadblock between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the few rudimentary trails over them-clogged, rough, and muddy-have been usually choked by the foot, horse, and wagon traffic laboriously inching over them.
Strung across the state and rising to thousands of ft, the mountains challenged engineers to conquer Stone Island Online them. Technology, nonetheless–in little extra of a sophisticated state than the country itself–was virtually nonexistent.
However the Conestoga wagons braving the mountainous traverse, tackling dirt, rock, gravel, and overgrowth, took 23 days to close the hole between the east and the west under probably the most splendid, dry-street conditions. One thing had to be done.
Waterway travel, providing sooner, obstacle-free transport by canal boats, demonstrated a marked enchancment in velocity, ease, and comfort, however the method’s integral element-the canals themselves-had been hardly in abundance, and never in the specified places. The answer, therefore, remained to dredge them, resulting in the optimum length and direction.
During the mid-1820s, New York State did just that, creating the Erie Canal, and, by 1825, it exerted four results:
1). It facilitated passenger and freight transport.
2). It diminished travel instances.
Three). It sparked an increase in trade, by means of its new route.
Four). It precipitated a corresponding reduction within the historically robust commerce associated with Philadelphia, because it was rerouted to western markets by way of the Erie Canal.
Transportation viability clearly signaled a lifeline, like an artery pumping blood, to a metropolis, and lack of it prompted it to die.
Alarmingly awakened by this reality, the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the Mainline of Public Works to start building of a trans-Pennsylvania water artery, operating in an easterly-westerly path and designated the “Predominant Line Canal,” to attach its two major cities. However the 36.Sixty five-mile stretch by the Allegheny Mountains, needed to close the hole between either end, proved an engineering obstacle.
An initially envisioned resolution–a 4-mile tunnel by means of the bottom of the mountain–was expensive, and expertise was thought of inadequate to even attempt it. Questions concerning a tunnel-contained waterway additionally arose. While its vision was superior, technology was not.
Inspired by a hybrid, intermodal British transportation system, it in the end determined to design its own mixture community to link the Hollidaysburg Canal Basin within the east with the Johnstown one within the west by means of ten, mountain-negotiating, inclined planes and fixed-elevation canals to serve as the full Main Line Canal’s core of connection. It was designated the “Allegheny Portage Railroad.”
Coupled with the already elaborate, state-owned canal system, which encompassed aqueducts, tunnels, reservoirs, dams, eighty two miles of railroad monitor, and 276 miles of waterway, it might dramatically cut back the journey time of passengers and items and restore the commerce lost to the competitive Erie Canal.
The three-12 months building challenge, accomplished on March 18, 1834, entailed the first rail tunnel, named Staple Bend and routed through the ridge at the top of inclined plane number one, reducing, by 2.5 miles, the distance the observe would in any other case have had to cowl if it had adhered to the valley’s natural route, while the plane itself was 1,608 toes long and had a corresponding, 150-foot elevation achieve.
Project costs included $sixteen.5 million for the public works system and $1.8 million for the railroad.
“Portage,” outlined as “overland transport between our bodies of water,” became the lacking hyperlink in the waterway stretching almost 400 miles between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Though possible and technologically profitable, the water-and-rail, multiple-elevation system offered gradual passage. Passengers and cargo, originating within the east and traversing the principle Line Canal in boats, have been transferred from the Hollidaysburg Basin to rail cars, which had been horse-drawn to the first grade. Hitched to a continuous cable, which moved over rollers between the rails, they were hoisted up the incline at a four-mph velocity, propelled by one in all two stationary, 35-hp steam engines installed under the engine shed’s ground at the top of the incline, often in conjunction with descending cars to achieve a counterbalance between the 2. The second steam engine served as a backup.
Descent speeds, aided by gravity, have been minimized by pulley-put in water brakes.
As many as six hourly trains might surmount the inclined airplane.
Of the ten of them, the quantity three was the shortest, at 1,480 toes and with a corresponding 131-foot elevation achieve, while the quantity eight was the longest, at 3,117 and 308 ft, respectively.
