Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania tourist railroads’

Colebrookdale Receives $2.25M State Grant

January 17, 2023

Pennsylvania-based Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust has received a $2.25 million grant from the state.

The funding will be to create a new event space and market area in the yard of the Colebrookdale Railroad in downtown Boyerstown, Pennsylvania.

Aside from a market building the project will create a café, stage, restrooms, flagpole plaza and event support space. Work is expected to begin in 2024.

The grant is being awarded by the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Matching funds for the grant will be provided by federal, county, and local funds.

EBT to Create New Facilities at Colgate Grove

November 9, 2022

Pennsylvania tourist hauler East Broad Top Railroad is planning to construct new facilities at its Colgate Grove picnic area.

Trains magazine reported on its website that EBT will create two small pavilions, a boarding platform and restroom facilities at the site, which has historically been where trains turned to return to Rockhill Furnace between 1960 and 2011.

The new facilities will open next year. The Trains report noted that what will be built will be a smaller scale project from the original concept that included a large event center.

The previous pavilions at Colgate Grove have been razed after falling into decrepit condition. There has never been a boarding platform at Colgate Grove.

EBT resumed operating trains to Colgate Grove in October 2021 although without giving passengers a chance to disembark there.

N&W 475 Back in Steam on Strasburg Rail Road

November 8, 2022

A Strasburg Rail Road steam locomotive that collided with an excavator is back in service.

Former Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 No. 475 was repaired by the railroad’s shop forces and ready to resume revenue service for the Pennsylvania tourist railroad.

The engine was running around its train on Nov. 2 when it struck the excavator on a spur track in Paradise, Pennsylvania.

The collision was seen live via a webcam operated by Virtual Railfan. The switch had been left open and the locomotive engineer can be seen waving at passengers aboard the train before the collision.

The bucket of the excavator punched a hole in the locomotive’s smokebox.

Pa. Tourist Railroad Repaints GP9u

November 7, 2022

Pennsylvania tourist railroad New Hope Railroad has repainted a locomotive that will pull excursions this fall.

Given the company’s corporate colors was GP9u 8678, a former Canadian Pacific unit that was rebuilt in 1988.

Railfan and Railroad magazine reported that for the past five years No. 8678 has worn a maroon livery. After being repainted it is maroon, black and yellow with “New Hope” lettering.

The railroad was formerly named the New Hope & Ivyland and operates from New Hope to Lahaska and Buckingham.

Information about excursions, some of which are puled by former Lancaster & Chester 2-8-0 No 40, is available at

Repairs Begin on Strasburg Steam Locomotive Damaged in Crash with Construction Equipment

November 4, 2022

A screen shot of a Virtual Railfan webcam feed shows N&W 475 just before it struck construction equipment.

Repair work has begun on a Strasburg Rail Road steam locomotive that struck construction equipment on Wednesday.

Former Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 No. 475 struck an excavator on a spur truck as it was running around its train at Paradise, Pennsylvania.

The collision damaged the locomotive’s smokebox and headlight. A diesel locomotive was dispatched to pull the train back to Strasburg.

Railfan & Railroad magazine reported on its website that repair work to the 475 began on Thursday and officials were unsure when the engine would return to service.

The Federal Railroad Administration has begun an investigation into the collison, which was shown live on a web camera operated by Virtual Railfan.

The video of the crash can be seen at

The video shows the locomotive engineer waving at passengers aboard the train shortly before the crash.

The 425 went through a misaligned switch that had been left open by the crew that had operated the excavator.

Strasburg rail officials told Railfan & Railroad they will use the incident as a training tool to ensure that such an incident doesn’t happen again.

There were no injuries as a result of the collision.

The Hunt for Gold October in Pa. (Part 3)

October 19, 2022

My next stop on my Pennsylvania fall foliage tour was the East Broad Top/Rockhill Trolley Museum in Orbisonia.

The trolley museum was also running pumpkin patch specials while EBT was running regular trips behind diesel M7.  

Three streetcars were in use.  Cars 355 and 311 both from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Car 163 from York, Pennsylvania, were running. 

I focused more on the trolleys as the sun angles were too harsh to chase the EBT train.

