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Altoona Railway Museum Club: Horseshoe Curve NRHS - Memorable Moments from the Past


Memorable Moments from the Chapter's Past

This page was last updated on: March 06, 2017



January 23, 2007 Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:35, minutes from the November meeting were read and a motion to approve was made by Dan Moringiello and seconded by Dick Charlesworth.  The Treasurer's report was given.  Motion to accept was made by Larry McKee and seconded by Joe Harella.  Frank passed around a picture of the finished REX car that is now in the museum yard.  A thank you letter was sent to Jeff Muir (Plant Supervisor).  A discussion was started about the Thank You dinner for the guys that worked on the car.  Marzoni's was chosen to hold the dinner; Frank will contact them for a date in February.  Email notices will be sent out on date and time; others will get a phone call. The Chapter will pay for the workers and spouse; all others will pay their bill. Dick made a motion to
give each guy a $25.00 Sheetz gift card and invite him to bring the family on one of the Santa trips.  Motion seconded by Wayne Burket.  All voted in favor. 

Frank sent out an email for authorization to spend $xxx to proceed on the plow work for the Walter.  Frank spoke with George and he will move forward, no money down is needed unless he will need material. 

Dave mentioned to the membership that Dick and Denny have been working on the Duquesne. The windows are boarded up and painted.  Dick Charlesworth reported that he received a phone call from Kevin Moore a Chapter member who lives in Clarion. "The Bankers League", that is the sister to the Union League, is going to be scrapped and he asked if we had any interest in whatever might be worthwhile in the car. Most is gone, but Dick will contact Kevin to see if kitchen, bathrooms and windows are intact. Further information will follow.

Neil discussed that February 18th is the 60th anniversary of the wreck of the Red Arrow; the Museum is looking for anyone with information to put together a book. 

Roundhouse out to bid in 2 weeks, dirt piles are already out to bid.

Dave, Dan, Joey and Frank are progressing with the REA truck  Invoices are totaled in the amount of $xxx for parts in addition to the amount for tires. Dick made a motion that the Chapter reimburses Frank the amount of the invoices; George Thompson amended the motion to add $1xxx to the total. Cindy Moringiello seconded motion. All voted in favor.

Dick mentioned to the members that he plans to do some bus trips to reimburse the Treasury, Neil mentioned looking at a trip to Steamtown when the K-4 is ready to be set on its wheels. Some discussion followed as to when to do this trip.

Frank spoke with Jeff Yohn about Millennium doing work on the vestibules of our coaches. Jeff and Frank will need to look them over. Roof work will need done inside.  Neil commented that this could maybe be done next year when the round house is finished.  Frank's dad will paint the restrooms.

Dave Seidel mentioned that he spoke with Frank about doing a brief electronic Coalbucket for those on line, due to not having an Editor at this time. Frank can print a hard copy to send to the other members.

Dave Seidel also brought to our attention that RPN accepts donations to print on their Website stories like our REX story. Dave made a motion to donate $xxx from the Chapter. Seconded by Dick Charlesworth.  All voted in favor.

Dick will hold a Social meeting at his house for the February meeting. Motion to adjourn made by Len Alwine and seconded by Dan Moringeillo.


February 2007 Business Meeting

RAILWAY EXPRESS BOXCAR # 7375: You can still find this restoration on With the movement of the car to Railroader's Memorial Museum Dec 7th and the subsequent end-of-season, the public will not be able to view the car until season opening day, March 31st. However, it is visible from the Rail Walk along the NS mainline which is open to the public.

In the above photo by Millenium Rail Service, Hollidaysburg PA, their shop employees who worked on the car as volunteers "off-the-clock" are, l-r: Bob Mingle, Plant Supervisor; Matt Clapper, Blaster & Painter; Jim Yon: Painter & Stenciler; Jeff Yon: Blast-Paint-Lining Stenciler (Supvr); Tim Wombacher, Blaster; Ken Socie: Painter & Liner; Rich Pitcock, Blaster; Dave Clapper, Painter-Liner; Jim (Gus) Filegar, Painter-Stenciler. Horseshoe Curve Chapter is indebted to this guys for their superior work which has garnered many compliments from the railfan community on the world-wide-web. A THANK YOU dinner was provided on Sunday, February 11th, at Marzoni's Restaurant, Duncansville for these workers and their spouses.

As you know, the Chapter has owned the Union League Club for many years. In it's present state with a silver roof, maintenance-of-way utility yellow and black lettering, it is hard to envision what it once was. The above image, is the Union League Club as originally built to Plan # 3989, an 8-Section, Buffet-Lounge Car. As part of the "Club" series, sister cars were: National Press Club, Manufacturer's Club, Anthracite Club, Columbia Club, Buffalo Club, Athletic Club, Bankers' Club, Chicago Club, Cleveland Club, Racquet Club, Traffic Club and University Club. These cars were also known as Sun Parlor Lounges or Solarium Lounge Cars.

