Passengers mill about the depot in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, as Everett No. 11 waits for its departure time. Both trips on this day were sold out.
During the past year I’ve written a handful of posting for the Akron Railroad Club blog about the restoration of Everett Railroad steam locomotive No.11.
But at the time it was just another story about a faraway piece of equipment.
Then my friend Adam Barr called and suggested we travel to Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, and chase No. 11 as it pulled one of the holiday season trains.
The only date that worked for both of us was a Sunday in mid December. No. 11 would pull two trips that day and we wanted to get both of them.
Adam had some familiarity with the Everett because he had operated a speeder over the line several years ago.
The locomotive and its train were sitting in the station when we arrived.
Our first series of photographs would be made from the nearby Pennsylvania Route 36 bridge over the tracks.
When we planned this trip, we thought we might get the locomotive operating with snow on the ground.
How nice it would have been to have made an image with a waiting steam locomotive sitting at a depot with the word “holiday” in its name.
But the unseasonably warm temperatures this month put the kibosh on that. Maybe next year.
If you’ve followed the No. 11 story, you know that it is a 2-6-0 built by American Locomotive Company in 1923.
It was expected to be sold for use in the sugar cane fields of Cuba, but that didn’t pan out.
Instead, No. 11 was sold to the Narragansett Pier Railroad in Rhode Island where it worked until 1938 when it was acquired by the Bath & Hammondsport in New York state.
Then it moved on to the Middletown & New Jersey in 1982. That company in turn sold No. 11 to the Everett in 2006.
It would be a nearly a decade before No. 11 was restored to operating condition and returned to revenue service.
The train had a combine and two coaches. It was an impressive-looking consist and you could easily believe that you’d been transported back to the 1930s when branch line passenger trains looked like this.
Chasing No. 11 was not overly difficult. The train didn’t travel all that fast and much of the time the tracks ran parallel with Reservoir Road.
The train ran as far as East Freedom, which is just beyond where the junction at Brookes Mill where the Everett separates into branches for Sproul and Curry. It is, of course, all former Pennsylvania Railroad territory.
At East Freedom, No. 11 ran around its train and ran tender forward back to Hollidaysburg.
We chased the second trip as far as East Freedom and decided to call it a day.
We drove to Altoona and had dinner at The Knickerbocker Tavern to which we were attracted because of it large selection of beers.
I was mildly amused that a tavern in Altoona in the heart of PRR country would have the same name as a former New York Central passenger train.
But the beer and atmosphere were great. The tavern is housed in a Philadelphia-style row house built in 1903 to provide housing for workers at the PRR’s nearby South Altoona shops.
The name came from the construction company that built the structure, not the NYC passenger train.
Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders
No. 11 had a nice looking train. Ignore the modern vehicles in the foreground and the building in the background and you might think it was the 1930s.
Getting up a head of steam after the conductor gave the highball command.
Getting underway with the first trip of the day out of Hollidaysburg. That’s the Blair County Courthouse in the background.
Putting on a steam and smoke show, the best we would see all day.
We found enough of an opening in the trees to get a decent shot from along Reservoir Road.
Rounding the curve as the train comes into Kladder and a crossing with Monastery Road.
Passing a Christmas tree farm, which was doing a brisk business today.
Passing through Kladder, which is the home of a monastery run by the Franciscan Friars.
The second run has just gotten underway and is about a mile from the Holidaysburg depot as it crosses Beaverdam Branch just before River Road.
Look what we found in the woods today.
The horses were in the barn lot rather than the field during the second run of Everett No. 11 and its holiday train.
Striking a profile pose while passing a pond alongside Reservoir Road.
Approaching the crossing Brooks Boulevard, which is nearly the end of the journey from Holidaysburg.