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Event Details

Allegheny Portage Railroad Tour

  • 08 Oct 2016
  • Johnstown, PA to Holidaysburg, PA

You are Cordially Invited to join the Pennsylvania Canal Society and Canal Society of Ohio on an all-inclusive luxury motor coach tour of the Allegheny Portage Railroad on Saturday, October 8, 2016. The day long tour will run over Allegheny Mountain between Johnstown, PA and Hollidaysburg, PA.

We leave two hotels in downtown Johnstown to explore the Johnstown Canal Basin area. The busses will then take us up the mountain to the railroad tunnels at Gallitzin and to the Portage Railroad National Historic Site, with its museum, historic Lemon House tavern and depiction of the incline plane engine house. We will end the morning at the Hollidaysburg Canal Basin Park.

We will then travel to Roaring Spring to catch a special one-hour fall foliage excursion on the Everett Railroad to Martinsburg. Box lunches will be provided for the ride.

We will then return to Johnstown in the afternoon, driving back on the route of the Old Portage Railroad. Stops will be made to explore the foot of Plane 10 and Plane 8 at the Mule Shoe Curve of the New Portage Railroad. We will continue up through Blair’s Gap along Planes 7 and 6, and then drive down on Planes 5, 4 and 3. We stop at Cassandra railroad overlook, hoping to catch a view of Norfolk Southern Railway main line freight trains laboring up the hill through the deep cuts. We will then continue westward, driving on the route of the Old Portage Railroad, down Plane 2 into Portage. The road built on the old railroad alignment passes through several stone arch tunnels under the final route of the Pennsylvania Railroad. At Summerfield, we will divert to the Johnstown Flood Memorial, the site of the eastern canal reservoir dam that broke in 1889, causing the big flood. A 35-minute film at the museum dramatizes the devastation and loss of life caused by the flood. We will also get a special tour of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club clubhouse, currently under restoration. The busses will then return down the hill to Johnstown.

Check-in begins Friday evening at the Johnstown Flood Museum on Washington St. at Walnut St. Museum officers will present a film about the Johnstown Flood. Rooms have been reserved for the event at the Holiday Inn on Market Street at Vine St. and at the Econo Lodge on Napoleon St. at Haynes St. Both hotels are within walking distance of the Amtrak station. Consider coming by train! The schedule shows the Pennsylvanian arrives from Pittsburgh at 9:00am and arrives from Philadelphia, over Horseshoe Curve, at 6:00pm. A banquet at the Johnstown Area Heritage Center will follow the bus tour. We plan to provide an ethnic steel worker’s dinner catered by the Phoenix Tavern, located down the street from the mill. The talk about Johnstown steel heritage is guaranteed to keep everyone awake. The museum, with its dramatic steel heritage gallery, will be open for after hours viewing.

On Sunday morning, we offer a special tour of the Cambria Iron Works blacksmith shop. Anyone wishing to stay later may continue further exploration. Opportunities include a 2.7 mile walk or bike ride to the Staple Bend Tunnel or a loop walk down Plane 9.

Registration and detailed information will be available through pacanalsociety.org. This promises to be an exciting event. We look forward to seeing you there!


Dave Wright: wereallwright@gmail.com

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