The Union League Club was manufactured by Pullman September 1929, leased to the PRR. Ice activated A/C. Sold to PRR 4/1948, leased and operated by Pullman. Assigned # 8628. Repainted Pennsylvania Red 7/1949. Withdrawn from Pullman lease Feb 1958; stored. May 1958: whitelined. April 1959: Assigned to MOW service as # 492386. Feb 1968 ownership assumed by PCRR. April 1976: ownership assumed by Conrail. June 1980: Sold to Railroader's Memorial Museum. Subsequently sold to Horseshoe Curve Chapter NRHS. Dec 2006: moved to Railroader's Memorial Museum for permanent exhibit/display/cosmetic restoration. Source: The Keystone, PRRTHS, Vol. 22, No. 2, Summer 1989.

FEBRUARY 2007 CHAPTER MEETING: This will be a social gathering at the home of Dick and Toni Charlesworth, 903 Penn St., Hollidaysburg, PA 16648 (814) 695-2201. Please note that this will be on WEDNESDAY, February 28th starting at 6:30 PM rather than the usual fourth Tuesday in Memorial Hall of Railroader's Memorial Museum. Please RSVP to Dick and Toni for head-count purposes for refreshments. Dave Seidel may show a few slides; there's nothing like a captive audience! This is the old-fashioned kind; no power-point presentations here.

RAILWAY EXPRESS AGENCY TRUCK: Work continues on this project on Saturday's and Monday nights at Frank's Auto Service if anyone has an interest in participating. This is a mostly Chapte project for Railroader's Memorial Museum.

PRR WRECK OF THE RED ARROW: February 18th will mark the 60TH ANNIVERSARY of this tragic wreck on Bennington Curve approximately 11 miles west of Altoona in 1947. Railroader's Memorial Museum will note this anniversary in a few days. Neil distributed copies of the ICC report on this event at the January Chapter meeting. These ICC reports are available on-line. Contact Dave Seidel for info if you do not have the information.

Director Dick Charlesworth is exploring a possible June bus trip to Strasburg. Watch for further info.

Neil Myers reported at the January meeting about progress on the K-4 restoration project, and has been making periodic trips to Steamtown. Work is accelerated under new project supervisor Mike Tilger. Super-heaters are being re-worked at EMS of Altoona, a new RMM partner. A hydro test of the boiler is forecast for end of Feb or early March, soon to be followed by the placement of wheels back on the locomotive. Work IS progressing nicely on this project.

RAILFEST - The annual railroad event hosted by Railroader's Memorial Museum, will be on a new date schedule for 2007...July 7-8, with the return of mainline excursions around Horseshoe Curve. Mark this on your calendar for the weekend following Independence Day. As most know, Chapter members are involved in staffing the excursions trains or other project. We hope everyone will be available to participate in some way.

Plans are underway for new member Joe DeFrancesco, age 16, to attend the NRHS Railcamp at Scranton this summer. Joe will be co-sponsored by Horseshoe Curve Chapter and Railroader's Memorial Museum. Unfortunately, he will have to leave for Railcamp on the second day of Railfest. In case you haven't met Joe yet, be sure to introduce yourself at the first opportunity. Joe is unable to attend monthly meetings until summer arrives, due to school requirements (Juniata Valley HS, Alexandria, PA).

CHAPTER COACHES: In need of some vestibule repairs. Research on this project and related costs is in progress.


March 28, 2007 Business Meeting

Railroader's Memorial Museum:  Opening day is about ten days away on March 31st ! As this is written, the dirt piles at the rear of the museum property are in the process of being removed in preparation of the much anticipated roundhouse construction.

Chapter members continue working on the Railway Express Agency truck. Most of the undercarriage, chassis, is completed and many mechanical issues have been addressed. Not quite ready for that test of all systems yet, but things are falling into place nicely.

Joe DeFrancesco and Joe Harella
Sanding REA truck fenders on 3-17-2007

The snow plow for the Walter Truck has been completed with structural re-building and just needs finish painting at this time. As the weather warms up, this will be accomplished in the near future.

CONGRATULATIONS TO CHAPTER MEMBER EUGENE BEARER OF EBENSBURG WHO WILL BE RECOGNIZED BY THE NATIONAL RAILWAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY THIS YEAR WITH HIS 25 YEAR PIN! 25 years doesn't sound like a long time, but it is a quarter-century. The years have certainly melted away as the Chapter approach number 39.

By now, all members should have received their March 2007 NRHS NEWS. There is a nice article on Rail Camp. As reported last time, an application has been submitted on behalf of new member Joe DeFrancesco, who will be co-sponsored by Horseshoe Curve Chapter and Railroader's Memorial Museum.

