• The East Broad Top

  • General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.
General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.

Moderators: Miketherailfan, rob216

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  by trackwelder
how are they working out? i had a job interview with a rail services company last october and the owner had nothing nice to say about the new management.
  by ebtrr
jtaeffner wrote:how are they working out? i had a job interview with a rail services company last october and the owner had nothing nice to say about the new management.
I cannot speak to how they work with other companies, but as an FEBT Volunteer, they made a number of very positive changes that were needed. 1) EBT now accepts credit cards 2) Gift shop has much better selection and equipment and along with 1 you can see a lot more merchandise moving 3) Addition of special events and marketing. So far they have not been able to attract grants or investments needed to purchase the railroad.
  by toolmaker
Has there been a change in the operations? The last newsletter was 2011 found in the second like posted above.
  by trackwelder
the new operator isn't exactly running things to the owner's liking, so he may be out this year. future of the railroad at this time is uncertain.
  by Franklin Gowen
Here's the clear, concise and very depressing revelation that online visitors are now greeted with when visiting http://www.ebtrr.com :
To all our friends, fellow railroaders, and loyal patrons:

It is with great remorse that the East Broad Top Railroad officially announces that we will not be operating steam powered excursions for the 2012 season. On April 1st, 2012, the East Broad Top Preservation Association's 3-year lease to operate the East Broad Top Railroad with an option to buy has ended. After painstaking talks and options were evaluated and discussed, no arrangement could be made between the East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company and the East Broad Top Preservation Association.

At this time there are no certainties beyond 2012. We can't say this is the end of the line, nor can we say this is just temporary. Should any type of operations or events be planned in the future, we will announce them here. Until then there are no further details.

The decision to close this season was a difficult one. The employees of the East Broad Top Railroad would like to say "Thank You" to all of our patrons, fans, and supporters for allowing us to serve you with the enchanting and historical experience on America's oldest operating narrow gauge steam railroad. Rest assured it is difficult for us to accept that we are unable to provide a memorable visit on our railroad, much the same as it is for you to read this announcement. If it was not for the kind support of our visitors over the past 51 years we would have never made it this far. Again, we thank you for the greatest experience we could ever imagine.

The East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company
And from the railroad's Facebook page:
Well here it is. The railroad will NOT run this summer. Things could not be worked out between Mr. Kovalchick and EBTPA. We will still be offering tours of the shops and round house for groups of 20 or more people but they must call the station and make arrangments for that at 814-447-3011.This does not mean that the railroad will not open back up next year, we will be looking at all the possibilities to try and reopen in 2013. We will keep you posted as to what is going on with the railroad as the year goes by.
  by trackwelder
this is extremely sad. especially considering all the work that's been done there recently. who knows, perhaps this means mr. kovalchick has some big plans and needs some time to get it together. optimism, right?
  by ebtrr
This is not the end of the EBT. FEBT's restoration programs at both Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace will continue with the owner's blessing. We have just wrapped up a week-long restoration blitz. The seriously endangered Blacksmith Shop has been righted this spring and is receiving a great deal of work. Several hundred square feet of roof were re-coated and many small leaks patched. More historic machines and line shafts will be coming back into operation.

Your support now more important than ever. Consider donating http://www.febt.org/donate.html or volunteering http://www.febt.org/volunt.html .
  by woodsie
Good grief! It can't be money, can it?
  by trackwelder
woodsie wrote:Good grief! It can't be money, can it?

it's a lotta things. mr. kovalchick wants out of the railroad business, and the only serious buyer is kinda shady. also, despite the excellent efforts of the volunteers, a TON of maintenance work needs to happen to motive power and the main line. some bright railfan (me?) needs to hit the powerball and swoop in to snatch it up, dump a ton of money in to it, and get creative with new revenue streams.
  by mfmalk

On two separate occasions last month, by special invitation and permission by railroad management, I was allowed access to the East Broad Top’s roundhouse and backshops.

The granddaddy of steam-era portals to the past, I found the interiors particularly difficult to photograph; to capture both the magnitude of preserved industrial revolution before my eyes, and what I was feeling while roaming the hallowed grounds. It boggles the mind that these scenes from 100+ years ago still exist.

All the stable mates are there; old friends - still together - getting older: 16, 18, 12, 17, 15, 14 & M-1.

Time stands still.

  by trackwelder
one of these days this road will run again again, and i, for one, can't wait for that day. i really need to get out there and do some more work.
  by russ59dd
I brought my family to EBTRR a couple years before they closed for a pre-Halloween weekend...it was great. We were very sad to hear about what has happened and I try to keep up with news using the www; but one topic I never see raised is if the local government and state reps would try to make this a working state park.

Is anybody trying that?
  by thebigham
http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... Jo.twitter" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piece
Owner Joe Kovalchick says he declined to sell individual narrow gauge locomotives
By Wayne Laepple | September 29, 2017

INDIANA, Pa. — "The East Broad Top is sleeping," Joe Kovalchick says.

Indeed, it's been five years since the legendary narrow gauge railroad has operated for the public. The famed narrow-gauge coal hauler’s modern-day owner, Kovalchick, says he's trying to find someone, some group or agency to buy the 33-mile railroad.

"I want to keep it together," he says. "It's important to maintain that."

He says he's had offers to buy the locomotives, but he doesn't want to sell them piecemeal. He said he had feelers out but so far, no offers.

There have been a handful of private runs since the railroad's popular 9-mile round-trips behind steam ended in 2011. Gas-electric car M-1 and one of the road's center-cab diesels have made runs for the annual Friends of the East Broad Top October gathering, and more recently, several EBT motor cars have made shorter trips.

However, during the EBT's hibernation, the Friends’ organizations has kept up its work. Lee Rainey, the organization’s president, says volunteers continue to preserve and stabilize buildings with monthly work weekends year-round and a full week of work in May. Kovalchick has partnered the Friends for this work.

"Major stabilization work was begun and is about half done on the freight house. Built in 1884, the freight house was in very precarious condition," Rainey says. In addition, Rainey says work on the foundry and the south end of the locomotive shop is complete. Another crew has been stabilizing the lumber shed, and much new window sash has been fabricated for installation in the blacksmith shop, roundhouse and other buildings. Work continues on the restoration of 1882 combine No. 14.

The East Broad Top Preservation Association, formed in 2010, operated the railroad for two years and was trying to raise about $8 million to buy it. But, as of late 2017, it has succeeded only in purchasing the standard gauge former Conrail connection in Mount Union, Pa., and about four miles of the East Broad Top south to Aughwick, Pa. At present the standard gauge trackage is used for railcar storage. The association was able to secure a state grant to re-purpose part of the Mount Union interchange yard into a linear park and install new ties into a portion of the EBT yard. Attempts to reach the association were unsuccessful.
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