Tyrone awards contracts for train spotting deck
By William Kibler
TYRONE — At a Borough Council meeting this week, Manager Ardean Latchford reported hearing that Tyrone was “the place to go” to watch trains in the 1960s and 1970s.
At the same meeting, the borough awarded a pair of contracts that could help make it so again.
It will pay D.C. Goodman & Sons of Huntingdon $16,400 to install handrails on an unused railroad bridge near the Ninth Street pedestrian bridge to create an observation deck for the Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad tracks nearby.
And it will pay Maines Engineering & Construction of Tyrone $14,500 to construct a pavilion next to the Tyrone history museum at the mainline rail station to protect railfans from the weather as they watch the Norfolk Southern and Amtrak trains pass by.
“I love the idea of an observation deck,” said Councilman Dave Snyder. “It makes the borough unique.”
Upon hearing of the plans, some photographer friends “almost salivate,” Snyder said.
He didn’t mention that over-the-top railfans are sometimes known as “foamers.”
When the Nittany & Bald Eagle sends a train by, as it does once or twice a day, occupants of the observation deck will be right there,” Mayor Bill Latchford said.
The old bridge, which at one point carried the mainline, but which no longer has rails or ties on its concrete base, runs from the back of the Reclamare property to Ninth Street, just south of its intersection with Logan Avenue, according to information provided by the manager, the mayor and Google maps.
The center of the bridge appears to be about 80 feet from the Nittany & Bald Eagle line, which runs on a curve just beyond the Ninth Avenue pedestrian bridge.
The borough plans to provide notice of the Nittany & Bald Eagle train schedule to accommodate the railfans who want to use the observation deck, the mayor and manager said.
Goodman will build the railing in 36 sections, attaching them to existing rails and posts on the bridge, according to a proposal provided to meeting attendees.
The 15-by-24-foot pavilion will be constructed where there are currently picnic tables, and will feature a metal hip roof to match the roof of the museum, the manager said. The borough will pay for the project from its recreation fund.
The borough also allocated about $9,000 for GHD engineering to procure permits to enter the Little Juniata River for the observation deck project and the planned rehabilitation of the pedestrian bridge.
Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.