polybalt wrote:The difference with EBT is that is privately owned by an individual and subject to his whims. In fact the owner is a scrap dealer! It is unlikely the Commonwealth, or any public agency using taxpayer dollars would put any money into EBT without getting a committment to continue operations, which they are not able to get.
This is true. EBT is still owned by Kovalchick Salvage.
I am not trying to pound on the Kovalchick family. But after what I have read, it appears that Kovalchick Salvage is on something of a power trip, in that they know the fragile gold mine they are sitting on, and simply refuse to sell it to any public agency or railfan organization. I am having visions of Gerard Turco, the land developer who made NJT's life living hell for the Lackawanna Cut-Off. In fact, the state issued a $40 million state bond for acquiring abandoned rail rights-of-way, which was then approved by the voters. Then, NJDOT subsequently initiated condemnation proceedings against the corporations that Turco set up in New Jersey for the Cut-Off.
I think PA should offer to purchase the line from the Kovalchick family. If they refuse, then do what what NJT did to Conrail's River LINE - purchase it (for $67.5 million). Then select an operator. I am sure there is a great deal of legal issues I am skipping here, but I cannot image one family who bought the EBT for scrap in 1956 to not want to at least work with the towns of Orbisonia and Rockhill Furnace to rehab more of the line.
Yes, I know about the the Friends of the East Broad Top that raise money and add lots of sweat equity to try to save the whole place from deferred maintenance. Has this group (with the aid of the state) tried to obtain rights to the line?
polybalt wrote:Five miles is a perfect length for a tourist railroad from a business point-of-view. Adding (and maintaining) additional miles will not result in enough additional revenue to pay the added costs. Remember that Strasburg is probably the most successful tourist railway in the country, across the street from RRMP. Their line is barely three miles long. The concensus in the business is that typical visitors are happiest with a ride less than 1 hour long.
You are indeed right: five miles is the perfect length for a good tourist railroad from a business point-of-view. Strasburg, Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern - all very successful. But there are also examples like Conway Scenic, with excursions of varying duration.
Plus, the EBT is not your average heritage railway. It has its original rolling stock, it's the only narrow gauge line left in the East, and complete intact (I could go with all its unique-ness) By no means should only 5 miles be restored because it is the accepted standard in the Heritage RR business.
polybalt wrote:The real experts in getting people ( with kids) to pay for a train ride are the people who license that little blue tank engine. They demand that the train ride be exacty 20 minutes long.
Thomas the Tank Engine is absolutely perfect for EBT. The very look and feel of EBT is straight out of an episode of the television show.