Coal train exits Portage Tunnel at Gallitzin

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Empty coal train approaching Gallitzin

I talked to the Alto tower operator and he said that the empty hopper train that I had photographed near Altoona would be the last train up the hill for several hours. The new Conrail was trying to concentrate more trains moving over the former NYC water level route to avoid the grades of the Pennsy. I jumped into my car and drove up to the summit. I am up on the hill at Gallitzin looking east toward Benny on September 6, 1976. Approaching is Extra 6018 West. At the time, there were three tunnels under the mountain. The first tunnel (Gallitzin Tunnel) was completed in 1850. The second tunnel (Portage Tunnel), which is directly below me, was opened in 1854 and used primarily by eastbound trains. A third tunnel (Allegheny Tunnel) was added next to the first tunnel in 1902. The track going off to the right at the base of the picture is the start of the New Portage branch down to Hollidaysburg. This branch line was abandoned in 1981.

Coal train exits Portage Tunnel at Gallitzin Coal train exits Portage Tunnel at Gallitzin

From nearly the same spot, Extra 6114 East starts down the hill with a loaded coal train on June 25, 1980. Disk 121