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Everett Railroad

Come along for scenic rides through the farmlands of Morrisons Cove, historic Roaring Spring, and along the banks of the Juniata River. The Everett Railroad operates a variety of excursions throughout the year, including Fall Foliage trains, Santa trains, and other events as well!

Everett Railroad

The Everett's most recent expansion has been into the tourist business. A new passenger station modeled on Pennsylvania Railroad originals was constructed in Holidaysburg, and the Everett now offers Halloween, Christmas, and Easter trains, among others. The railroad has completed the overhaul of its former Bessemer & Lake Erie combine #23 and is working on several coaches, relying in the meantime on cars leased from the Horseshoe Curve NRHS chapter.

Washington DC chapter of the National Railway Historical Society

Pennsylvania tourist hauler

The Everett Railroad Company operates 23 miles of former Conrail (ex Pennsylvania, Penn Central) trackage in Blair County, Pennsylvania, near Altoona. The current Everett Railroad borrows the name of a previous shortline in a different location, and is itself the consolidation of several different shortlines that operated former Conrail branchlines in the area. Freight and tourist operations make use of two separate rail lines: one from Brooks Mill to Sproul and another from Roaring Spring to Curryville and Martinsburg. From Brooks Mill north, both lines connect to an interchange with Norfolk Southern in Hollidaysburg and the Everett's office and shop complex in nearby Duncansville. Seasonal tourist excursion service is offered utilizing both steam and diesel motive power, as well as a growing fleet of heavyweight passenger equipment -- including historic combine #23 from the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad.

See also our complete Everett Railroad shortline collection for diesel and freight photos
Everett Railroad expansion planned in Hollidaysburg

Project includes station to allow recreational rides

January 25, 2015

Hollidaysburg residents and visitors may soon be riding the rails because of a planned Everett Railroad Co. expansion along Loop Road that includes plans to build structures to facilitate public excursions - an undertaking likely to cost about $1 million. Alan Maples, Everett Railroad's owner, said the expansion includes building a 1,000-square-foot railroad station and a restroom facility, measuring about 500 square feet, on the south side of the railroad's Hollidaysburg property.

"It's nothing too big, but it will meet the need," Maples said. "It's been in the back of our mind for a long time."

Maples said few places exist that allow short, recreational train rides, and he felt Hollidaysburg - being closer to highways and larger population centers - was a good location to build in order to allow members of the public to take hourlong, round-trip rides.

"We wanted to let a younger generation come out and ride trains," Maples said. "We felt like Hollidaysburg would be a good location to do that."

Destinations have not been decided, Maples said, but they could include places like Roaring Spring and Martinsburg, among others. A schedule will be posted to the company's website when it is determined, he said. For now, excursions are planned to run only on select occasions. It might not be clear where riders will travel, but Maples said he knows how they'll get there. Maples revealed that his company has been collecting antique trains and equipment, some dating to the 1920s, and he's working toward restoring equipment that will be used at the Hollidaysburg location.

"It's quite a process to restore some of those old trains," he said. "We're working on the equipment now. We're taking our time and doing it right."

In addition to new construction, Maples said the project also includes rail rehabilitation and lighting and security improvements at the site, which currently provides storage for the company's freight business.

"We have quite a bit of freight that comes through there," he said of the Hollidaysburg location.

The company now operates 23 miles of track, transporting grain and feed ingredients, pulp, paper, lumber and other industrial raw materials and manufactured goods. Maples said Everett Railroad has already invested about half a million dollars on the project, and it is likely that another half million will be needed before completion. All expenses are to be financed internally.

"It's hard to budget for because you never know what you're going to get into," he said.

While equipment restoration is underway, Maples said construction at the site should begin as soon as winter weather breaks, and he speculated that construction could be complete by the end of summer, though no concrete date was set. Maples said there are also plans to eventually build a walking path that would lead from the new station to Canal Basin Park.

"We haven't done the engineering on that yet," he said. "That will be in the works for after completion."

Hollidaysburg Borough Manager James Gehret said the expansion is a welcome addition to the borough, but Hollidaysburg won't see much revenue as a direct result of the build because railroad property is not taxable by the borough. A Blair County Assessment Office employee explained railroads are considered public utilities, and railroad taxes are paid to the state through the Public Utility Realty Tax Act System. Gehret said he believes some of that money is then redistributed to the municipality. Still, Gehret said he thinks the borough will benefit from the addition because it should draw in visitors and tourists' dollars.

"Probably, most of the benefit would just be some of the exposure that Hollidaysburg will receive," he said, explaining that visitors to the railroad station might spend money at other Hollidaysburg locations. "Maybe they'll have dinner in town or something. We're really looking forward to it being built and it being in the borough."

Sean Sauro - Altoona Mirror

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This page was updated on 2016-09-12