• 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 Pacobell73
 
If the rest of the line was abandoned, ripped up, converted into a trail, etc., then yes, leave it and be happy with what we have.

But watching the bulk of it still intact, left to sit and rot away, makes no sense to me. And if I had the $$$ to buy EBT in full, I indeed would.
Last edited by Pacobell73 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by rwk
 
Which portion is more scenic? The currently running portion north to the wye and grove, or the other way where the speeders go and beyond toward Saltillo, the tunnels, etc? Would it be possible to cross Pogue bridge again or is it in bad condition? It would have been nice to have the line open the other way at least to Three Springs or Saltillo as an alternate route for the train, but the half mile or so cleared portion the other way past Rockhill is only good enough for speeders right now, not the train. When the steam train returns to Rockhill, don't they turn the entire train on the wye, first down the leg toward the trolley museum, then back up the other leg toward the cleared speeder line, then pull forward up the main to the station? I assume they back the train only far enough to clear the switch at the south end of the wye, then pull forward. Same for the wye at the grove, do they just clear the north leg switch then back up to the other leg, then pull forward and stop? They could have restored a bit of the line into Shirleysburg the train would go past the wye, then back up for that mile back to the wye to turn around. It would extend the ride a bit. Or, back the train farther down the cleared section south of Rockhill when turning on the wye but would require making the track safer to support the weight of the train. If they only add about 2 miles more to the train route it would be a 14 mile round trip. They could extend about a mile north of the grove wye, and also down to Rt. 475 the other way if they can make the track good enough to handle the train. Otherwise, it's stuck at the 5 miles. Any further extensions to the current route north or south would require the train to back up for a longer distance past either wye. Plus, don't forget all the trees that would have to be cut and uprooted from within the tracks on the out of service portions. A heavy job.
  by Pacobell73
 
i look at operations like the Upper Hudson River Railroad (UHRR) http://uhrr.com/index.asp?lg=1&w=pages&r=0&pid=2, and see EBT doing the same thing---without losing any of its charm. Then again, UHRR is owned by Warren County, NY and they run it in the interest of tourism and economic development. They also contract out to the Upper Hudson River Railroad to actually run the trains.

Very different set up than the EBT. They run it in the interest of $$$. No profit, bye bye EBT.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
Pacobell73 wrote:But watching the bulk of it still intact, left to sit and rot away, makes no sense to me. And if I had the $$$ to buy EBT in full, I indeed would.
And yet no one else is running up to purchase this cash cow, either!! I wonder why!! :-) That Kovalchik family doesn't know what a GOLD MINE they are sitting on!! What a bunch of idiots they must be! All that profit potential with weeds growing up in it! For shame...

Oh shoot, does this version of the forum software come with the [dripping sarcasm] tag?
  by Pacobell73
 
Otto Vondrak wrote:
Pacobell73 wrote:But watching the bulk of it still intact, left to sit and rot away, makes no sense to me. And if I had the $$$ to buy EBT in full, I indeed would.
And yet no one else is running up to purchase this cash cow, either!! I wonder why!! :-) That Kovalchik family doesn't know what a GOLD MINE they are sitting on!! What a bunch of idiots they must be! All that profit potential with weeds growing up in it! For shame...
"For shame, doc. Shooting a rabbit with an elephant gun."
Oiy vey... :(
  by JhnZ33
 
Check this out from Trains magazine. Quite interesting!

http://www.trains.com/trn/default.aspx?c=a&id=5023

And just in case the link gets broken:
New nonprofit organization to operate East Broad Top Railroad

Published: Thursday, May 07, 2009

Rockhill Furnace, Pa. - A new nonprofit organization has signed an agreement to operate the East Broad Top Railroad for three years, and the organization hopes to attract enough grant money during that time to buy the Pennsylvania narrow gauge from its longtime owners, Joe and Judy Kovalchick. The railroad, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, has had a precarious existence in recent decades, with each operating season rumored to be its last.

