Encyclopedia Of Forlorn Places

Windber Pennsylvania

Recently, the Daily Mail UK published an article with the click-bait headline: "The apocalyptic 'train graveyard' unveiled: Photographer captures images of more than 70 abandoned trains in North Carolina forest"

At first I was confused. I know North Carolina well and immediately wondered why I didn't know about this "train graveyard". Also, the landscape in the pictures that accompany the article look nothing like North Carolina. The amount of snow is one of several giveaways. I quickly realized that the photos were actually taken in Pennsylvania, probably just outside of Windber. Windber is an old coal mining town near Johnstown. The photographer "Johnny Joo" lied to the Daily Mail to keep his location secret and the "Travel Reporter" at the Daily Mail failed to check any of the information given by a source that probably wasn't using his real name. This travel reporter was evidently trolling Facebook for interesting pictures when he or she stumbled on the photos of the old transit cars. Later the story was picked up by many dozens of publications and republished more or less word for word. The story also went "viral" on a few social networks which is where I found it.

Of course hardly anyone cares (or should care) about where these abandoned trains actually are. I care though and several things about this story annoy me. I'm annoyed by photographers that keep their locations secret. I'm annoyed by the bullshit that flies around the internet, getting republished and shared over and over again without anyone bothering to verify the information. I'm annoyed by bad journalism.

Anyway the "apocalyptic train graveyard" is actually in Pennsylvainia and almost certainly near Windber and definitely not in North Carolina. It is not abandoned either. And "Johnny Joo" did not discover it. It's on private property and all of the transit cars are part of one man's private collection. I have never been, but by all accounts visitors are not welcome. The owner of the property is very protective of his collection of antique transit vehicles. He has taken all of the usual measures to deter trespassing and is known to confront people who try to sneak onto his property. It is an obviously valuable collection and must have taken an incredible effort to assemble. Hopefully he will open a transit vehicle museum one day. It certainly would help the town of Windber if he did.

Link to a google map of the likely location here.

Thank you for visiting. I off to Montana.