EBT Expects to Have 2 Engines Operating in 2021

Paul Woodring and Bob Farkas were on hand to see East Broad Top No. 12, “Millie,” headed for Orbisonia on May 1, 1982. (Photograph by Robert Farkas)

The East Broad Top Railroad said two of its six steam locomotives are expected to return to service as early as 2021.

In a news release, the railroad said it has hired a small number of employees and commenced repairing track that has been out idle for several years.

The EBT has six 2-8-2 Mikado-type locomotives and all six have been inspected for their suitability to be returned to service.

One of the two Baldwin-built engines that inspectors said could make an early return to service has not operated since 1956.

But locomotive No. 16 was overhauled in 1955 and inspectors concluded that it is in good condition.

No. 14 is the other locomotive earmarked for a potential return to service next year.

It was overhauled in the 1980s and had been used for tourist train operations.

EBT officials said work will begin shortly on No. 16 with work on No. 14 set to begin this summer.

“We have taken a very methodical and detailed approach in determining which locomotives would be the first candidates for repair, and we are extremely fortunate to have a very talented and experienced group of steam experts advising and assisting us in getting our program rolling,” said EBT general manager Brad Esposito.

Workers have also renovated stall No. 8 at the EBT roundhouse to create a work space.

The project including pouring a new concrete floor that includes in-floor radiant heating.

Modern lighting was installed and a new electrical system was installed.

Stall eight is now separated from the rest of the roundhouse with metal sheathing to provide fire protection.

The roundhouse and machine shops will receive a fire-suppression system. Tracks in stalls five through eight were rebuilt.

Also rebuilt was the track leading into the locomotive shop and a stub switch leading to the turntable.

EBT has returned to service two hopper cars that will be used to spread ballast in future track projects, including repairing the main line to Colgate Grove this summer.

Other work set to begin soon includes stabilizing the blacksmith shop and repairing the main shops.

Volunteers from the Friends of the East Broad Top group have assisted with repairs, including starting work on a combine car.

Volunteer work has been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the membership roster of the Friends group has grown to more than a thousand.

The pandemic in part also led to cancellation of a planned open hour in early June.

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