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Notable Progress at  the East Broad Top

In this aerial view looking north, the amount of brush clearing that has occurred at the East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia, Pa., is dramatically evident on November 19, 2020. The coal dump in the foreground is one of many structures that the East Broad Top Foundation has committed to restoring in the near future, and will become functional for steam operations once the first locomotive is restored to service.

Notable Progress at the East Broad Top

February 2021by Marc Glucksman/photos by the author

It is difficult to believe that it has been only nine months since the East Broad Top Railroad announced that the newly formed East Broad Top Foundation had been created to restore the rolling stock and facilities to allow full operation, when these photographs were recorded on November 19, 2020. After nearly eight previous seasons of suspended operations, the staff of the newly-formed organization has taken on the task of restoring everything, and seemingly all of the work is ongoing simultaneously. Track is being relaid or refreshed, buildings are being repaired, cars and engines rebuilt. There is a brisk pace of activity, with work trains operating back and forth, cars being decorated, and ballast being poured onto the right of way.

One specific improvement is the area around the coal dump where foliage has been cleared in order to restore it to full functionality. This work completely opens up a side of the yard that had been overshadowed by tall trees and brush.

East Broad Top

The scene in the roundhouse shows locomotive 16 next to 17. No. 16 engine has been disassembled in preparation for its rebuild and return to service, as seen November 19, 2020.

Public excursions operated during the 2020 holiday season with diesel power, but work on EBT Baldwin 2-8-2s 14 and 16 proceeds. Most of the locomotive roundhouse will look familiar to visitors, but one bay has been upgraded with a concrete floor and modern electrical support, and the railroad’s workshops have been cleaned are humming with activity.

It had been just one year since a “photographer’s event” was held in November 2019, the first such event in many years. While nothing was publicly announced at the time, this magical place was on the precipice of a rebirth, and 2021 will see many more positive developments.

February 2021Read the rest of this article in the February 2021 issue of Railpace Newsmagazine!

This article was posted on: January 20, 2021