Vacationers and train enthusiasts looking for cultural and historical places to visit will enjoy visiting the town of Altoona, Pennsylvania. This cultural hotspot is located within 25 miles of Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historical Site, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site, Staple Bend Tunnel (America’s first railroad tunnel), and the historic iron furnace at Mt. Etna. This post focuses on another railroad attraction: the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum.
The number of historic railroads around Altoona is somewhat surprising—one wouldn’t expect such a small town to be such a hub of transportation. The town itself was founded by the Pennsylvania Railroad and was home to a major locomotive and rail production factory. Altoona Works was for many years the largest railroad shop in the world. It’s no surprise that a museum was built to honor the many employees who worked on America’s railroads.
The Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, which is dedicated to commemorating and interpreting railroaders’ contributions to American industry, opened in 1995. The museum has a variety of informative and well-rounded exhibits about the history of the steam engine industry and Altoona’s part in it. Two twenty-minute films show in the museum’s theater, and you’ll love the interactive exhibits that let you experience railroader life. Kids will love the playroom, filled with model trains and train tracks.
Once you’re finished with the museum, take your RV rental to the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark. Horseshoe Curve is a masterpiece of mid-19th-century engineering. This kilometer-long section of track makes a 220° turn at the Allegheny Mountains, and it allows trains to make a much shorter journey across this Pennsylvania mountain range.
The $10 ticket to the Railroaders Memorial Museum will also allow you to ride the Funicular that runs to the level of the Horseshoe Curve, where you’ll be able to watch the trains pass by—and you’re bound to see at least one, since 51 trains traverse Horseshoe Curve daily. The views from Horseshoe Curve are spectacular—you’ll enjoy this unique view of the wilderness around Altoona.
Railroad buffs will love visiting the town of Altoona, but there are many more places to visit in Pennsylvania. Why not get a travel trailer rental from Freedom RV Rentals? We’re committed to providing customers with high-quality, affordable motorhomes and pop-up campers. Contact us today at (814) 695-9408 and you’ll be well on your way to a great vacation.