The new organization, the East Broad Top Railroad Preservation Association, was put together by Larry Salone, who took over as executive director of the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum in 2007. Salone is a restaurant- and engineering-company owner who says he took his first train ride as a kid on the East Broad Top, which the Kovalchick family has operated as a tourist railroad since 1960. Joe Kovalchick's father, Nick, was a salvage dealer who bought the railroad after its last common-carrier runs, in April 1956.

Salone, who scheduled a press conference at the railroad Friday, said during a visit to the EBT last Saturday that the railroad's current employees would remain on the payroll, and that the schedule for the coming year would remain largely unchanged. But he said he hoped that riders would begin to notice small improvements as soon as the EBT opens, on June 6. The railroad will accept credit cards for the first time, he said, and shuttle buses will run between the East Broad Top and the Altoona museum during the museum's annual railfest weekend, June 27-28.

He said he planned to begin seeking money to reopen about six miles of track from the current end of operations into Mount Union, where the railroad transferred coal and other freight to the Pennsylvania Railroad in a dual-gauge yard. Salone also discussed putting a second EBT steam engine back in service - most likely No. 14, a 1912 Baldwin Mikado that is nearly identical to the only engine currently operating, No. 15. In addition, he talked about converting additional freight cars for passenger service so that the line's 19th-century coaches could be reserved for special occasions.

The East Broad Top began operating in 1873 along a main line roughly 33 miles long, of which about five miles are currently in service. The rest of the railroad is almost entirely intact but is badly overgrown. In addition to six narrow-gauge 2-8-2s in three sizes, the EBT has a unique 1927 Brill gas-electric car in operating condition, a standard-gauge 0-6-0 in Mount Union, and a sprawling machine-shop complex that is being restored by a volunteer organization, the Friends of the East Broad Top. The Rockhill Trolley Museum operates on a portion of the railroad's old Shade Gap branch.
JP
  by Pacobell73
 
The defense rests. Thank you much,JhnZ33. I intend on contacting the new operators to commend them personally.
  by JhnZ33
 
Pacobell73 wrote:Thank you much,JhnZ33.
You're quite welcome.

I guess we'll see if this is a good thing or a bad thing a few years down the road.

John
  by Pacobell73
 
JhnZ33 wrote:
Pacobell73 wrote:Thank you much,JhnZ33.
You're quite welcome. I guess we'll see if this is a good thing or a bad thing a few years down the road.
John
Yes. We will never know until we try, yes? :-D Can't cross that bridge unless it is built...
  by gp80mac
 
The good part is they will take credit cards (this is the year 2009, HEELLLOOO!)

The wait-n-see part? Have you guys been to the altoona museum lately? Cricket central. The railfests are now a joke and are advertised the night before.

Let's hope it turns out for the better.
  by JhnZ33
 
gp80mac wrote:The wait-n-see part? Have you guys been to the altoona museum lately? Cricket central.
Let's hope it turns out for the better.
Yes, let's hope it does turn out well. When I seen who was involved, I thought, uh-oh, knowing what happened in Altoona and with 1361.

But, we'll see how it goes.

JP
  by Pacobell73
 
Altoona, sadly, has really suffered from some poor management. I have spoken with the curator of the RR Museum of PA in Strasburg, ans asked do if they have a relationship of any kind with the Altoona museum. It was an emphatic "no." The curator later implied that the folks at Altoona are not easy to work with, despite severl attempts. :(
  by ohioriverrailway
 
i'm not going to hold my breath. Let's see what's left of the place after the three-year agreement has run out.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
Pacobell73 wrote:Altoona, sadly, has really suffered from some poor management. I have spoken with the curator of the RR Museum of PA in Strasburg, ans asked do if they have a relationship of any kind with the Altoona museum. It was an emphatic "no." The curator later implied that the folks at Altoona are not easy to work with, despite severl attempts. :(
Start a new thread if you want to discuss Altoona or anything else that isn't EBT. ;-)
  by ebtrr
 
19th-Century Steam Engine Will Be Star of East Broad Top's Fall Spectacular

The star of this year's Fall Spectacular at the East Broad Top Railroad will be as unlikely as it is rare: a post-Civil War steam engine that will be run for the first time since 1957. But it will run without going anywhere — it's the stationary steam engine that provided power to almost all the machinery in the railroad's historic machine shops.

