Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Curve in Altoona

Being mild train buffs, our family decided to travel further east than we had planned to a famous train spot called The Curve. The Curve, a National Historic site, was built well over 150 years ago as a means to cross a gulch and climb a hill without a very large and expensive bridge with an unclimbable grade.

The line was being laid from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh when this marvel of engineering was built. Up this point it was an unproven theory that a rail line could curve this much, but the engineers and builders of this line proved it could be done.

The Curve was also on the top 10 targets of Nazi infiltrators during the Second World War due to its importance for shipping, troop and passenger transportation during the 1940s. Today it is still considered one of the manmade wonders of the United States and hundreds of trains travel along the Curve each week. It averages one every twenty minutes and has never had a day off since it opened! Many people climb or ride a small electric tram to top of a crest where they can watch the trains travel the Curve up close, as our family did.

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