Allegheny Portage Railroad, Cresson

4.7
#57 of 115 in Historic Sites in Pennsylvania
The Allegheny Portage Railroad was the first railroad constructed through the Allegheny Mountains in central Pennsylvania, United States. It was a series of 10 inclines, approximately 36mi long, and operated from 1834 to 1854. It connected two canal divisions of the Main Line of Public Works of the Pennsylvania Canal from Johnstown on the west to Hollidaysburg on the east, thus allowing continuous barge traffic between the Ohio and the Susquehanna rivers. Considered a technological marvel in its day, it played a critical role in opening the interior of the United States beyond the Appalachian Mountains to settlement and commerce. It included the first railroad tunnel in the United States, the Staple Bend Tunnel, and its inauguration was marked with great fanfare.Today, the remains of the railroad are preserved within the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service. The site was established on in 1964 and is about 12mi west of Altoona, in Blair and Cambria counties.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
72 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • July 19, 2017
    We visited this historic site in the fall. The museum was interesting and included hands-on exhibits for children, as well as many photos and stories which we enjoyed. The walk through the woods was p...  more »
  • June 30, 2017
    When the Allegheny Portage Railroad went into operation in March 1834, it was hailed as a great technological feat and an engineering marvel. For the next 20 years the railroad hauled passengers, carg...  more »
  • June 22, 2017
    A great movie in the visitors center to orient you to the visit. A slight walk to see the tracks, the wheelhouse and the tavern. A ranger to give details and insights at every important place. Never r...  more »
Google
  • June 26, 2017
    One of the best national parks I've seen. As a lifelong PA resident, this visit ties up several loose ends of Pennsylvania state history for me.....coach, portage, rail, primitive auto travel, Turnpike, modern Interstate system. Awesome visit, enhanced by a dedicated and well prepared NHS Staff. Thanks! BJB
  • June 22, 2017
    History comes alive! Beautiful restoration work and knowledgeable Park service personnel. Great with kids.
  • November 8, 2016
    I'm pretty proud of my historical awareness, and I'm fairly confident of my understanding of how things came about. My father was a big fan of the railroads and engines, so I grew up very familiar with our RR history, and we visited almost every major and minor train station, depot, service, and engineering areas. When I visited this site, I was floored by the history of this place and the mission to cross the mountains. My friend, who didn't care a lick about history found the site informative and interesting. We enjoyed the boardwalk trail and our ability to roam around a beautiful woodland area, seeing where the path was cleared, and exploring the surrounding area. When we discovered the historical buildings, we were thrilled by how the past was recreated and preserved. A wonderful surprise for us, plus a very enjoyable day spent in a beautiful location.
  • April 20, 2017
    A national treasure. The staff and park rangers are very knowledgeable. Be sure to check out the Staple Bend Tunnel near Johnstown too!
  • March 20, 2017
    Great historical site, knowledgeable employees, hiking trails, picnic facilities, public programs and living history demonstrations. Live music on weekends in the summer.

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