News from The Register, Hollidaysburg, PA June 14, 1893:  "On Monday evening the first electric car passed over the line between Altoona and Hollidaysburg. The run was made from the former place to our town in about thirty minutes. It is believed the run can be made in twenty minutes. The fare will be ten cents each way." [Source: Blair county Genealogical Society Newsletter Vol. 28 No. 1].

E-MAIL ADDRESSES:  Please be sure to keep your e-mail address current with President Givler and the Chapter Historian. This ensures that all communications, such as this one, will reach you on a timely basis.

A bus trip is being set-up by Chapter Director Dick Charlesworth.  Saturday, June 2, 2007 to Strasburg and Lancaster County attractions, primarily the Strasburg RR and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.  This will involve motor coach from Altoona to Harrisburg. Amtrak from Harrisburg to Lancaster on the newly re-built corridor to Philadelphia. Our motor coach will meet us in Lancaster and transport us to Strasburg for the above listed attractions.  Evening meal at the Good and Plenty Farm restaurant (family style).  Motor Coach return to Altoona.  $79.00 pp for Chapter Members and $84.00 for non-members.  At this writing the bus is already half-full.  If you have any interest, contact Dick Charlesworth ASAP at 814-695-2201, or 


 April 24, 2007 Business Meeting

Watch for the new book by local author Dennis McIlnay, "The Horseshoe Curve: Sabotage and Subversion in the Railroad City, " $29.95.  His earlier work, as you may recall, is "Juniata, River of Sorrows".

“Captures the reader’s attention in the best tradition of spy novels....A must-read for history enthusiasts..."This is a "must have" for anyone interested in the Pennsylvania Railroad. While it is a work of non-fiction, it does indeed read like an espionage novel and holds your interest. The text is unique in the personalization of the many individuals who are revealed in the book. You feel, after reading this work, that you actually know the various individuals in a personal manner, rather than as names in a journalistic style of reporting. The second part of the book deals with the design and construction of the Horseshoe Curve and the PRR's first five Presidents. You also come to know these Presidents, not as corporate figureheads, but as real people with families. This style sets this book apart from all those which preceded it dealing with Pennsylvania Railroad History. For further information, go to "- David W. Seidel, Horseshoe Curve Chapter, National Railway Historical Society 

Director Dick Charlesworth will be attending the Spring Directors Meet of the National Railway Historical Society next week. We'll report on his trip at a later time. Dick is serving on the national officers nominating committee.

NS 4270-A, 4275B, 4276B

Widely publicized on the internet, the above is the new power for the Norfolk Southern RR Office Car Fleet, based in Altoona. The locomotives were load-tested over Horseshoe Curve on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 and debuted on Thursday March 29, 2007 taking an 18-car consist to the Masters Golf Tournament, eastbound from Altoona. The fleet will make another sojourn in approximately another week-to-ten days to the Kentucky Derby (a May 5 event). There is a second "A" unit, but it is still being re-engined at Juniata Locomotive Shops. For excellent photo views, go to and search for NS 4270 and you will see a gallery of excellent photos on its trip southward and return.


 May 22, 2007 Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order and the minutes from the April meeting were read and a motion to approve was made by Dick Charlesworth and seconded by Joe Harella.

The Treasurer’s report was given and attached, a motion to accept was given by Larry McKee and seconded by Dick Charlesworth.

Frank discussed the REX car model and the roof color to be painted gray like the original, and try to make the price of the car an even amount of money, which will be easier for sales.

Plow for the Walter is finished and needs a new lift chain, the grater is also painted. The Insurance is paid current.

Work detail on the coaches will start June 20th through the 30th evenings and Saturdays. Coaches are coming to Duncansville. Frank has a possible meeting scheduled with Jeff Yohn from Millennium right after Memorial Day to check vestibule work. Email notices will go out for a reminder of these dates. A date of June 9th 8:00 am will be sent for anyone that wants to help Frank and Dick coat the roof on the Duquesne.

Emails will go out with directions for the July Chapter picnic, a short meeting will be held at the picnic and there will be no regular meeting night that month.

George and Joyce Thompson will host the Tuesday June 26th meeting, at the XXX.

The brake valves will be picked up June 4th or 5th from Pittsburgh Air Brake.

Dick reported that anyone who would like to car host for Railfest please contact him.

George Thompson offered to make Chapter badges for the volunteers who do not have Chapter shirts.

