Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania tourist railroads’

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.

Rainy Day on the Oil Creek & Titusville

July 13, 2021

Getting ready to depart Titusville, Pennsylvania.
Doing the runaround of the motive power at Rynd Farm.
Arriving at Petroleum Center
About to cross Oil Creek on the return trip.

This past Sunday (July 11), Marty Surdyk and I ventured to Titusville, Pennsylvania to ride the Oil Creek & Titusville.

The weather forecast leading up to Sunday was horrible for our area and for where we were headed.

Marty picked me up about 8:20 a.m. The drive most of the way was cloudy with a few sprinkles. We arrived in Titusville to overcast skies but no rain yet. At the departure time of 11 a.m. we still were OK.

After passing the Drake Well Museum we went out to the open gondola on the rear of the train. About eight minutes later the heavens opened up. The crew sent everybody back to the coaches for safety since the gondola would become very slippery from the rain.

Shorty before arriving at Rynd Farm the rain let up. Upon our departure about 30 minutes later we still were OK and we were welcome in the gondola.

We were good for about 45 minutes then our seats were more inviting for the remainder of the trip. Just before 2 p.m. the train arrived back at Titusville.

Our motive power was ex-Canadian National 3568, an M420W that was built by Montreal Locomotive Works, Canada’s division of Alco, in September 1976.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Historic Pennsylvania Tunnel Reopened

June 30, 2021

A Pennsylvania tourist railroad has reopened a stretch of track that includes the Howard Tunnel near York.

The Northern Central Railway on June 26 ran its replica 4-4-0 steam locomotive to celebrate the occasion.

It was the first revenue service train to pass through the tunnel in more than two decades. The track is a former Pennsylvania Railroad line that once linked York with Baltimore.

Much of the route was abandoned by Penn Central after suffering severe damage by Hurricane Agnes in 1972.

Howard Tunnel is the third oldest railroad tunnel in the nation. Completed in 1838, the 370-foot bricked-lined tunnel is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The rail line itself was built in the 1830s. The segment between New Freedom and York was acquired by the state in order to preserve it.

There is a connection at New Freedom with the Stewartstown Railroad.

The 4-4-0 that ran last weekend was built by Kloke Locomotive Works.

EBT Hires Archivist to Sort Through Records

June 24, 2021

Pennsylvania-based East Broad Top Railroad has hired an archivist who will begin the process of organizing and cataloging hundreds of cubic feet of company records.

Julie K. Rockwell of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, is overseeing the archiving process, including sorting through the records that document operations between 1873 and 1956.

The archivist position is jointly funded by $10,000 each from the 1,500-member Friends of the East Broad Top volunteer organization and an anonymous donor.

Rockwell holds a master’s degree program in museum studies and digital archiving from Johns Hopkins University.

She has worked on programs to interpret and curate displays on the history of canals and the Pennsylvania Railroad photography of William H. Rau.

She is being assisted by an intern, Sammy Bellin, who is a history major at Juniata College in Huntingdon.

Rockwell said most of the material is well-kept because it was stored in controlled conditions.

The records are being stored in three brick-lined fireproof vaults that are at least 12 feet tall.

The records include right-of-way maps, building and rolling-stock blueprints and linen drawings, deeds, photos, board of directors minute ledgers, mortgage documents, correspondence, train orders, clearance cards, daily locomotive inspection reports, purchase orders, payroll time-slip records, shop invoices, tax records and news clippings.

However, Bellin said the EBT may have been meticulous in keeping records but was less conscientious about organizing them.

EBT Launches Scheduled Excursion Service

June 16, 2021

The historic Pennsylvania-based East Broad Top Railroad inaugurated scheduled service on June 11.

Although the narrow gauge railroad has offered a handful of excursions during special events, it was the first time that it has operated scheduled public passenger service since 2011.

The first train was pulled by General Electric center-cab diesel switcher No. M-7 and ran from Rockhill Furnace for about 3½ miles to Runk Road Bridge.

The train operated three round trips over the weekend.

Special movements ran earlier in the week to Colgate Grove using gas-electric car No. M-1 and parlor car No. 20, the Orbisonia.

One of those trips, on June 8, carried the EBT Foundation’s board of directors who inspected the progress made in rebuilding he railroad.

EBT officials have said they hope to begin scheduled service to Colgate Grove within a few weeks.

Track on the wye at Colgate Grove is being relaid with work almost complete on the south leg.

Trains will depart at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. on June 25-27 and July 9-11 and 23-25.

Service beyond those dates has yet to be announced but special runs are set for events being held

Aug. 12-15; Sept. 11-12; Oct. 9; Oct. 16-17, 23-24; Dec. 4; and Nov. 26-28, and Dec. 3-5 and 10-12.

EBT Rebuilds Bridge, Lays Ballast

May 15, 2021

Workers at the East Broad Top Railroad have repaired a damaged bridge and are laying ballast on the mainline in preparation for the resumption of regular service next month.

