Over the second weekend of May 2018, I made a trip to the Altoona area of Pennsylvania. My initial plan was to photograph and chase the PRR E-Units on their final mainline excursion, but unfortunately that outing was cancelled due to new Amtrak policies that stated they would no longer charter trains. In spite of this, my hotel room was non-refundable, so I figured I'd go up anyway and enjoy the weekend photographing the usual traffic on Norfolk Southern's Pittsburgh Line, one of the busiest in the nation.
I had planned out a series of photo locations, with the first one being the small hamlet of Tyrone, PA. During my drive up on the interstate, I drove between two massive thunderstorm cells, one on each side of the highway. Upon arriving at the train station in Tyrone, I was greeted by a warning siren going off throughout the town. Concerning at first, but a bit of research showed that this siren was simply a "severe weather" warning due to the storms rolling over the mountains. The rain was on and off, but I still managed a series of photographs. The first train to roll through was manifest freight 11E. It arrived so quickly, I didn't even have time to set up my camcorder!
Hot on the heels of 11E was intermodal train 23M, which got slower and slower as it went by. If I understood the scanner chatter correctly, it was taking the third track to meet another train.
Behind 23M was train 60N, a steel slab unit train, known for needing many helper engines to get over the grade west of Altoona.
By this point, the weather had started deteriorating, and due to the storm clouds, my scanner range dropped considerably. This meant I was unable to identify most of the rest of the trains I saw over the course of the evening, though I of course continued to capture pixels.
Continuing the westbound parade, we had Amtrak's Pennsylvanian make its stop at the tiny Tyrone "station" area.
Another unidentified westbound intermodal
While it had rained a bit earlier in the afternoon, it wasn't until after Amtrak departed that the skies really opened up. As such, the next train was photographed from inside the small shelter on the platform.
The catch of the day turned out to be this Operation Lifesaver engine, leading yet another westbound intermodal train, which I was unable to identify.
Finally, the last three trains of the evening were eastbounds. The fading light didn't afford much in the way of close-up pictures, but distant shots turned out rather well I thought.
A video of the Operation Lifesaver unit and one other train is linked below (unfortunately the videos of most of the other trains didn't turn out terribly well). Please stay tuned for Parts 1 & 2 from Day 2 of my Pennsylvania trip, and as always, thanks for reading!