A motion to adjourn was made by Len Alwine and seconded by Don Goebel

ATTENDANCE:  Dick Charlesworth, Denny Walls, Larry McKee, Frank Givler, Karin Givler, George Thompson, Will Teeter, Barry Kaufman, Len Alwine, Leon Wagner
Wayne Burket, Don Goebel, Joe Harella, Bill Burket


 June 2, 2007 Lancaster Charter Bus Trip

On Saturday, June 2, 2007, Director Dick Charlesworth led a bus and train trip to Lancaster PA. Departing via Fullington Motor Coach from Railroader’s Memorial Museum, we motored to Harrisburg, PA, enjoying a breakfast stop near Mifflintown on the way. Fortified by a nice rest stop, we arrived at the Amtrak Station in Harrisburg and boarded Amtrak train 666 (we all wondered about that number) for Lancaster. We hit the 100 mph mark on the newly re-built rail-bed between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Our bus met us in Lancaster and we visited the Strasburg Railroad and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania until about 5 PM. Quite coincidental with our trip to the latter facility, we arrived for Pennsylvania Railroad Days. Many vendors and railroad societies were represented and author Jill Jonnes was doing a book signing at the museum gift shop. Her book is entitled “Conquering Gotham-A Gilded Age Epic: The Construction of Penn Station and it’s Tunnels”. The gift shop also featured the new work by Hollidaysburg author Dennis P. McIlnay: “Horseshoe Curve – Sabotage and Subversion in the Railroad City. Vintage video's were viewed on the trip home. We concluded our trip with a superb meal at the Plan and Fancy Farm a few miles from Strasburg. Unfortunately, although we had a nice late-model bus, the A/C failed as we left Lancaster County and it was a very warm trip home.

Boarding at Harrisburg Amtrak Station Amtrak train number 666 Joe DeFrancesco, Allen Yarnall & Jody Kinsel de-train at Lancaster.
Ron Givler and our Conductor at Lancaster Strasburg RR ride.
Ken Briers and his venerable 1950 Ford Truck Well known author David Sweetland and Mrs. Sweetland were selling their publications that day. We wish Dave well as he is recovering from a recent illness.
Dinner at the Plain and Fancy Farm. One thing we do is EAT WELL !    


 June 2007

RAILFEST:  Railfest is fast approaching (it may be “over” before you receive this depending on whether or not you receive this electronically or via hard-copy in the mail). This is always “the” annual major event for Railroader’s Memorial Museum in Altoona, as most of us know, and 2007 is marked by some major differences, most notably the time of the year. The prior trend for an autumn-foliage experience conflicted with high traffic demands on Norfolk Southern. This resulted in no mainline excursions for the prior three years. However, since July is a slower time, owing to vacation schedules of Norfolk Southern’s own work force as well as their shippers, July was offered. We will see the return of Juniata Terminal Co’s Pennsylvania Railroad E-8 locomotives and several private cars: Pennsylvania 120, parlor car Warrior Ridge, section-lounge car Kitchi Gammi (a native american word for ‘Lake Superior’ (heavyweight class) and a Missouri Pacific private car. In addition there will be one Amfleet coach and several commuter coaches leased from SEPTA in the Philadelphia area.

And, many Horseshoe Curve Chapter members will volunteer as coach attendants aboard the Railfest train which will depart Harrisburg around 7AM on Saturday, July 7th. Various packages were offered, but there will be three trips from Altoona to Gallitzin on Saturday and Sunday as well as passage to and from Harrisburg, Johnstown and Pittsburgh and a Saturday evening trip to Pittsburgh overnight. First Class space on the special train has been sold out for sometime.

Chapter members Harley and Kevin Burket will have a modular train display in Memorial Hall for Railfest, and there will be many vendors there as well, including member Bill Temple.

Extraordinary displays and musical events will highlight the visitor experience at Railroader’s Memorial Museum as well as the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site.

Author Dennis P. McIlnay will be at the museum Railfest weekend to sign his new book: Horseshoe Curve, Subversion and Sabotage in the Railroad City. Visit the museum gift shop on Saturday, July 7th from 11AM to 3PM.

Business/Social Meeting:  The June meeting was a pleasant summer “social” hosted by George and Joyce Thompson at Spring Lake Park in Bellwood. If you were unable to attend, you missed a pleasant evening near the small lake, with great conversation and fellowship…and a few glimpses of some wildlife (other than Larry McKee). It was a hot evening, but the shade made it pleasant and a pool was available had you brought those swimming trunks. Director Charlesworth held a short meeting to review the duties of all Coach attendants aboard the Railfest Train. 


All work on the Walter Truck plow and chassis blades is completed and the truck is back at Railroader’s Memorial Museum for display. However, it will be exhibited the last weekend of July at Lakemont Park for the Antique Truck and Machinery show. The truck is impressive with the appliances installed.

The “Duquesne” office car has been receiving some attention at Railroader’s Memorial Museum. The initial project over the winter was to clean the interior and install weather-protective window blanks to stabilize the interior. Current work has involved re-coating the roof. Lettering and painting is being explored at this time and paint chips/drift cards are being reviewed for a color match.