I did get a good photo when they were turning M7 on the wye shared with the trolley museum.  There was one tree perfectly situated for getting trains in the photo, so I focused on that mainly.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

EBT Specials Use Track Unused for 6 Decades

October 12, 2022

Special trains on the East Broad Top Railroad operated last weekend over a mile of track that has been closed for more than six decades.

The Friends of the East Broad Top rode a portion of the south end of the line in an open air car pulled by Plymouth diesel-hydraulic switcher M-6.

A report on the website of Trains magazine indicated that the trips left Rockhill Yard and ran to the Pennsylvania Route 475 grade crossing.

That track segment has never been used for excursion service during the tourist operation era on the historic Pennsylvania narrow gauge railroad.

Members of the Friends group have been working to repair the track so that it can handle work trains, speeders, and handcars.

Eventually EBT has an objective of restoring by late next year the track as far as Pogue, which is located two miles south of the Route 475 crossing.

To read the story go to

Ex-Pennsy Steamer Toils in Obscurity

September 3, 2022

A former Pennsylvania Railroad 0-6-0 switch engine is being steamed up is pulling excursions over the Williams Grove Railroad in Pennsylvania in relative obscurity.

The engine operates over a mile of track about 10 miles south of Harrisburg. It is the only operating ex-Pennsy steam locomotive currently in operation.

No. 643 was built in June 1901 at the Juniata Shops in Altoona, Pennsylvania, as one of 133 class B4/B4a engines built in Altoona or by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia between 1892 and 1904.

The excursions include two former Everett Railroad open cars and a steel PRR Class N5 cabin car.

The excursions are sponsored by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association.

A report on the website of Railfan and Railroad magazine indicated the 643 is equipped with a three-chime PRR passenger whistle, which it would not have had during it working life.

The excursions are 25 minutes and fares are $7.

The current west end of track ends alongside the former Reading Company Lurgan Branch, now part of Norfolk Southern’s New Jersey-to-Atlanta Crescent Corridor.

The excursions pause next to the NS tracks in hopes of seeing an NS train pass by.

No. 643 spent four decades of its working life at Central Iron & Steel Company of Harrisburg (later, Phoenix Iron & Steel).

The 643, which operated as No. 5 at the steel mill, was found inside a building when the mill was dismantled in 1961.

The Williams Grove group purchased it and began restoring it to operating condition.

Williams Grove trains run intermittently with certain exceptions during the year. The schedule can be found at

Ride in 2022 For 1997 Prices

August 17, 2022

The Pennsylvania-based West Chester Railroad plans to offer trips on Sept. 25 for the same fares as the railroad charged in 1997.

The event is part of a celebration of the railroad’s 25th anniversary of operation.

West Chester operates over nearly eight miles of former Pennsylvania Railroad track between its namesake city and Glen Mills.

At the time of its founding, trains were pulled by an Alco S-2 built in 1949 for the Chesapeake & Ohio.

That locomotive is still on the property and recently received a new paint scheme to celebrate its heritage.

The motive power fleet has since expanded to include a GP9, Montreal Locomotive Works C424 and RS-18 units, and a GP38.

The Sept. 25 excursion will feature former Reading Blueliners, built in the early 1930s. Tickets will be $8 for adults and $4 for children.

Tours of the yard and locomotive cabs will be available, along with technical demonstrations.

The events will be held at the station and the yard in West Chester, with shuttles service between the two points.

R&N Offering New Class of Service

August 12, 2022

The interior of the new Crown Class coach on the Reading & Norther. (R&N photo)

Pennsylvania regional railroad Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern has added a new class of seating for its tourist train operations.

It has converted a former Illinois Central Railroad heavyweight passenger car into “Crown Class” service for its Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway excursions.

Car No. 450 has been named the Pagoda after the seven-story Reading Pagoda near Reading, Pennsylvania, that was built in the early 20th century.

In a news release, R&N said it acquired the car at an auction of the assets of the bankrupt Iowa Pacific and its shop workers have given it a thorough cleaning and installed new seat upholstering.

Most R&N passenger cars feature open air seating, but the Pagoda has air conditioning, added this year by railroad contractors and employees.