First Floor Attractions


Working on the Railroad

The sounds of steam engines welcome you back to the days when rail was king. In the lobby, a life-size replica of K-4 #1361 stands tribute to the 6,000 steam locomotives built in Altoona, and to the workers who built them. This is where you begin your journey through the Railroaders Memorial Museum, housed in the historic 1882 Master mechanics Building that once was home to the extensive testing labs of the “Pennsy.”


Why in the World Altoona

Find out why quiet little Altoona, at the foot of the Allegheny Front, became the bustling heart of construction for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Look back on the rail city’s heyday, when everyone from U.S. presidents to Nazi saboteurs focused on this Central Pennsylvania city that was home to rail barons living in luxury as well as immigrants working long hours on the railroad.


Norfolk Southern Theatre

Watch “Altoona at Work: An Era of Steam” and immerse yourself in the time when life in Altoona revolved around the railroad, and the Pennsylvania Railroad revolved around Altoona. Go back 150 years to the “Birth of the Curve” to find out why the Horseshoe Curve was necessary and how this engineering marvel was constructed. Finally, “Working the Mountain: Workers of the Horseshoe Curve” tells the day-to-day story of the Horseshoe Curve through interviews with track workers, locomotive engineers and others who worked there over the years.