During the last week of June and first week of July, attention has also been given to the Chapter coaches at the ‘wye’ in Duncansville. The coaches have been thoroughly cleaned, floor and vestibule maintenance has been performed. Restrooms have been re-painted by Mr. Francis Givler Sr. And, the most important project…the airbrakes have been re-validated and updated valves installed. Some windows were replaced with plexiglass inserts. Some roof-coating was applied as needed:

Window Replacement-Joe Harella Window washing crew. It's so hard to get good help these days. Airbrake Test. Airbrake valves installation: Dan, Frank, Denny
Mr. Francis Givler paints restrooms. Larry Lear sweeps vestibules Larry Lear sweeps vestibule area.

Horseshoe Curve Chapter Excursions on Saturday, July 28th for Spring Dam Days from Roaring Spring PA to Martinsburg PA. Three trips. Coach attendants needed. Tickets available via Dick Charlesworth: 695-2201.

Future trips will be announced but we are planning a trip in August for the Toy Train Operating Society Convention which will be held in Altoona, and, probably an October charter for the Hollidaysburg YMCA and two weekends of Santa Trips the last two weekends in November. More information will be forthcoming, but, as always, volunteers/coach attendants needed for these occasions. Come out and enjoy a good time.


NRHS SPRING DIRECTORS MEETING : Was held in Greenville, SC in April and was attended by Director Dick Charlesworth. While many topics were covered, the most important, which will affect every member of the NRHS, is a proposed dues increase with membership year 2008 (national dues). Apparently, this move is made necessary by the increasing costs facing the Society in order to maintain and provide all existing member services. This includes getting all publications back on their correct schedule and on-time receipt by the membership. The Society does not make this decision lightly as much debate preceded this action which will be voted on at the convention this month.

An unfortunate by-product of this dues action might be a loss of some membership to the Society. Dues increases are never popular, especially in the present economic climate. We all know what the price of gasoline is, not to mention heating fuels and the trip to the grocery store. Perhaps you recall receiving a survey questionnaire from the NRHS earlier this Spring. We hope you took the time to fill it out and return it.

As your Chapter Historian/Editor, I can only say that I perceive the Horseshoe Curve Chapter (and the Society as a whole) as sort of a fraternity, as we all enjoy similar interests as well as each other’s company and fellowship. We hope each and everyone of you will stay the course and renew with us next year.

REX 7375, a Chapter-owned car on display at Railroader’s Memorial Museum. Horseshoe Curve Chapter has had an 0-guage model of this car manufactured by Weaver (a Pennsylvania company). This car is now available for $59.95. It has been constructed with the better grade coupler and wheel sets. This will be a nice addition to your collection for operating or display purposes. Contact President Frank Givler or visit the gift shop of Railroader’s Memorial Museum. Mail order is available but a shipping charge will apply.   As reported earlier, this car was restored/re-painted by Millenium Rail Car Services Co., Hollidaysburg.


 26 June 2007 Social Meeting

This  picnic was hosted by George and Joyce Thompson in Bellwood, PA.


15 July 2007 Chapter Picnic

The chapter picnic was hosted by Wil and Diana Teeter at their  cottage/lodge down near the Frankstown Sportsmen’s Club.  What a great place in a remote setting in the forest.  We had a great time!  And, we like to eat too.

Frank Givler, Dick Charlesworth, George and Joyce Thompson with Len and Diane Alwine in the back.   Will & Diane Teeter’s Lodge
Larry McKee heads for the FOOD!   --  --




 28 July 2007:  Antique Truck and Machinery Show, Lakemont Park, Altoona, PA

            No information provided


28 July 2007:  Spring Dam Days, Roaring Spring, PA

The first excursion activity of the Chapter on the Everett Railroad was held in conjunction with the annual Spring Dam Days, in cooperation with the Roaring Spring Historical Society.  Trains operated between Roaring Spring and Martinsburg with three departure times. 


Bill Temple, Frank Givler, Joe DeFrancesco and “Diesel” Dan Moringiello Frank Givler with Dave Ritchey of the Everett RR crew.



 29 July 2007:



June 3, 1914 – July 29, 2007

Joseph F. Wahl, 93, who is unknown to most present day Chapter members, was one of the early members of the Chapter and was very instrumental in helping the Chapter establish itself in the community, as did wife Bernice (Babe) and daughter Mary Jo,  prior to relocating to Albany, GA, circa 1977.  If you review the photographs on the Chapter’s webpage in the earliest years of Memorable Moments of the Past, you can review some of these events.


Joseph F. Wahl at NRHS Christmas Dinner, Chilcoats, E. Freedom, early 1970’s.



After relocating to Albany, GA, Joe became active with the Thronateeska Heritage Society located in the former Atlantic Coast Line Depot.  Joe built HO model train layouts and displayed other railroad memorabilia in two former Southern Rwy baggage cars, which was an area attraction for many years.  Sadly, after he “retired” again, there was no one to carry the project forward.


