As with every year, my birthday falls somewhere during Labor Day weekend. This year, I get to share this occasion with my girlfriend, as her birthday is within days of mine. We had talked about a getaway trip some weekend. With our kids activities, and stressful jobs, making time for a short trip isn’t always easy. But, this year, we made it happen.
This years trip was to Strasburg and Altoona, PA. A trip I have taken before, but when I was headed to Philadelphia for conductor training for Conrail 20 years ago, in 1998.
If you’re a rail fan, train goober, model railroader, etc., and in a new relationship, taking your better half on a trip to drool over trains is a good, or possibly bad, way to see if they can handle the “nerdiness” that comes with the hobby!
Driving to Strasburg, PA
The drive was decent, with no problems other than the torrential downpour we experienced outside of Bedford, PA. Just my luck, it was time for fuel too!
But, after about 8 hours of driving, we made it to our hotel, a nice Clarion that was only a few minutes from the railroad and museum. Our room was in what appeared to be an old house, or at least made to look like one. It was quiet and comfortable, and much needed after a long drive and a previous night of work for me before we left Dayton.
Miles Traveled – 1022mi. round trip
Strasburg Railroad and Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
The main attraction of the Strasburg Railroad is, of course, the train ride. The train is pulled by #90 a 1924 Baldwin 2-10-0, formerly on the Great Western Railway of Colorado and used to pull the sugar beet harvest.We rode in the first class lounge car, and it was a wonderful ride, complete with a small menu of snacks and drinks. The ride is about 45 minutes round trip, and runs about 5 miles to Paradise, PA through the Amish countryside.
We also took part in the shop tour, about 45-60 minutes, which is done once daily, at noon. It was a great education on what all the shops at Strasburg do to maintain their own equipment, as well as repair equipment from other railroads.
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania houses many pieces of restored equipment from some of the first steam locomotives, to the most recent being a Conrail EMD GP-30. Outside of the museum they have even more equipment that hasn’t been restored, but I didn’t go out to get too many photos.
Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum and Horseshoe Curve
The Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum is a great place to learn the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad and it’s history in Altoona. The museum is fill mostly with artifacts from the heyday of the Pennsy, as well as a few pieces of equipment in the new roundhouse and outside in the small yard. Most notable is the current restoration of the 1918 4-6-2 K-4 locomotive #1364 originally built in Altoona by the PRR for passenger service.
I didn’t get many photos at the curve since we needed to leave early. But I did get some video clips which will be uploaded to the YouTube channel.
And with some cool photos, and memories of an amazing trip with my girl, we headed back home to Dayton, OHto relax from the long drive and so I could get started on editing the photos and video.
The next road trip will be in November to Trainfest in West Allis(Milwaukee), WI. We’ll also stop in Rochelle for a few hours before heading home.
So, with that being said, please bookmark the site, follow Notch 8 Media on Facebook and Instagram, and share the page with other railfans! Thanks for visiting!