In General
Getting Here
Track Chart Legend


the Harrisburg area
the Rockville Bridge
Harrisburg West - to Macedonia
Mt Union East - to Macedonia
Altoona East - to Mt Union
Altoona West - to South Fork

the East Broad Top RR

In General

This page covers part of the ex Pennsy (now NS) mainline between Harrisburg PA and Pittsburgh PA and it's Position Light (PL) signals.

The route from Duncannon west is mostly a two track railroad.  South of Duncannon, it is mostly a three track railroad.

As of mid 2016, Norfolk Southern's PL signal replacement program is well under way, with most signals between Duncannon and Lewistown in the process of being replaced.

My accompanying map (below) of the tracks heading west out of Harrisburg is usable by any railfan, but is aimed towards the signal fan who wants to go out and capture the Pennsy PL signals before Norfolk Southern decides to replace them with colorlights.  Anyone with pictures at these locations are encouraged to send them in.  Credit is always given.

The line heading west out of Harrisburg is a mostly water level route - first following the Susquehanna River up to Duncannon, and then west following the Juniata River.  Maybe half of the signal locations along this route are located far enough away from a public road to make access almost if not completely inaccessible.  Norfolk Southern uses an access road that follows the rail line, but it is not for public access - using it could wind up getting you arrested.  Norfolk Southern cops do not play around, and most have little sense of humor or otherwise show any signs of being real people, so why take a chance?  Maybe half of the remaining half of the locations (~25%) are fully accessible from public grade crossings, the remainder require some hiking through the brush, however, since these locations too, are not accessible from a public location, and you could find yourself being arrested for trespassing on railroad property.

More info on the southern area of this map are given on the Harrisburg and Rockville Bridge pages, listed above.

For the non-signal oriented railfan, interlocking signals are not numbered, but they have the interlocking name associated with them (no number board under the signal), intermediate signals have a number board on them, and sometimes (as in the case of Pennsy signals), include a W or E for westbound or eastbound signals.

As for the included track charts (found here ), they are not really for the signaling, so many of the signals don't show up, sorry.

Here is a link to pictures of this region by Jersey Mike, many of my pictures will look the same since we went on one of the trips together:

Additional resources: HARRIS to LONG in depth photo journal coverage by Jersey Mike, excellent stuff!  Photos associated with the above blog
ttps://  Very nice Google map of the Pittsburgh line, but he left out signals at MP126.5  Excellent signal reference for the line in chart format and diagrams of the signal installations  Track charts  Lemoyne Junction in Harrisburg,1184507  Trainorders discussion of Harrisburg railfanning from 2006

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or as noted, once in a great while maybe MapQuest.  The screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!   Maps and aerial photos on this page are from Google Maps, which does the best job of covering the area once outside the Birds Eye view on Bing's Maps.
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! Contact info is here

Getting Here

Getting to Harrisburg is easy, for it is conveniently located off of I81, I83, and I76 - the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 

To follow the main line west out of Harrisburg, it's a simple drive up the west side of the Susquehanna on US15/11.  If you want to bypass all of the stuff on the west coast and save maybe 20-30 minutes of driving, you can take US322/22 on the east side of the river up to Duncannon, where you can jump off and follow the mainline.

From the south via I81, as in Hagerstown MD or Roanoke VA, I would get off at exit 65 and either start at the Rockville Bridge or Enola.  Coming up from the south via I95, you would have to go thru DC and Baltimore, and then take I83 north from the Beltway, thru York, and then eventually Harrisburg.

From the north, you can come down I81 from the likes of Wilkes-Barre (exit 170) and Scranton (exit 185 to downtown), and Syracuse.  I81 would also be the funnel into Harrisburg from Buffalo and Albany. 

I78 is only 20 miles to the east, and is the portal from the Allentown area and NYC.  You can also take the PA Turnpike from the Philly area and New Jersey.

