Posts Tagged ‘East Broad Top Railroad’

Local Groups Get Emery Trust Grants

March 19, 2022

Two Northeast Ohio organizations were among the 22 recipients of grants announced this week by the John Emery Rail Heritage Trust for 2022.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will receive $15,000 to help pay for interior renovation of former Burlington baggage-coach Silver Salon for ADA accessibility.

The Midwest Railway Preservation Society of Cleveland will receive $ 10,000 for further work on 1924 Pullman car Mount Baxter.

Other groups that were awarded grants included the East Broad Top Railroad, $15,500 for truck and traction-motor maintenance for gas-electric car M-1; the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society,: $10,000 for continued work on baggage car No. 3671, built for Santa Fe by American Car & Foundry in 1955; and the Pennsylvania-based West Chester Railroad Heritage Association, $10,000 for continued renovations of Reading Blueliner coaches.

The Emery Trust will award $350,000, for rail preservation projects this year. It received

34 applications requesting more than $1 million.

In a news release, the Emery Trust described itself as the largest in the United States whose grants are solely for rail restoration projects.

The trust was founded by John Emery of Chicago who rode trains around the world between 1920 and 1960.

EBT Buying 4 New ‘Vintage’ Passenger Cars

February 26, 2022

Pennsylvania narrow gauge tourist railroad East Broad Top has ordered four new passenger cars, Trains magazine reported on its website.

The cars are being built by Hamilton Manufacturing Company of Sedro-Woolley, Washington.

Three of the cars are coaches while the fourth will comply with standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. All of the cars will feature a vintage appearance.

EBT has three passenger cars built in the late nineteenth century and all of them are out of service for rebuilding.

Currently EBT is using converted boxcars and flatcars with seats to carry passengers. It also has a caboose that accommodate riders.

Parlor car Orbisonia, is operational but only used during special events.

EBT Sets Events for Winter Spectacular

February 5, 2022

Historic Pennsylvania narrow gauge East Broad Top Railroad has announced the schedule of activities for its annual Winter Spectacular to be held Feb. 18-19.

Events include a two-hour photographers’ event featuring posed scenes with steam engine No. 12; rail car trips with a caboose between Rockhill Furnace station and Colgate Grove; trips on a motorcar between the same points; tours of Orbisonia station; and a roundhouse tour.

Tickets for the events range from $50 to $30.

Photography and videography will be prohibited during certain areas of the roundhouse tour.

EBT spokesman Jonathan Smith told Trains magazine that this primarily applies to locomotives and rolling stock that is being restored.

He said the restrictions were put into place to allow EBT to “show the public our progress but channel the excitement [of restoration] appropriately at the right time.”

Tour participants will be permitted to photograph equipment that is not in the process of being restored.

Also slated for the weekend is an archives benefit fundraising dinner and movie night to be held at the Orbisonia-Rockhill Furnace Volunteer Fire Company dining hall.

Tickets for that event are $50 per person. The dinner will feature a presentation by archivist Julie Rockwell, who will describe her work cataloging EBT records.

The movies are 16mm color films shot by the late Clarence Weaver and will show original EBT operations as well as those of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and assorted short line railroads.

More information and ticket sale links can be found at

Concurrent with the EBT winter event the Rockhill Trolley Museum will operate its Winter Trolley Spectacular that will feature historic and modern streetcars running  on the former EBT Shade Gap Branch

Tickets for that event are $15 for adults and $10 for children. There also will be car barn tours. More information is available at

EBT Announces 2022 Schedule

January 11, 2022

The East Broad Top narrow gauge tourist railroad in Pennsylvania has announced its 2022 regular operating season.

It will kick off on Feb. 19 with the Winter Spectacular event, Trains magazine reported on its website.

Regular excursion trips will operate five days a week on Wednesday through Sunday May 6 through Aug. 28. The schedule will shift to Friday through Sunday operation in September and October.

EBT also announced a slate of several theme trains that will operate from early April to mid December. Those events are described at

The Friends of East Broad Top recently said it has topped its fund-raising goal of $100,000.

Donations have totaled $163,777.19 and will be used to assist the EBT with historic preservation and renovation of various buildings and facilities.

More information is available at

EBT Gets State Grant for Track Repair

December 12, 2021

Pennsylvania tourist railroad East Broad Top has been awarded a $1.1 million state grant for track rehabilitation.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the funding will be used to rebuild 7.8 miles of track between Rockhill Furnace and Three Springs and Saltillo.

In time EBT is eyeing reopening a section of the railroad that has not been used since the original 33-mile EBT ended operations there in April 1956.

Other work that the grant will support includes improvements at the Colgate Grove picnic area and in Rockhill yard.

In a related development, the support group Friends of the East Broad said it has raised $86,675 thus far this year.

The group’s goal is to raise $100,000. Donations have been made by 322 donors.

Money raised by the group will be used to pay for stabilization and restoration of the Rockhill machine shops complex

Next year the Friends group will seek to raise funds to pay for repairs of the Rockhill coal tipple and to improve programming at the Robertsdale station.

Additional information is available at

In other EBT news, Railfan and Railroad magazine reported on its website that the tourist railroad handled more than 10,000 passengers in its first year of renewed operations.

The EBT resumed carrying passengers this year after being out of service since 2011.

Railroad general manager Brad Esposito said EBT operated 42 excursions and plans to increase that number in 2022.

Officials are optimistic that some 2022 trips will be pulled by restored steam locomotives.

Although a full schedule of 2022 excursions won’t begin until next May, EBT plans to offer a few trips during the winter and early spring.

Esposito said about 20 percent of EBT passengers have participated in shop tours.

