Sadly, Curve in decline
The Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark provides an excellent reason to spend a little time in the Altoona area.
When you learn about its method of construction and the reason for its existence, you cannot fail to be impressed.
I first visited it about six or seven years ago on my first visit to Altoona during one of my road trips.
I visited it again during a few days I spent in Altoona in June this year and was so disappointed to witness its decline.
You can still ascend to the viewing area, but the view of the track is limited just to what is in front of you.
You cannot see ascents nor descents behind you because the trees have been allowed to grow to such a size that the view is obliterated.
The trains just appear at the last minute. You would be just as well served if you stood by the railway line somewhere in downtown Altoona.
The spectacle of a long train going round the Curve is no longer available. The awesome construction task is no longer discernible.
I am told that the land on which the offending trees are growing is owned by Norfolk Southern and that many attempts have been made by people in the area to get the owners to open up the vista. No success so far.
As an English tourist who enjoys visiting your country on road trips, having much to do with baseball, food and old industrial sites, I am greatly saddened by what I saw at the Curve and hope that you will be able, as a community, to exert some pressure on Norfolk Southern to reinstate the spectacle.
On the other hand, I met some lovely people in Altoona during my stay and am very grateful for their kindness and helpfulness.