"Most people have never seen anything this old run," says Dave Richards, a member of the volunteer Friends of the East Broad Top who helped get the engine back in good operating order this summer. Richards says the year in which the engine was built is unknown, as is the builder, but he believes the engine was originally purchased for one of the iron furnaces after which Rockhill Furnace, the railroad's home town, is named. A plaque mounted on the engine's base says it was installed in the railroad's then-new shops in 1882. The name of A. W. Sims, then the railroad's superintendent, also appears on the plaque.

Richards says the engine may even be older than the railroad, which was built from 1872 to 1874. It's "the simplest, most inefficient" type of steam engine, he says, with a fixed-cutoff design that much of the time would have used more steam than necessary. The engine's single cylinder turned an eight-foot flywheel to which a six-foot pulley is attached. A belt from that pulley looped up to the ceiling, and from there drove a system of overhead shafts, pulleys, and belts that reached almost every machine in the main shops building, the adjoining car shop, the blacksmith's shop, and the foundry.

Among the machines that the stationary engine powered are lathes, planers, drill presses, a wheel press, and a shear/hole punch—all of them still in place. Partly because the shops complex is so well preserved, the railroad was made a National Historic Landmark in 1964, and the shops were documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Record.

Although only a few of the machines would have been in use at any one time, Richards says the stationary engine was more than powerful enough to handle the shop's needs, even as the complex was expanded in the early 1900s. "It's set up for maximum power," he says. "My theory is that you could move heaven and earth with this engine."

After 1911 the engine drew steam from two massive, brick-walled Babcock & Wilcox boilers whose 90-foot-high stacks still tower over the railroad's yards. During the Fall Spectacular, however, the engine will operate on compressed air, since the boilers are inoperable.

The engine was uncovered this summer by members of a Friends of the East Broad Top team known as the Boiler House Rats. The team replaced a roof beam that had failed during the 1980s and then had to be supported by a lattice of wood cribbing built up over the engine. The cribbing not only hid the engine, but also locked it in place. The Rats—their t-shirts say "Anything Less Than a 4x4 Is Just Trim"—jacked up the entire roof to replace the beam so that the cribbing could come down. They are still working on a number of related projects, including rebuilding parts of the machine-shop roof and stabilizing the bases of the stacks.

Once the engine had been uncovered, the elegant device that regulated its speed—called a fly-ball governor—was retrieved from storage and put back where it belongs. Richards contrived a mechanical lubricator to oil the engine in the absence of the steam necessary to operate the original lubrication system.

The engine will be operated for the first time at 11 a.m. on Friday, October 9, and will also be demonstrated during shop tours Saturday and Sunday. The railroad's drill press and its wheel lathe will also be demonstrated.

The Friends of the East Broad Top is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and restoring the 33-mile-long narrow-gauge railroad. In addition to numerous projects in Rockhill Furnace, it owns the railroad's station in Robertsdale, Pa., which it operates as a museum.

Richards travels to the railroad from Binghamton, N.Y., every month for the volunteers' weekend-long work sessions. Other regular members of the Boiler House Rats are Jim Bacon, from Williamsfield, Ohio; Tom Diehl, from Stroudsburg, Pa,; Brad Esposito, from Punxsutawney, Pa.; John Morgan, from Ontario, Canada; Jim Sucke, from Chambersburg, Pa.; and Dick Ullery, from Sewickley, Pa.

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