Todd's Railfan & Signal Guide to
(or, Lewistown and West :-)
part of the ex-Pennsy mainline between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh

In General
Getting Here
Track Chart Legend


Guides and Signal Guides in this series:
the Harrisburg area
the Rockville Bridge
Harrisburg West - to Millerstown
Lewistown East - to Millerstown
Lewistown PA - Railfan Guide
Mt Union East - Mt Union to Lewistown
Mt Union PA - Railfan Guide
Altoona East - to Mt Union
Altoona - Railfan Guide
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.

Additional resources:
http://position-light.blogspot.com/2011/07/prr-main-line-survey-2009-part-5-cp.html HARRIS to LONG in depth photo journal coverage by Jersey Mike, excellent stuff!
https://www.acm.jhu.edu//~sthurmovik/Railpics/09-05-09_PRR_MAIN_LINE_SURVEY_09/-Thumbnails-Part-2.html  Photos associated with the above blog
ttps://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1jHaa93YVeBDqSWlMvUbuq--e9yo&hl=en_US  Very nice Google map of the Pittsburgh line, but he left out signals at MP126.5
http://www.parailfan.com/NS/ns_pitl_signals.html  Excellent signal reference for the line in chart format and diagrams of the signal installations
http://sbiii.com/prrtrch1.html  Track charts
http://michaelfroio.com/blog/2012/06/14/harrisburg-terminal-lemoyne-junction  Lemoyne Junction in Harrisburg
http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?2,1184507  Trainorders discussion of Harrisburg railfanning from 2006

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps 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 www.bing.com/maps, 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 Lewistown Depot and Amtrak Station

(More information will be found on the Lewistown sights in my Lewistown PA railfan guide.)

GPS Coordinates: 40.588228, -77.580285
150 Helen St, Lewistown PA 17044

The Lewistown depot was converted to passenger station use in 1868, but was built prior to that.  Lewistown was the western terminus of the Pennsylvania RR when the railroad was first built from Harrisburg.  It is the oldest existing station of the PRR, and is supposedly the oldest station "in use" by Amtrak.

The depot is home to the Pennsylvania Railroad Historical & Technical Society, and the depot houses ALL of their records of the PRR, including some really nice collectables.

Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this station which is served by two daily trains.

The Pennsylvanian is financed primarily through funds made available by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.



  the Juniata Valley RR

GPS Coordinates: 40.587354, -77.587019


  the Lewistown Yard

The Google


  Juniata River Bridge

This bridge is covered on the Lewistown railfan guide page.

  Juniata River Bridge

This is the second river crossing south of Lewistown heading west on the railroad.  It may be possible to climb the embankment off of Fink Lane to get pictures.....  There is a stub track from the yard ending just short of the bridge.

  Juniata River Bridge

This is the second river crossing south of Lewistown heading west on the railroad.  Climbing the embankments on either side of the river from Locust Road or River Road may give you some nice shots of trains crossing the Juniata.  River Road was given the circuitous route to eliminate a grade crossing.

  Juniata River Bridge

Access for pictures is difficult.  Best way in is off of 103.  There is however, a short siding just north of the bridge, and a nice open spot for grabbing pictures.


 Intermediate Signals - MP 162.6/162.7

Covered on the Lewistown East page.

  Interlocking Signals - CP Lewis - MP 165.7

  Intermediate Signals - MP 167.2/167.3 - Granville Township

GPS Coordinates: 40.569204, -77.589422

  Interlocking Signals - CP Long - MP 168.8

  Intermediate Signals - MP 172.0/172.1

GPS Coordinates: 40.524750, -77.648288
Access couldn't be any easier, could it?  :-)

  Intermediate Signals - MP 174.8/174.9 - Bratton Township PA

GPS Coordinates: 40.511821, -77.686225

  Intermediate Signals - MP 176.8/176.9

GPS Coordinates: 40.503325, -77.723702
Difficult access, as the closest place you can get to it is off of a private driveway....... darn

  Interlocking Signals - CP McVEY - Bratton Township PA

GPS Coordinates: 40.467567, -77.732147
Another location that is darn near impossible for you and I to reach without crossing huge amounts of open farmland.

  Intermediate Signals - MP 182.2/182.3 - Wayne Township PA

GPS Coordinates: 40.436377, -77.768383
Just no easy way to get into these here fellas..... outside of a lot of walking!  It's a 3100ft walk from Riverside Rd where the road goes under the tracks.

  Intermediate Signals - MP 184.3/184.4 - Wayne Township PA

GPS Coordinates: 40.418618, -77.790657
This set of signals, again, is out in the middle of no-where, and I don't know if Riverside Road is a legit road or an NS access road.
The trip may be worth it though if you want to catch Conrail era "tri-light" style color-light signals.

    Intermediate Signals - MP 186.6/186.7 - McVeytown PA 17051

GPS Coordinates: 40.398587, -77.826041
Seems to be pretty good access off of Ferguson Valley Road.

  Intermediate Signals - MP 188.8/188.9 - Kistler PA

GPS Coordinates: 40.380775, -77.856877
Never tried to get into these signals, but the only way in on the map is via the Conrail Access Road, which doesn't sound like a viable option if you want to stay out of trouble :-)

Track Chart Legend


Greyhound Bus Service to Lewistown

NEW 9/15/2016
Last Modified 21-Sep-2016