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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Railfanning at State College?


Date: 06/28/22 13:17
Railfanning at State College?
Author: pwh

My son is taking my grandson later this week to Penn State for a freshman orientation and will have some free time. What railroad activity is in the close proximity to the college without going down to the Altoona area? Thanks

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Date: 06/28/22 13:25
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: Grover

Lewistown Station is 35 min East off of US 322; one of my favorite spots.  Norfolk Southern Harrisburg to Pittsburgh main line.  Amtrak Pennsylvanian stops there 3:45pm.



Date: 06/28/22 14:17
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: bigsavage

Tell your son that the first thing he'll have to do is leave State College, Lewistown is a good option, as is Tyrone, 35 minutes down I-99.
Nearby Bellefonte has an enginehouse and small yard for the Nittany & Bald Eagle shortline, there have been pics posted here in the past of a popular trackside brewpub there...



Date: 06/28/22 14:50
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: RuleG

Up to 2019, the Bellefonte Historical Railroad operated various excursions out of Bellefonte.  Some were short distance and others operated on the former PRR Bald Eagle Branch (now Nittany & Bald Eagle) north towards Lock Haven and south to Tyrone.  There is no information on the website about 2022 excursions, but your son may want to monitor the website for potential upcoming excursions to ride and/or photograph for future trips to Penn State.  Here's a link to the website:

https://www.bellefontetrain.org/tickets

The Nittany & Bald Eagle has some interesting street-running in Tyrone.  The NS Pittsburgh Line has an interesting curve just west of the Amtrak stop.

A bit further from State College than Tyrone and Lewistown, but definitely worth visiting now that steam is returning is the East Broad Top Railroad.

State College has been without trains since 1974 when the last Bellefonte Central train entered the Borough,  The Bellefonte Central freight station, across North Atherton Street from the Penn State University campus, still stands and is used as the bus station for Fullington and Greyhound.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/28/22 15:06 by RuleG.



Date: 06/28/22 15:25
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: Juniata

In addition to NS and Amtrak at Lewistown station, the Juniata Valley Railroad - a local short line - makes an appearance about three days each week. I think they normally run Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Lewistown Junction out to Burnham and from Lewistown Junction west to the Mifflin County Industrial Park.

JV has one switch engine in a PRR themed paint scheme and another that shows up from time to time in an Erie-Lackawanna themed paint scheme. JV’s yard, engine house and turntable are just to the west of Lewistown station off Roundhouse Road.

CW

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Date: 06/28/22 18:04
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: pennsy3750

The two closest points on NS are Tyrone and Lewistown; Tyrone was about a 20-minute drive from my off-campus apartment in State College.  Lewistown was about 30-40 minutes. Both also feature short lines. I have to ask, why he wants to avoid Altoona?  Its not like its a major city with tons of traffic. 

The absolute closest active rail line is the Nittany & Bald Eagle.  They work out of Bellefonte, north to Lock Haven and south to Tyrone.

The Buffalo & Pittsburgh in DuBois is about an hour from State College, that's a fun chase.  I understand the road jobs are no longer daily like they were when I was at Penn State.

Pennsy
PSU Class of 2008



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/22 09:56 by pennsy3750.



Date: 06/28/22 20:00
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: RuleG

Juniata Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> JV has one switch engine in a PRR themed paint
> scheme and another that shows up from time to time
> in an Erie-Lackawanna themed paint scheme. JV’s
> yard, engine house and turntable are just to the
> west of Lewistown station off Roundhouse Road.
>
> CW
>
> Posted from iPhone

The Juniata Valley and the Nittany & Bald Eagle are both in the North Shore Railroad Company group of railroads.  Another one, the Lycoming Valley, has locomotives painted in the Reading scheme.



Date: 06/29/22 11:52
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: toledopatch

pennsy3750 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have to ask, why he wants to avoid Altoona?  Its not like its a major city
> with tons of traffic. 

From the way it was written, I think he was hoping someone would point him to someplace hot but a lot closer than Altoona. Maybe Altoona is been-there-done-that in this case. Unfortunately, that combination exists no closer than Tyrone. Lewistown is also a good idea.

There are other rail lines within reasonable travel distance of State College, of course, but none of them is busy enough to go there blindly for just a few hours and expect to see anything moving.

If I were in his shoes and the situation accommodated it, I would go to either Tyrone or Lewistown first thing in the morning on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday and shoot whatever NS ran while hoping the local shortline went to work. But if it's the afternoon that's free around the college events, that gets trickier.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/22 11:54 by toledopatch.



Date: 06/29/22 13:34
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: pwh

He has been to Altoona and wanted to something closer to the University while his son is in orinatation. They have to drive back to Connecticut afterwords.



Date: 06/29/22 13:56
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: toledopatch

pwh Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> He has been to Altoona and wanted to something
> closer to the University while his son is in
> orinatation. They have to drive back to
> Connecticut afterwords.

OK, so looking at PSU's new-student orientation page, it appears your son will be free from late in the morning on Day 1 (after dropping grandson off at Penn State) until 5 p.m. on Day 2.

Assuming Day 1 is Thursday and Day 2 is Friday, this is my recommendation.

Thursday will be somewhat tricky because the day will already be in progress, but options include scanner-hunting in the Clearfield or Lock Haven/Williamsport areas or driving up to Johnsonburg, Pa., to catch the meet between the northbound and southbound road freights on the Buffalo & Pittsburgh. If you do well with this, you should know what's going on by the time the light starts to get good (roughly 3 p.m.). 

On Friday morning, I definitely recommend going after either the Nittany & Bald Eagle to Tyrone or the Juniata Valley out of Lewistown. I've never tried looking for the NBER before its approach to Tyrone; rather, I've always caught it in Tyrone and then chased the train north. What time it goes north is somewhat variable, depending on how much work they have and when the NS C42 interchange run shows up in Tyrone. The Juniata Valley, on the other hand, is easy to monitor while sitting at the depot in Lewistown, except that once they appear ready to leave, you'll want to get into town before they do.



Date: 06/29/22 14:00
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: eastpenn23

As a Penn Stater too, toledopatch has a good plan. I'd catch some NS action in Tyrone and then follow the NBER back to Bellefonte if you'd like. 

The NBER normally arrives around 9:00/9:30 and leaves by 10:30. That job is on duty at 7:00 out of Bellefonte



Date: 06/30/22 16:42
Re: Railfanning at State College?
Author: upsu

Assuming you're traveling Interstate 80 to and from,  the Reading and Northern's NRFF passes White Haven (Pa) around 5pm northbound and 8pm southbound, Sunday thru Friday.
The Powerhouse Eatery is right at the exit and a great place to eat.
White Haven is Exit 274



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