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Route Guide
Philadelphia*New York
Welcome Aboard. You are traveling on board the Three Rivers. While on board, you will be experiencing the utmost comfort and service in train travel and witnessing some of the East's most spectacular scenery.
All of us at Amtrak are proud to have you aboard today, and want to ensure your trip is everything you want it to be in train travel.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask one of our friendly on-board service staff.
The Fun Starts Here. There is a lot to see and do aboard the Three Rivers, from relaxing, socializing with family and friends, to enjoying a delicious light meal.
We invite you to join fellow passengers in the Lounge Car. Play some cards, make new friends, enjoy time with your family. Let the Lounge Car be your place for games, conversation and good times! And most of all - have fun!
The Three Rivers is named for the three rivers that cradle downtown Pittsburgh: the Allegheny, Manongahela and Ohio Rivers. Your travels will take you under New York's Hudson River and across Philadelphia's Schuylkill and Harrisburg's Susquehanna Rivers.
And in eastern Pennsylvania, you will travel through the gently rolling hills of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where you might spy a horse and buggy waiting at a grade crossing, or see a modern-day barn rising. But it's the mountains you'll remember because in western Pennsylvania, Three Rivers travels through some of the most spectacular, dramatic mountain scenery in the East. You'll also see equally incredible marvels of engineering: the famous Horseshoe Curve, where the tracks wind around in a half-circle, and the Gallitzin tunnels, which pierce the summit of the Allegheny Mountains.
So for convenient daily service between Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York - and spectacular scenery along the way - make the Three Rivers your first choice.
This guide is written from to west to east, in most cases noting how many minutes past the previous Amtrak station you can expect to see a particular sight and whether you should look right or left. The first time reference tells you how far that point is from the Amtrak station to the west ; the second station, how far it is to the Amtrak stop to the east.
Chicago As the train heads south in the late afternoon hours, look to your left for a dramatic view of the towering city skyline. The Sears and Hancock Towers are among the many magnificent structures you can see. Next, look to your left for the new Comiskey Park, completed in 1991. It is home to the Chicago White Sox. In moments, you'll cross the south branch of the Chicago River, where ships travel between the Great Lakes ports and points along the Illinois and Michigan Canal. This river is famous as "the river that flows backwards" because of its westward course away from Lake Michigan.
Hammond-Whiting This town was once the residence of Alvah Curtis Roebuck, a farm boy from Lafayette. When he moved to Chicago, he formed a mailbox company with Richard Sears, and the rest, as they say, is history! Standard Oil Company's huge oil refineries define Hammond-Whiting and still stand on the site of the first plant built here by the company in 1889.
Nappanee Nestled in the fertile farm land of the headwaters of the Wabash River, Nappanee is a thriving small city with a large population of Amish, Mennonite and German Baptist. Horsedrawn buggies are still hitched next to the 1908 station that serves as our stop.The rails have led Nappanee products to every corner of America. Distilled mint from this town became a Wrigley staple. Tomatoes brought Libby's to town. Popular timber was sold to Studebaker in South Bend.
Pittsburgh Modern Pittsburgh is known as a city of "firsts." Synthetic insulin was first developed here, as was the first polio vaccine. The nation's first independent research and robotics institutes opened in Pittsburgh, as well as the first commercial nuclear plant. The electron microscope originated here ; the first all-aluminum sky scraper was built here. The University of Pittsburgh's football team was the first to put numbers on their jerseys, the Steelers were the first team to win four Super Bowl Trophies, and so on. The original city lay between the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, which join here to form the Ohio River.
Greensburg This was the birthplace of steel and coke magnate Henry Clay Frick.
Latrobe This town was named after Benjamin Latrobe, the architect who designed the south wing of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Latrobe is also home to golfer Arnold Palmer and Rolling Rock beer. For the next 37 miles, you will follow portions of the Pennsylvania Railroad, into Johnstown, site of the infamous 1889 flood.
Johnstown In 1889, this city was devastated by a flood when a dam to the east burst during heavy rains. The rushing water demolished the city and surrounding towns, killing more than 2,000 residents within ten minutes. From here to South Fork, today's railroad follows the path of the ramping flood. Seasonally, National Park Service Guides provide a narrative of the history of the area between Johnstown and Altoona.
East Conemaugh / Franklin The white water tower to your right marks this Johnstown suburb, where a strange drama was played out the afternoon of the flood. When railroad engineer John Hess heard the roar of the waves, he looked back and saw a menacing 40-foot wall of water racing towards his train. Hess opened the throttle, tied down the whistle and raced into town, giving people enough warning to get to higher ground before the flood struck.
Little Conemaugh River As the flood waters advanced, they followed this 14-mile valley, where the height of the water varied from 40 to 80 feet. A cloud of dark spray hung over the front of the wave, called the "Death Mist" by flood survivors. For the next 39 miles, you will follow portions of the Pennsylvanian Railroad, the Old Allegheny Portage Railroad and the New Portage Railroad. These railroads were originally part of the Main Line of Public Works, a complicated system of railroads, canals and inclined planes designed to travel the mountains. After passing through the New Portage and Gallitizin Tunnels, you will circle around the world-famous Horseshoe Curve and on into Altoona.
Horseshoe Curve (51 Min./19 Min.) Since its opening in 1854, this segment of the railroad has been recognized as a marvel of engineering and landmark tourist attraction. For the best view, peer from the right side of the train as you head east.
Altoona It was here that the nation's first all-steel cars were produced; and here, too, that the renowned Pacific K-4 Passenger Steam Locomotive made its debut in 1914.
Harrisburg Pulling into the station, you'll see the State Capitol dome on your right, modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Royalton / Three Mile Island (13 Min./25 Min.) Look for the four huge cooling towers that mark Three Mile Island, site of a near-disaster with nuclear power in 1979.
Lancaster Lancaster was the capital of Pennsylvania between 1799 and 1812. Outside of Philadelphia, it is one of the oldest communities in the state. It was even the capital of the United States for a day in 1777 when Congress moved in an attempt to escape the British. Nearby is the historic Strasburg Railroad, which still operates old-time steam equipment. It is one of the oldest chartered short-line railroads in the United States.
Gap / Amish Country (22 Min./28 Min.) The Amish are a unique religious sect whose way of life stems from a belief in simplicity. They avoid "worldly" influences, especially modern conveniences such as electricity, automobiles and indoor plumbing. The Amish are characterized by their somber black or gray clothing. The married men wear long beards and wide-brimmed hats; the women wear plain long dresses and bonnets. You may also see people riding about in horse-drawn carriages.
Philadelphia In addition to being a hotbed of history with attractions including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House, modern Philadelphia offers great shopping, wonderful museums, and beautiful parks. As you leave the station, watch for Boathouse Row on your left. After dark, the houses are lit with beautiful Christmas-like lights. On the right is the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Newark The train crosses the Passaic River at the Newark station. The drawbridge, 230 feet in length, is one of the longest spans of its type in the world.
The Meadowlands (8 Min./9 Min.) Beyond the ridge on the right, you can see Manhattan's magnificent skyline distinguished by the Empire State Building and twin towers of the World Trade Center.
New York From the lights of Broadway to the heights of Wall Street, the breathtaking Statue of Liberty to the stately Metropolitan Museum of Art, the posh shopping along Fifth Avenue to the clubs in Greenwich Village, New York is loaded with attractions. No matter where you go or what time you go out, you'll find New York truly "a city that never sleeps"- an exhilarating, exciting destination at any time of the year.
City lights,
mountain heights and
easy connections west.

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