• 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 CarterB
 
There was a wye at Saltillo? Hey, why not go on to Rocky Ridge, where IIRC there was a wye?
Just a lotta $$$$$ and wishful thinking, but that's what dreams are made of.
  by rwk
 
I saw on a site that there was a wye at Saltillo, but only one leg is left, the other leg was removed by the landowner probably years ago. But, you need both legs to turn a train or loco.
  by GSC
 
Great shots, Bob.

Miss the days when 4 steamers were running. 12, 14, 15 and 17. Love that place.
  by trackwelder
 
this thread's been dormant for quite some time, i hate to ssee it lost. has there been any recent news flashes, expansion or otherwise?
  by GSC
 
No news that I've heard, but I do like reading this thread once in a while. Like most of the folks here, EBT is a favorite of mine.

The 1988 Spectacular was the high point for me. Four Mikes running, along with M-5 cow & calf diesel and the M-1, shop tours, and a lot of trolleys in operation next door. Thanks to an "in", I got a cab ride in the 17 and the M-5.
  by trackwelder
 
very nice. i've yet to get out there but i'm planning on volunteering in the near future. figure they could use a welder.
  by GSC
 
Volunteerism has fallen over the years. Any rail organization could use your help! Especially a welder.

I did over 40 years at NJMT Pine Creek. Nice experience.
  by daylight4449
 
Pacobell73 wrote:
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.
well, the kovalchick family has kept the EBT alive all these years. that's impressive considering the circumstances. not only that, but strasburg is all steam. the diesel they have is for shop switching. add that to the 5 some odd locomotives in operational condition, put it next to PA's railroading crown jewel, and BOOM, no wonder strasburg is huge. granted they were the first preserved railroad line in most of the known universe, but being next to railroad museum of PA has been a huge boost. besides, there's nothing stoping the kovalchick family from creating a 501c group that they head so they can aquire state funding to get the EBT to a better state
  by Pacobell73
 
They did it! EBT is finally expanding...a dream come true. Here's to all the skeptics and non-believers...

Image
  by trackwelder
 
what the hell is this???? elaborate please!!!!!!
  by daylight4449
 
jtaeffner wrote:what the hell is this???? elaborate please!!!!!!
I conquer. I'm putting my money down on a new siding...
  by ebtrr
 
There have been a lot of questions and comments about the EBT recently in this thread. Here is some relevant info.

The new nonprofit operator (as of May 2009) decided they wanted to pursue grants to operate the northern end of the line themselves. They were able to get the grants totaling $1 million and that is when the issues started. However, the litigation mentioned is between the MU Connecting and Kovlachick Salvage, not the EBT. KS holds the lease. In the meantime the grants are on hold. They may or may not still be available, depending on who you listen to.

There was a wye in Satltillo. Part of the south leg is in place. The north leg, tail, and part of the south leg are gone. The EBT still has the rail, but the wye grade is gone. The wye at Rocky Ridge crossed a bridge which is long gone. I think the Rocky Ridge Branch, which is the wye leg, is not EBT property, but I'm not sure.

Pogue bridge is not safe to cross. It needs basic triage repairs which the RR cannot afford and FEBT does not have the resources for. There are also four more bridges before the Saltillo wye.

The siding shown being reconstructed is Track 1 north of Orbisonia Station. That was June of 2011. It was rebuilt for the Thomas event in July which brought in over 7,500 riders. The track was used to park the Thomas train between runs so the regular steam train could board on the main (track 2.) It is not accessible from the south at this time. Most of the work was done by the EBT crew and the FEBT and RTY did most of the ballasting and tamping.

In addition to Thomas, Polar Express is coming this fall (both new this year) as well as several dinner trains (started last year) Ragtime Festival and Fireworks Trains (started two years ago) and the perennial favorites Community Appreciation Day, Civil War weekend and the Fall Spectacular. The railroad is open Thursdays and Fridays part of this year as well as weekday holidays.

An agreement was reached last year with the Broad Top Coal Area Coal Miners Museum for them to start clearing the EBT yard in Robertsdale and that work has continued through this year. So far the yard and engine house area have been cleared and the main about halfway to Woodvale, and a little ways from Woodvale towards Robertsdale. they will complete clearing the main and have permission to clear south towards Cooks.

FEBT Restoration has continued. In 2008 a handicapped accesible rider boxcar conversion was completed and it has run full time since. Since then the car crew has worked on Combine #14 (has needed a LOT of work) and another boxcar. Restoration work has begun on the Coal Tipple. Quite a bit of roof coating has been put on the shops. The rebuilding of the Boiler House roof is almost done. A new sill is under the west wall of the Locomotive Shop. Six pieces of machinery operable in the shops. Lots of other things too.

We could certainly use a welder. Just be good at welding old steel.

More going on but that's what comes to mind.

All the things suggested here are good ideas, but they take money and manpower, both of which are in limited supply.
  by ebtrr
 
Just to clarify, the EBT is NOT under new ownership. As of May 2009 the EBT was leased to a new nonprofit operator, the East Broad Top Preservation Association. They have managed all operations since that time. Kovalchick Salvage still owns the railroad. The current lease expires May 2012.
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