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5.20.2018

Cassandra Overlook: World-Class Railroad Overlook in Cambria County

The Cassandra Overlook is a place that is renowned in railfan circles, providing a stunning overlook of a straight-away section of the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line. We have traveled up and down the mainline, and this location sticks out as being one of the few true purely straight right-of-ways that are open to view throughout the entire old PRR Main Line/Norfolk Southern Pittsburgh Line. This provides some highly sought after sight lines and should be a stop for anyone who is into rail fanning, or simply in the area that has visited Horseshoe Curve, the Galitzin Tunnels, and the myriad of other rail fanning opportunities in the area. This spot is located in Cambria County, halfway between Altoona and Johnstown. 
The straightaway shows just over a mile of straight track. On our last visit we relaxed with some folding chairs for about two hours, soaking in some sun and taking in the endless parade of trains. In the time we were there, probably a dozen other people showed up, from places as far as North Carolina and New York. This is a highly sought after spot for rail fans, and rightfully so. With the straightaway views of over a mile on one side, and a slight curve on the other, this is an exciting place to sightsee.
Heading in both directions, you see the trains with multiple locomotives as they ascend and descend the challenging grades up and down the Alleghenies. You will often see multiple helper locomotives heading back and forth to join with approaching freight trains getting ready to make the climb.
On the other side of this old bridge, we can see the curve heading out of this straightaway. It is extra exciting to see a second train approach from the other direction.
Here you can see the dipping in and out of the clouds, which provides dramatic views as you look out over the mile of track.

An eastbound train transporting cars from somewhere in the midwest.

A lone helper locomotive 


A view of the bridge. It was built as a single lane automobile bridge, but was closed to traffic back in 1936. Since then, the bridge has attracted people who want to check out the breathtaking views from this spot.

A view from a chillier day.
A picnic area is located at the overlook, along with this old bridge, which is an absolutely excellent place to watch the trains. You can tune into the dispatch radio and find out what action is coming next. Be sure to check out this awesome spot. It is located a short distance from other awesome rail spots, including the famous Horseshoe CurveGallitzin TunnelsBennington CurveJohnstown, and more.

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