Gallitzin to Hollidaysburg

The New Portage Railroad

Picture Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Showing of

Muleshoe Curve Bridge over old US 22, in Gallitzin. Photo by Mike Palmer, May 2005.

This abandoned railway line was initially constructed in the 1850s by the State of Pennsylvania as the New Portage Railroad, to bypass the incline planes used on the Allegheny Portage Railroad. It was acquired and then abandoned by the parallel Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) in 1857, since the PRR had opened its mainline through the area in 1854, and routed all traffic on its own route.

In 1904, this line was reopened by the Pennsylvania RR as a freight bypass route. To distinguish it from the other PRR mainline, named for its horseshoe curve, this line was affectionately called "The Mule Shoe Line". It remained in service through the Penn Central years (1968-76) and was abandoned by Conrail in 1981. Freight business had declined, and part of the route near Gallitzin was used for a realigned US Route 22.

Thanks to Mike Palmer for contributing information about this route.

Is the New Portage able to be ridden by mountain bike from the summit to the Muleshoe bridge where the line crosses old route 22? I understand the line connects with the NPS 6 to 10 trail at this point.

Doug Freas
Lititz, PA, PA


Yes, the New Portage railway does connect directly to the 6 - 10 trail. You can't ride directly from the summit onto the NPR, rather, you can start just below the Lemon House on old 22. There is a good-sized dirt road that runs from old 22 north towards new 22. Follow this dirt road out through the new stripmining. You will come to a power line after about 1.5 miles and new 22 and NFS mainline will be directly in front of you. Turn right and follow the power line for approx. 1/4 mile and it will intersect the NPR. Turn right and follow NPR to the Mule Shoe overpass and 6 - 10 trail.

Tim S.
Altoona, PA


i could have sworn i had seen abandoned rail on the rail i seeing things?please let me know if there are any sections of abandoned rail.thank you.

george oakley
reading, PA


This information is very helpful to understand the history of this part of Pa.Particularly the railroads and canals that opened this area up for travel,commerce and settlement a long time ago.In my opinion a lot of work needs to be done yet to pull it all together so more people can understand how it was all constructed.The manpower,effort and timelines would be impossible with todays political and economic disaster!

paul lesnak
patton, PA


Where would Foot of Five be located in Cresson, Pa?

I believe it was on Level Road.

John Burgoon
Chicago, IL


Are you aware of a railroad tower named MS located near the muleshoe curve. My dad who was a block operator would be called to man that tower when the new portage line would be utilized during wrecks on the main line. I've been down there hiking but cannot determine where it might have been. No doubt it is pointed out on an old track map.

Cresson, PA


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Do you have any pictures or information about The New Portage Railroad? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.