Threading their approach via the Allegheny Portage Railroad’s 36.65-mile mountainous part, canal boats climbed 1,398 toes and descended 1,172 feet, before being refloated in the Johnstown Basin for the western portion of the primary Line Canal journey to Pittsburgh.
Several enhancements, incorporating advancing technology, have been progressively launched.
Traditional, early locomotives lacked enough power to propel the freight-laden rail vehicles up the inclines, necessitating the stationary steam engines as an alternative. However, a yr after the Allegheny Portage Railroad had grow to be operational, the horses have been changed by locomotives for stage propulsion. The first, the “Boston,” carried out the equal work of 18 horses, and 16 others subsequently joined the fleet.
The “intermodal” nature of the operation took on new meaning when sectional packet boats, every weighing about 7,000 pounds, were introduced, splitting, like enormous cargo containers, and floating on to the incline plane-ascending railroad vehicles in either the Hollidaysburg or Johnstown basins, stone island badges patches three hitched to the continuous cable at a time within the decrease shed. The tri-section association, fitted with a spring-loaded friction brake behind it to preclude runaway situations, enormously reduced the inconvenience and switch instances inherent in the initial, repacking methodology, and facilitated continuous, cohesive transport from origin to vacation spot, regardless of the water or rail mode intermittently negotiated.
The 3.5-inch hemp rope initially used for towing, subjected to persistent wear and breaking, was replaced by a stronger line made of wire.
Indeed, by 1840, the earlier overland, trans-Pennsylvania journey had been reduced from 23 days to simply 4.
The pace of expertise, quickly proving itself sooner than the railroad, finally outran it and led to its demise, as ever-more highly effective locomotives and superior, topography-taming construction techniques facilitated more snug, fast, steady-observe competitors, which averted the slower interchange system.
Making an attempt to plug the gap-of inefficiency-between the Hollidaysburg and Johnstown Canal basins, the state of Pennsylvania began to exchange the inclined airplane with continuous, mattress-bound observe routed through a Gallitzin-proximity tunnel, designated the “New Portage Railroad,” thus relegating the original system and concept, in name, to the “Outdated Portage Railroad.”
Sufferer, itself, to technologically-outpacing competitors, it was bought on June 15, 1857 for $7.5 million by the Pennsylvania Railroad after legislature had permitted the sale of its Public Works Essential Line Canal, and was included into its personal track network. Having accomplished its all-rail hyperlink between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh by the use of the new Horseshoe Curve and Gallitzin tunnels on February 15, it progressively siphoned off business from the slower, less-handy, and now-antiquated system, which operated at a loss. And, after two a long time, it was discontinued-a comparatively short span of time, however an extended one for development-and dismantled.
The Allegheny Portage Railroad’s success might be argued. Employing then-present know-how, it was innovative for its time and primarily based upon contemporary engineering techniques to surmount the topographical obstacles lying between the state’s two main cities. Although it didn’t capture the envisioned western markets, it considerably decreased travel occasions, provided increased comfort, facilitated commerce between the coal-producing towns within the west and the larger cities within the east, fostered westward inhabitants expansion, rekindled enterprise quickly misplaced to the Erie Canal route, supplied a residing laboratory for rising transportation technologies, and aided Pennsylvania in its development as an industrial state characterized by coal, iron, steel, and rail.
A small slice of this as soon as-progressive, intermodal, mountain-hurdling transportation system will be skilled on the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site.
Allegheny Portage Railroad Nationwide Historic Site:
Like the entire country’s nationwide historic landmarks, that of the Allegheny Portage Railroad is a preserved pocket of historical past, located in current time and not between the covers of a guide. When it had served its function, it was tucked into the annals of memory, having served as one of the steps man wanted to climb during his earthly ascent.
Its Visitor Heart, featuring artifacts, exhibits, and the appropriately-named “Allegheny Portage Railroad” film, displays a full-size locomotive model of the “Lafayette,” constructed by engineer Joseph York and having previously appeared on the Baltimore and Ohio Exhibit in Chicago in 1893 and the Louisiana Buy Exposition in St. Louis in 1904.