Joe had many creative talents and was well known for his woodworking skills.  He designed and crafted a portable booth for the Chapter to take to various community functions for display of railroad memorabilia in the days when we were promoting the establishment of a railroad museum for Altoona.  In addition, he designed and built for the Tourist and Convention Bureau, a Penn Central Caboose replica which was taken to travel shows. The windows in the caboose were lighted-large transparencies of Altoona Area scenes. The caboose’ first journey was to a travel show in Cleveland, OH March 1970 and was featured on local TV with the John Riley Show.


Later, Joe designed and built the N-gage layout of the Horseshoe Curve which was used for a similar purpose, and later exhibited at Horseshoe Curve and the then newly established Railroader’s Memorial Museum.


He was the uncle of your Chapter Historian & great-uncle to your webmaster Chris Behe.



August 28, 2007 Business Meeting

The minutes from the May meeting were read and a motion to approve was made by Larry McKee and seconded by Dick Charlesworth.

Treasurer’s Report was given.  A question was raised about the sale of the REX cars, Frank sold 7 at the meeting and reported some had been provided to the Museum.

The June meeting was a picnic at Spring Lake, hosted by the Thompson’s. The annual Chapter picnic was held this year at the Lodge of the Teeter’s. A thank you to both parties, as usual we had good weather, good food and good company.

Frank held some discussion on the Spring Dam trip, We discussed the Santa trips and the goody bags for the kids. Rich & Donna Neely suggested helping us do a bag with small items for the kids instead of fruit and candy. The Chapter will need to decide how much to spend per bag so supplies can be addressed. Len Alwine made a motion to spend XX  per bag and purchase candy canes for the adults. Dan seconded the motion. All voted in favor.

Frank mentioned that he had not heard from Jeff about the vestibule work on the cars, Denny explained that the delay was due to a business change at Millennium. Frank suggested that possibly in the spring the roofs could be patched and coated.  The brakes will not need done again until spring of 2009.

At the National convention this year a dues increase for 2008 was a approved, making national dues $33.00.

There was some discussion on giving the workers on the REX car a model car. Dick made a motion to give each worker a car as an extra thank you. Joey seconded the motion. Frank will discuss this with Jeff to be sure how many we will need as some may not want to be included.

Joey gave a report on his trip to Rail Camp and Don Goebel gave a report on the TTS convention.

The motion to adjourn was made by Dick and seconded by Denny. Meeting adjourned

ATTENDANCE:  Dave Seidel, Dave Behe, Joey Defrancisco, Wayne Burket, Karin Givler, Frank Givler, Duane Miller, Len Alwine, Dan Morengella
Denny Walls, Mike Walls, Bill Burket, George Thompson, Wil Teeter, Leon Wagner,  Dick Charlesworth, Larry Mc Kee, Joe Harella, Don Goebel


15 September 2007:  RENOVO RAILROADERS DAY

 On Saturday, September 15, 2007 Dave Seidel, Bill Temple and Dick Charlesworth traveled to Renovo, representing Horseshoe Curve Chapter NRHS, to present a slide show on the 1986-87 restoration of K-4 # 1361.  This is the second occasion in a three year period we have been invited to participate in their observance. Renovo has a rich railroad history, but much of their heritage is no longer in brick and mortar, but in the preserved artifacts and memories. Every railroad community from the steam era has similar experiences and it's important to keep these histories alive in each community.


September 25, 2007 Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order and the minutes from the August meeting were read and a motion to approve was made by Joe Harella and seconded by Will Teeter.  The Treasurer’s report was provided.  Motion to approve by Larry McKee and seconded by Dan.

Frank spoke with Jeff Yon about the REX cars for the worker, we are to give them to Jeff and he will see that they are distributed. Frank also spoke with him about the work on the coaches; Millennium Railway is going through a business change and when that is in place, Jeff suggested Frank then sends an email requesting the work to be done.

Frank informed the members present that the dues notices and membership cards will be mailed directly to them but the payment potion will still be returned to him, to be forwarded to the National.

A sample of “Firing on the Pennsy” was shown to the members at this meeting, it needs to be decided the charge per book.  The order came in July.
Dick made a motion to charge $8.95 plus tax. This motion was seconded by Denny, all voted in favor with Wayne Burket abstaining.
Dick suggested we put an ad in the newspaper.

Donna Neely brought the samples of the kids’ bags for our Santa trips. She showed us samples and a list of items that could be purchased. It was decided to do Activity Book, crayons, puzzle, bracelet train pencil, and magic screen. Additional will be a holiday reseal able bag and a small bag for candy.  Len Alwine made the motion that we order 1,000 bags. Denny seconded this motion. All voted in favor. Donna will do the order right away.

