Railpace Extra Board

Restoration Work Progresses at East Broad Top Railroad

An East Broad Top work crew member places a switch frog into place in the Rockhill yard on Sunday, May 31, 2020. The old ties, which were in a deteriorated condition, were replaced with used standard gauge ties purchased from the Kovalchick Corporation. They were recycled from a line in North Carolina which was taken out of service. The GMC Brigadier boom truck was loaned by the Rockhill Trolley Museum, which is located adjacent to the EBT.

Restoration Work Progresses at East Broad Top Railroad

August 2020By Alex Mayes/photos by the author

Work to rehabilitate the yard tracks, buildings and other essential infrastructure has been proceeding at a brisk pace at the East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia, Pa. After sitting dormant since 2011, the EBT was purchased by The EBT Foundation, Inc. in February 2020. The group plans to resume operations in 2021. Much work is needed to accomplish this goal, including overhaul of two 100+ year-old steam locomotives, rebuilding five miles of three-foot gauge track between Rockhill Furnace and Colgate Grove, and other major projects.

Over the past 20 years volunteers of the Friends of The East Broad Top, a non-profit group dedicated preservation and restoration of the EBT, has stabilized or entirely rebuilt much of the main shops complex, along with the foundry, sand tower, and the freight house. This work has been most beneficial, and their efforts are greatly appreciated.

East Broad Top

On May 27, 2020, a long cut of EBT coal hoppers was pulled from the south end of the Rockhill yard and placed on a leg of the wye utilized to turn EBT’s steam excursion trains. These cars were idled 64 years ago; over the years trees and thick vines surrounded them and some of them became badly rusted. The cars that are in relatively good shape will be restored, the ones that are in a highly deteriorated condition will be scrapped. The sides of some of the cars are completely rusted through, as shown here.

After the EBT shut down as a coal hauler in 1956 it came back to life on August 13, 1960 when a five-mile long segment was reopened for excursion service in connection with a local bicentennial celebration. Today’s EBT Foundation, Inc. hopes to celebrate the 60th anniversary of this event this August; for details check the EBT website or on their Facebook page. See the April 2020 edition of Railpace for more on the EBT’s revival.

August 2020Read the rest of this article in the August 2020 issue of Railpace Newsmagazine!

This article was posted on: July 20, 2020