Roanoke is about 4hrs away (exit 125 in VA), Hagerstown is less then an hour away (exit 6 in MD), Scranton about two hours, Allentown maybe a little over an hour, Pittsburgh about 3 - 3 1/2 hours, and Philly is about 2 1/2 hours.

The aerial shots come from, in their "birds eye" view.... great resource!!!

If you have any additional info you would like to share with the rest of us, it would be greatly appreciated.... please email me


In these post 911 days, the railroads are always watching out for terrorists.  We, unfortunately, fall into the suspect category and are always being plagued and harassed by the railroad police unnecessarily.  Stay on public property, I can't emphasize this enough, and try to be civil to the railroad cops if they do come around.  BUT, and here's the big one, NS cops in Harrisburg just tried to tell a friend of mine last week, Feb 2010, that he couldn't take pictures of Enola from the US15 "overlook".  If it wasn't for the fact that my buddy personally knows the chief of police, and he came onsite to help my buddy chase off the NS cops, they would probably still be there arguing. 


My map is also here as a PDF.


  the Marysville Depot


  the Mifflin Depot


        A "subway" tunnel is next to the station.  These are not very common anymore, and most, in more populated areas, have been closed.

  Sherman Creek Bridge

The Google cameras caught this EB freight just south of Duncannon on US15.

The same train crossing Sherman Creek.

Tuscarora Creek Bridge



  Interlocking Signals

This is the first set of signals north of the Rockville Bridge. 
Heading west, we go from 4 tracks, down to 3, down to 2, and then back to 3 for the trip up to Duncannon, which is reduced from 4 in looking at the track charts.


  Intermediate Signals

This set of signals, on a signal bridge, was changed over to colorlight signals in maybe 2013/14?




Even though these signals in Duncannon are close to the bridge, there's no easy way to get in there to get close to them without a lot of hiking. 
On the right is a snapshot of the exchange between US22 and US15.





  Intermediate Signals - MP 131 - Newport PA

These signals are very conveniently located adjacent to an open field between a public road and the tracks, with easy parking.
With good sight lines in both directions, the signals are on the south side of Newport.
"Back in the day", the line going into Newport that is now a siding, used to go all the way through Newport, to connect with the mainline on the south side of town. 
Refer to the USGS map below.
Newport was also the junction point between the Pennsy and the Newport & Sherman Valley RR.




  Interlocking Signals - CP PORT - Newport PA

Just north of Newport is two sets of signals protecting dual crossovers and siding, with not too difficult a hike to gain access.



A couple of bridges crossing Buffalo Creek.

A "subway" put in by the Pennsy goes under the mainline to reach the river.

Newport in 1904.....







An interesting spot, with a 650 foot long crossover between the tracks, west signals in the middle pix, east signals on the right.



  Intermediate Signals - MP 148

Very easy access from a public road, which is really a driveway, but nevertheless, a public road.
This may be the only set of Conrail era "tri-light" style colorlight signals on the line between Harrisburg and Altoona, and features two sets of back to back Safetran signals.



  Interlocking Signals - CP Mifflin - Mifflin PA

The EB set of signals are easy to gain access to off of a public street, WB signals can be gotten close to by walking around a baseball diamond.
There is also a station in town, and one of the few "subway" tunnels under the right-of-way.
According to an NS employee who was at the station taking it in, the cantilevered colorlight signals being replaced are only about 5 years old (2010-2011).


2 Photos courtesy Jersey Mike, found here

  Intermediate Signals - MP 155?

  Intermediate Signals - MP 157

I love this satellite photo, cause it has two photos merged together, showing the movement of the same train... interesting.
This location is near impossible to gain access to, as it is at "river level", and highway 333 is way, way above the signals.
This is a modern style 157 automatic signal on the 3-track section west of Mifflin.


  Photo courtesy Jersey Mike, found here

  Interlocking Signals - CP Hawstone - MP 160

WB signal bridge (being replaced by a three track cantilver bridge) and two EB mast mounted signals (being replaced by like colorlights).



Track Chart Legend

NEW 4/17/2010
Last Modified 11-Feb-2017