Dick expressed his concern about the 2 different tickets pricing for the children, after much discussion, Len suggested lowering the child’s ticket to $8.00 instead of two prices and raise the Adult to $14.00. He then made a motion to lower the child ticket age 3-12 to $8.00 and the adult to $14.00. Dan seconded this motion. All members voted in favor.  George Thompson offered to print the tickets for us. Dick will look into the cost of cross-referencing the ad to other newspapers with the Altoona Mirror. We also will still be putting ads in the Cove papers. Dick also contacted 3 churches in the cove area to do caroling on the train during the trips. Church of God would like to do 2 trips, Church of the Brethren and Trinity United.
Dick is working with them on a schedule, it was discussed to give each a donation per trip, it was brought up to Dick about giving tickets instead of monetary donation. After some lengthy discussion it was decided that the tickets will have to be a limited number and Dick will be in contact with them to ask about numbers before a decision is made.

Frank mentioned that Chris Behe would like us to be more prompt with getting him schedules for the trips, so they can be placed on the web site in a timely fashion.

The Secretary excused herself before the meeting was concluded and there is no record of a motion to adjourn.


Denny Walls, Larry McKee, Joe Harella, Frank Givler, Karin Givler, Dick Charlesworth, Dan Morengella, Bill Temple, Wil Teeter,
Len Alwine,  Mike Walls,  Wayne Burket, George Thompson, Guest: Donna Neely


6 October 2007  -  Chapter Work Day:

Saturday, Oct 6, 2007, Chapter members re-coated the roof of Railway Post office Car “Robert E. Hannegan”: Frank Givler, Joe Harella, Dick Charlesworth, Scott Cessna, Joe DeFrancesco, Neil Myers and Dave Seidel. As most of us know, this is the only Railway Post Office car on the Pennsy system to be “named” for anyone, in this case, the Postmaster General during the Truman administration. At one time, it was in the Broadway Limited consist. Previous work on this car has included replacement of 95% of the glazing and painting the car in primer. A finish paint job with appropriate PRR lettering is yet to be done, as well as installation of the proper RPO interior fittings which are stored inside the car at this time.

In this view, the RPO is coupled to Chapter B-60 baggage car # 9055.




October 2007 




June 10, 1916 – Oct 4, 2007


We also note the passing of Mr. James Servello (Jimmy), age 91, who was well known around Railroader’s Memorial Museum.  Mr. Servello, age 91, was a regular visitor to the museum, always meticulously dressed. He was a great conversationalist, sharp of mind, and would recount many stories about the railroad in Altoona. His memory was a treasure-trove of Altoona history.  As we all knew, he was also the newsboy “Jimmy” portrayed in the newsstand audio-visual program on the second floor of the museum. Mr. Servello was well-liked and will be missed.  Our sympathies to his family.  Railroader’s Memorial Museum draped the newsstand with black bunting to honor “Jimmy”. Mr. Servello’s funeral was held on Saturday, Oct 6, 2007.


James Servello, Summer 2006

“Jimmy” Servello selling newspapers and Altoona Pride

Railroader’s Memorial Museum Exhibit

2nd Floor

Exhibit draped in black bunting.




As most of you know, Horseshoe Curve Chapter and Railroader’s Memorial Museum jointly sponsored Joe DeFrancesco at RAILCAMP at Steamtown the week of July 8th.  According to Joe, it was a memorable and rewarding experience.  Joe presented a concise and detailed report of his week at the August 28th meeting of the Chapter.


Joe with K-4 # 1361 at Steamtown

RailCamp 2007

Joe is in the 2nd Row


20 October 2007: Olde Tyme Faire & Great Train Adventure

Sponsored by the Hollidaysburg PA YMCA for Fall Foliage enjoyment and enhanced by the adventure of a TRAIN ROBBERY. Four trips on Saturday, October 20, 2007 from Canal Basin Park, where entertainment, good food, historical attractions, and playground enhanced the visitor experience. Participating: Horseshoe Curve Chapter, National Railway Historical Society, and the Everett Railroad Company.  Further photographs can be viewed here.



October 23, 2007 - Regular Business Meeting

The minutes from the September meeting were read and a correction was made by Denny Walls that emails have been sent to Chris Behe and not to Frank.
A motion was made to approve by Dick Charlesworth and seconded by Don Goebel. 

Treasurer's report was read.

Frank picked up the Christmas items from Donna on Wednesday the 24th.  Dick also reported that the Church of God would sing on the 1p.m. and 3:15 p.m. & on the trips of the 24th.  The Church of the Brethren would sing on the 10:45 trip on the 17th. Ads will be put in the Altoona Mirror on Sunday the 28th and Williamsport and Lock Haven on the following Sunday the 4th. 

The Christmas Party/dinner will be $15.00 a person this year and gratuity will need to be added as we have in the past. George Thompson made a motion to add $2.00 to the price, making the cost $17.00 per person. Will Teeter seconded this motion and all voted in favor.

The Train Robbery trip done by the Y was a success this year, approximately 1090 people rode the train. The Geeystown Fire hall did a sell out on refreshments. Payment from the Y will be forth coming.  Frank mentioned that he is exploring alternate storage location for the Walter truck after this year, in case the Museum is not an option.