The historic narrow gauge Pennsylvania tourist railroad is seeking to reopen much of the original 33-mile main line.

The replacement bridge is located about 3.5 miles north of EBT’s yard and headquarters at Rockhill Furnace.

It was damaged last year when struck by an over-height truck. The collision dented a girder and knocked the track out of alignment.

The repair work included concrete and stone abutment work, and placement of new I-beams and bridge timbers on the 12-foot span.

Last week a ballast train dumped about 500 tons of crushed limestone along the track, including at “Long Fill,” a popular site for photographers shooting from nearby U.S. Route 522.

EBT has ordered a ballast tamper that should arrive soon.

There remains about a mile of track to be rehabilitated with gauging, tie replacement, and surfacing to make the line usable to Colgate Grove, where locomotives are turned on a wye.

Work being done along the right of way also includes creating ditching in cuts and placement of new culvert pipe to improve drainage.

In Rockhill Furnace, concrete pavement has been poured at the station loading area, stone have been placed for a new parking area north of the station, and low wooden split-rail fences have been placed to guide pedestrian traffic patterns.

Plans are to use the freight station as a staging area for shop tours.

EBT Scheduled Excursions Return June 11

May 3, 2021

The East Board Top Railroad will begin scheduled operations on June 11.

The Pennsylvania historic narrow gauge railroad has been out of service since 2011 and is now owned by a nonprofit foundation.

The initial schedule shows one-hour diesel-powered trips on alternate three-day weekends in June and July.

Train departures from the Rockhill Furnace station will be at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. on June 11-13, June 25-27, July 9-11, and July 23-25.

Tickets will cost $20 for adults, $18 for children age 11 and under. Passengers can also charter a caboose for $200 for a party of eight.

A series of special events have been scheduled through the end of the year.

Trains will be powered by No. M-7, a 1964 center-cab General Electric switching locomotive formerly owned by Algoma Steel.

Restoration work continues on two of the railroad’s  six Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-8-2 steam locomotives but no date has been set for their return to service.

One hour guided tours of the Rockhill Furnace shop complex will be available for $15 for adults and $10 for children.

Visitors will have the option of purchasing a ticket good for a ride on the EBT and a visit to the adjacent Rockhill Trolley Museum, an electric heritage railway that uses part of the EBT’s former Shade Gap Branch.

A visitor parking lot has been established on the north side of the Rockhill Furnace station.

R&N Plans RDC Mainline Trips in 2021

April 24, 2021

Pennsylvania-based Reading & Northern Railroad plans to offer a series of mainline excursions with its Budd RDC cars between May and November.

The trips will operate between “Outer Station” along Route 61 north of Reading and Jim Thorpe with intermediate stops in Port Clinton and Tamaqua.

The first trip will be May 8 and the last is scheduled for Nov. 21.

Passengers will have a three-and-a-half hour layover in Jim Thorpe with the opportunity to ride the Lehigh Gorge Scenic during that time.

Trips depart Reading at 9 a.m. and return by 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $39 per person if traveling the entire route or $24 if boarding at an intermediate station.

More information and ticket purchase information is available at

The R&N’s RDC fleet includes cars built between 1951 and 1958 for the Boston & Maine, New Haven, and New York Central.

Strasburg Rail Road to Host N&W 611

April 21, 2021

The Strasburg Rail Road said this week that Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 will spend much of the year on its grounds and pull a series of 45-minute excursions.

The 611 will be on site between May 21 and Oct. 3 and will be the motive power for the day’s main train on select days running to Paradise, Pennsylvania, and return.

Dates the 611 is expected to operate are May 22-23; May 29-30; June 5-6; July 2-4; July 10-11: July 17-18: July 24-25; Aug. 20-22; Aug. 27-29; Sept.4-5; Sept. 24-26; and Oct. 2-3.

Fares for coach and open air cars are $16.50 and $18.50. Tickets for first class are $22.50 and $27.50 and include parlor, lounge and club cars. Also available will be a dining car option and a wine and cheese event.

To purchase tickets for these events visit

On the website select “Regular Daily Steam Train” then search by date or accommodation.

Other events set to be offered include a hand-on-the-throttle event, a fireman’s seat event and a jump seat event.

The engineer’s eat event is described as a 30-minute experience allows participants to operate the locomotive.

Participants will receive an orientation about the controls and operate under the direction of a certified steam locomotive engineer.

The fireman’s seat experience also is a 30-minute event in which participants will serve as a locomotive fireman under the direction of an experienced steam locomotive fireman.

Some of these events have already sold out or are expected to sell out soon.

Also being advertised on the Strasburg website are various other experiences including blowing the whistle of the 611, working as a “hostler,” cab tours, and helping to fire up the locomotive before it sets out on its journeys.

The Strasburg Rail Road is located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.