Monday, August 15, 2016

Railfan Bridge

Overview Bridge

Lately I have been pursuing some of the many interests that I have other than model railroading. These interests get a grip on me during the warmer late summer and early fall months here in the Northeast that take me outside and away from the modeling bench. One such interest is watching modern railroading first hand, this in spite of the historic New Haven Railroad modeling that I pursue.

A favorite location to railfan is the Overview Bridge at the north end of the large Norfolk Southern Railway Enola classification yard. This yard was originally built by the Pennsylvania Railroad at the turn of the last century, by the mid 1950's was claimed to be the largest freight yard in the world. Now under Norfolk Sothern ownership this yard is still a very busy place, traffic fluctuating with the state of the economy. The yard is located in East Pennsboro Township on the west shore of the Susquehanna River a few miles north of Harrisburg Pennsylvania. The overlook bridge can be located on Google Maps by entering in the search bar the GPS coordinates, 40°19'04.7"N76°54'55.4"W

When the bridge was built in 1999, the East Pennsboro board of commissioners was nice enough to provide openings in the bridge fencing to allow for photography. The bridge has very light traffic with a large area outside the traffic lanes on both sides to safely stand and watch the action. Note the openings in the bridge fencing in the photo below.

Click to enlarge photos.

Photos From The Bridge

Below are some photos from a few days ago, all action is in a short span of time. In this first photo two trains depart from the north end of the yard. The train on the right is heading for the westbound main to Altoona PA and beyond. The train to the left with the tank cars is holding for clearance to cross the Susquehanna river on the Rockville bridge about a mile to the north, once on the other side of the river it will go ether north to Buffalo NY or south thru Harrisburg.

The train with the tank cars has been cleared and heads for the bridge followed by trio of locomotives deadheading across the river to Harrisburg yard.

Power arrives from the Enola ready track for the next west bound, then backs to train.


A train of auto racks slowly arrives from the west.

Passing under the Overview Bridge the train heads for a meet with a pair of yard switchers.

The switchers take the track to the lower west bound departure yard as the auto racks continue to the arrival yard.

Yard switchers head to work the departure yard.

Next west bound leaves the departure yard.

The bridge good place to photograph rooftops, open loads and get great detail shots of locos. Wish I had some overhead photos of New Haven diesels like these.

Something special being able to listen to the cadence of a prime mover idling a few feet below you!

Finished up the visit to the area by catching the NS Conrail heritage unit on a west bound after crossing the Rockville bridge, also saw the Southern heritage unit in the same place last year.

The Overview Bridge is a wonderful place to visit, if ever in the Harrisburg PA area don't miss it! 


  1. It looks like a terrific train-watching spot. Thanks for sharing, Joe!
    - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

  2. Great photos and I agree...a great railfanning location!

  3. Great photos and I agree...a great railfanning location!