Adapted, in 1832, from Edward Bury’s British locomotive design, the 29,630-pound “Lafayette,” with a 12.5-inch cylinder diameter, 20-inch stroke, and 13-inch stack diameter, had a four-2-zero-wheel configuration and was ideally suited to the Allegheny Portage Railroad. By 1840, the sort pulled virtually two-thirds of all US trains.
A boardwalk leads from the Visitor Middle to inclined airplane quantity six via a chipmunk-inhabited forest and a stone quarry. Though no bonafide pit was ever discovered, archaeologists uncovered each ample broken stone and stone-slicing wanted for the railroad’s culverts, bridges, viaducts, engine house foundations, and stone sleepers. Holes created by hand-held drills ensured that the break within the stone could be straight.
The boardwalk terminates at the inclined airplane, which was 2,713 ft long and had a corresponding, 267-foot elevation achieve, leading to a 9.7-% grade. A reconstruction, it features the hill-ascending tracks, whose ropes were supported by idler pulleys put in at 24-foot intervals, leading to the mountain’s summit and therefore served as either the final airplane during ascent or the primary one during descent, depending upon the route of travel.
On the foot of the incline, a “hitcher” appendaged the westbound rail cars to the principle rope whereas a second one disconnected them at the highest within the engine home, after the quick climb, allowing them to be horse-pulled across the summit stage. The airplane’s hemp rope was 2.23 inches thick right here, although this had later been changed with the wire kind.
Despite the fact that the engine home exhibit itself is a reconstruction, it however serves to protect the unique’s basis and represents one in all ten such constructions located along the intermodal rail line. With the exception of the boilers, a lot of the equipment used to boost and decrease the trains was positioned beneath the ground stage, the hauling rope itself simply above the floor in order that they might pass over it within the engine house.
The equipment itself included the burden pit, a two-cylinder steam engine positioned on either side of the drive sheaves, three brick-encased boilers initially installed on the engine home’s facet, and the sheaves, ropes, and gear, the latter of which actually pulled the prepare-connected rope. Fired boilers supplied the 2 engines’ steam.
Attendants hitched and unhitched the rail vehicles, tended the engines and their boilers, and lubricated the gear and the bearings.
Also throughout the constructing is a full-dimension steam engine mannequin.
Cresson Summit marks the purpose the place trains first crossed the Allegheny Portage Railroad in 1834.
The stone, two-story Lemon House, located alongside the extent monitor, represents considered one of many such inns established because of the railroad with the intention to satisfy enroute passenger need for drinks, meals, and overnight accommodation.
Born in 1793 in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, Samuel Lemon himself bought his first 268 acres of land in 1826, constructing a two-story log tavern east of the Allegheny mountains’ summit on Northern Turnpike and succeeded it with the current stone structure in 1832. One in every of many entrepreneurs who had the foresight to anticipate passengers’ wants and apply his enterprise savvy to satisfy them, he additionally used the tavern and inn as his own house.
Subjected to several restorations, including south and east porch renovations, the removal of the storage, strengthened framing, front entrance restoration, and repointed exterior walls, the Lemon House, reopened in 1997, sports a furnished first ground, which represents its summer 1840 appearance.
Following the provided trail or the grassed incline in the alternative direction, immediately’s customer can access the Skew Arch Bridge. The one road bridge purposefully built for the Allegheny Portage Railroad, it was stipulated as “a stone bridge which will be required for the passage of the turnpike over the Rail Method on section quantity 36 for the Portage” by its unique contract, though its specs were modified in 1833 to facilitate a bend in the Huntington, Cambria, and Indiana Turnpike.
Rising to a 22.2-foot peak and constructed of damaged stone and stone sleepers from a bit of the actual railroad–hand-laid in a diagonal sample with out mortar adhesion–it options arches whose imposts were offset and put in immediately across form each other, producing, respectively, its 54.11- and 60.5-foot lengthy north and south elevations. Contrary to its name, it doesn’t have a tilted high.
The 901-foot-lengthy Staple Bend Tunnel, also within the park and created by Irish and Welsh staff between 1831 and 1833, is the nation’s oldest such railroad tunnel, and was used till 1854, when the Pennsylvania Railroad routed its monitor elsewhere. Right now, it invites hikers through its detailed stonework entrance and options sandstone arched strains.