As for when steam will return, Esposito could give no date but said restoration work is going well on Baldwin-built 2-8-2 No. 16.

BT schedules and ticket information is available at To read more about recent developments involving EBT, visit

Steam Saturday: One Day on the East Broad Top

November 20, 2021

Paul Woodring, Jim Bacon, and I were at the East Broad Top on May 1, 1982, where EBT 12 and its train were heading back to Orbisonia.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

EBT Continues Restoration Work, Planning More

October 11, 2021

The historic East Broad Top Railroad and allied Friends of the East Broad Top group recently shared some updates on their efforts to get the Pennsylvania narrow gauge tourist railroad in to service.

That included finishing track rehabilitation to the Colgate Grove picnic area and wye.

The work, included removing brush, replacing cross ties and installing ballast, was completed in time for a EBT Friends annual reunion last weekend.

Opening the track to Colgate Grove adds another mile and a half to excursion train service although surfacing work remains to be completed.

Scheduled excursion train service returned on June 11 over three miles between Rockhill Furnace and Runk Road.

The EBT is now turning its attention to rehabilitating the track south of Rockhill Furnace with the goal of providing excursions into a scenic mountainous area once dotted with coal mines.

This is work is getting a boost from the EBT Friends group which recently pledged to assist with this work.

The railroad would like to reopen 20 miles of track in a region that has not seen regular EBT train service since 1956.

Thus far the excursion trains have been pulled by a center-cab General Electric switcher with occasional special appearances of a gas-electric car built by the EBT in 1927.

However, shop workers are seeking to restore EBT steam locomotives to operating condition.

EBT officials say Nos. 16 and 14 may be the first locomotives to begin revenue service followed by No. 15, which was the last steam locomotive to operate on the railroad before operations ceased in 2011.

The EBT Friends group also said it is raising money to rebuild a razed passenger and freight station and water tank in Saltillo, located 7.8 miles south of Rockhill Furnace.

The first step is to raise $25,000 for preliminary work to be done by architect John Bowie of Philadelphia, a longtime FEBT member and author of the Historic American Engineering Record study of the Saltillo depot before it was demolished.

Bowie will donate his time for that phase of the project.

EBT General Manager Brad Esposito said the 275-foot-long 1904 steel trestle over Aughwick Creek at Pogue although it will need abutment work.

He described tunnels at Sideling Hill and Ray’s Hill as “not great, but not terrible.”

The EBT Friends group has been working for years to help stabilize the shops complex in Rockhill Furnace where some structures were sinking into the ground; leaning at precarious angles; and suffering roof, rafter, foundation, and window damage

The East Broad Top Foundation, which owns the railroad, has raised $156,919 thus far this year.

The foundation and the EBT Friends group both said their membership has increased significantly since the foundation acquired the railroad.

EBT Restoration Work Continues to Progress

October 5, 2021

Officials of the historic East Broad Top narrow gauge tourist railroad in Pennsylvania said track repair and restoration of shop facilities continues at a rapid pace.

Track work has involved replacing thousands of crossties while the shops in Orbisonia have been stabilized.

EBT has purchased a standard-gauge tamper that it converted to narrow gauge use.

Excursion trains are currently operating over 2.5 miles of track between Orbisonia and Runk Road fill.

Work on the Orbisonia shops has included restoring line shafts in the main building and stopping the structure from sinking further into the ground.

Officials said the shops were built over a marsh and in some places structures had sunk as many as 3 feet.

Every building in the complex has been restored to a level footing.

On Sept. 16, EBT held a golden spike ceremony to mark the first time since 2011 that a train has operated to the Colgate Grove picnic area where trains have traditionally been turned.

EBT hopes to be able to resume regular excursions to Colgate Grove by late this year.

No date has been announced yet when steam operations will return to the EBT although shop forces continue to work to restore the railroad’s fleet of five steam engines.

The first steamer expected to return to operation will be 2-8-2 No. 16, which last steamed in 1956 and never operated during the tourist era.

EBT 16 May Steam This Year

August 22, 2021

East Broad Top Railroad officials won’t say when its first steam locomotive will be restored to operating condition, but indicated it could be this year.

The locomotive, Baldwin-built 2-8-2 No. 16, continues to progress with work completed on its air tanks, dynamo, piping, two air pumps, two Hancock Inspirator injectors, new ceramic insulation, and new boiler jacketing.

Trains magazine reported on its website on Saturday that the tender tank for No. 16 was returned to Curry Rail Services for additional work.

EBT workers are rehabilitating passenger cars at the rate of one car every week or two.

Workers also are seeking to finish rebuilding the track in a quarter-mile section to enable trains to reach Colgate Grove, the traditional northern terminus for trains between 1961 and 2011.

The work includes replacing ties, improving drainage, and clearing brush on an S-curve north of Runk Road Bridge.

EBT Acquires ex-PRR Steel Boxcar

August 21, 2021

Pennsylvania-based East Broad Top Railroad has acquired a standard-gauge 40-foot steel boxcar that it will use to show how such cars were once handled on the narrow-gauge railroad.

The car is a former Pennsylvania Railroad X29-class car that EBT got from the now defunct Kiski Junction Railroad in Schenley, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh.

EBT staff will show visitors how the railroad avoided a costly and time-consuming transfer of freight between standard and three-foot narrow gauge cars.

The car the EBT received will need to be restored before it can be used for that purpose.

Back when it was still a common carrier freight hauler, the EBT used its Timber Transfer crane at Mount Union, Pennsylvania, to transform the car to narrow-gauge operation.

The car was built for the Pennsy in 1934.

EBT officials hope to eventually acquire two more standard-gauge cars, perhaps a covered hopper, gondola, or tank car to use as examples of cars that traveled on the EBT.