A Christmas donation letter was received from the Blair Co. Children & Youth Services and Toys for Tots. We have given $100.00 and the Toys for Tots went up to $125.00 this year. Denny also mentioned we gave the Roaring Spring Historical Society $300.00 last year. Dan Morengello made a motion to give the Children & Youth Services $125.00 and give Roaring Spring $350.00. This motion was seconded by Don Goebel and all voted in favor.

Frank spoke with a gentleman about the possibility of rubber roofing the cars, he was told it is possible but the cars will need looked over and an estimate will need to be given. More information to follow on this idea.

Dick brought forth to the members present that he is very upset about the dismissal of Scott Cessna and the situation at the Museum. He fells that of all the Directors at the Museum over the years, we have had a very good relationship with Scott. Scott and the Chapter have always held a good working and social relationship. Dick would like Frank to convey these thoughts with the Board.

The November meeting will be held at the Alto Train Museum at 7:30 p.m. Pie and coffee will be served.

Motion to adjourn Denny Walls Seconded Don Goebel.  Meeting adjourned

Neil Myers   Frank Givler  Karin Givler Denny Walls Wil Teeter Dan Morengello Duane Miller Mike Walls Larry McKee Don Goebel Scott Cessna George Merritts Dick Charlesworth Wayne Burket George Thompson Dave Seidel Pat McKinney


November 27, 2007 - Regular Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order and the minutes from the October meeting were read and a motion to approve was made by Dick Charlesworth and seconded by Joe Harella. The Treasurer's report was read.  A motion to approve was made by Don Goebel and seconded by Dick Charlesworth. The left over candy from the Santa trips will be donated to the Alto Model Train Museum for the kids.  Frank reported that the first report for Chapter dues is ready to be sent on Wednesday.  This being the month for nominations of officers, the Secretary made a motion that all current officers will remain for another year. A motion to approve by Dan Moringiello and seconded by Will Teeter. All those present voted in favor.  With nothing more for the good of the Chapter a motion was made to adjourn by Dick Charlesworth and seconded by Leon.

Meeting Adjourned

Wil Teeter  Frank Givler  Karin Givler  Duane Miller   Joyce Thompson Dan Moringiello  Don Goebel   George Thompson  Mike Walls Joe Harella  Denny Walls  Bill Temple  Dave Behe  Dick Charlesworth Bill Burket   Gary Clare   Leon

November 2007 - SANTA TRAINS

The Chapter’s annual SANTA Trains were a complete success once again.  Held on the Saturdays prior to and within Thanksgiving week, we enjoyed much success this year once again.  The train of November 24th was completely sold out, but the preceding week was approximately 85%.  This annual activity is enjoyed by young and old alike and we thank Rich Neely for his participation and helping make this the success that it is.  He is very well “suited” to the task and the children certainly enjoy his “arrival”.  He is probably in more family photo albums in Blair and surrounding counties that he’ll ever be able to count.   Many thanks to all the Chapter members who volunteered as car hosts. This helps make these events the success they are and enables the Chapter to continue with preservation, restoration, and educational activities.

Santa Claus greets his very special friends.


8 December 2007 - Annual Christmas Party

We hope everyone enjoyed a meaningful Christmas and Holiday Season !  For our Chapter, we enjoyed the annual Christmas dinner at the Deer Hollow Bed and Breakfast on Satuday, December 8th.  This was our second year here, hosted by member Joe DeFrancesco and his grandparents, Rachel and ‘Dink’ Gensimore.  The food and fellowship was outstanding.  If you weren’t able to attend, you missed a good one!  The highlight of the evening was a talk by Dr. Dennis P. McIlnay on his 2007 book “Horseshoe Curve – Sabotage and Subversion in the Railroad City”.

Dr. McIlnay presented three texts to President Givler, Larry McKee and David Seidel representing Horseshoe Curve Chapter. 

President Frank Givler accepts text from Dr. McIlnay as Joe and Cathy Harella observe.



December 2007

--  Work has begun at Railroader’s Memorial Museum to move the K-4’s various components back to Altoona.  On December 13th, four tractor-trailer loads of material arrived in Altoona from Scranton, and many additional trips will be required.  The movement includes not only K-4 apparatus, but machine tools used on the project which are museum property.  Critical items are being store temporarily in the original museum building and other locations pending construction activity on the quarter-roundhouse.




--  As most of us know, there is a change of leadership/management at Railroader’s Memorial Museum as we enter 2008.  While the Chapter has always enjoyed a productive relationship with the museum since it’s inception circa 1972, any change has a transitional period. We wish the museum well as the many projects the Horseshoe Curve Chapter is involved with continue, and we offer our assistance where needed.  And, we thank former Executive Director Scott Cessna, for his support in working with us these several years.  We like to think that much has been accomplished and much will continue to be accomplished.


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(All photos are by David Seidel unless otherwise indicated.)