View Full Version : Horseshoe Curve 150th Anniversary

03-11-2004, 10:35 PM
From the NS and NS West Slope Groups:

150th Anniversary Of "Horseshoe Curve"
Features Major Fourth Of July Tribute
Norfolk Southern and OSRAM SYLVANIA Engineer Lighting Extravaganza; This
Year's Event Will Trump the 1954 "SYLVANIA Big Shot"

ALTOONA, PA - With the commemoration of Horseshoe Curve's 150th
anniversary this year, the Railroaders Heritage Corporation today
announced that it will "pull out all the stops" with a major evening
spectacular on July 4th. This extraordinary event will be reminiscent of
the famous 1954 "SYLVANIA Big Shot," which featured the simultaneous
deployment of more than 6,500 SYLVANIA Blue Dot flashbulbs to light
Horseshoe Curve. This time, OSRAM SYLVANIA and Norfolk Southern will
provide technology, equipment and sizzle for the celebration of this
major transportation and engineering milestone in American history.

"We are excited to once again help bring notice to such an important
moment in American history," said Scott Cessna, executive director of
the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona. "In 1854, an enterprising
young civil engineer named J. Edgar Thomson opened the first railway to
scale the mighty Allegheny Mountains in Central Pennsylvania. To avoid a
sharp incline, which would be impossible for heavy steam trains to
manage, Thomson routed the right-of-way in a horseshoe shape, so the
rise would be gradual. The feat was considered a major engineering
masterpiece at the time and was pivotal to opening commerce across the
continental U.S."

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently recognized Horseshoe
Curve as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark during a
ceremony in Altoona.

"Horseshoe Curve is a vital component of Norfolk Southern's 22- state
freight rail network," said David R. Goode, Norfolk Southern's chairman,
president and chief executive officer. "The 150th year of operation of
this American industrial and engineering landmark, its role in the
westward expansion of the U.S. and its continuing importance to the
national economy are certainly deserving of celebration."

Today, an average of 60 Norfolk Southern freight trains and four Amtrak
passenger trains operate over Horseshoe Curve daily. This volume
translates into more than 100 million gross tons of freight annually.
Commodities coming through Horseshoe Curve include mail, consumer goods,
coal, finished automobiles, construction material and agricultural

SYLVANIA technology continues to focus public awareness on the
remarkable feat of engineering that Horseshoe Curve represents. In 1954,
SYLVANIA and the Pennsylvania Railroad captured the imagination of
children and adults alike with the illumination of Horseshoe Curve,
which was the sixth in a series of 18 photographic achievements known as
Big Shots. All 18 Big Shots were illuminated using SYLVANIA flashbulb
technology. Photographs of the 1954 event can be found at

"We recognize the historical significance of the anniversary of the
construction of Horseshoe Curve and are pleased to support the
recreation of the spectacle of the first lighting. As we did in the
past, we will be using the most innovative products available on the
market today," said Charlie Jerabek, president and CEO of OSRAM
SYLVANIA. "Many of the lighting products available through OSRAM
SYLVANIA today were developed within the last five years."

In order to provide the safest and most comfortable atmosphere for the
celebration, the event will be ticketed. Entertainment will be provided
the entire day both at the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona and
Horseshoe Curve, culminating with the lighting of Horseshoe Curve and a
display from Zambelli Fireworks Internationale - the "First Family of
Fireworks." Ticket information is available by contacting the
Railroaders Memorial Museum at 1-888-4ALTOONA.