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Mayner

Greatest preservation story of 2020 East Broad Top Pennsylvania sold to a non-profit Foundation

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Somewhat old news, but I stumbled across this story while scanning through Trains Magazine in a local bookshop.

https://eastbroadtop.com/

It looks like after 60 years the uncertainty over the future of Pennsylvania's East Broad Top Railroad has finally ended with the sale of the line to a non-profit foundation in February 2020.

Although sold to a salvage company in 1956 the line was not lifted or locomotives and stock scrapped, a heritage railway operated over a short (5mile) section of the line between 1960 and 2011, while the remainder of the 33 mile line returned to nature.

The future of the railroad has been in doubt for many years as the railroads continued existence was largely dependent on the goodwill of the Kovalchick Salvage Company as the East Broad Top Supporters Society did not have the resources to acquire the entire system.

The railroad is probably unique as a main line narrow gauge railway as the system including route mileage, locomotive and rolling stock roster is largely complete, Orbisonia shop (works) facility an Inchacore on a smaller scale complete with 19th Century machinery.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

That sure is a nice story. The have realy no gaps to fill when it comes to Locos and stock. Wish them the best of luck.

Edited by Midland Man

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Is the Friends of the East Broad Top still extant as a group? they seemed to stop posting on the Early Rail Group when Yahoo Groups wound up.  But they did lots of work  at Orbisonia. I went there about 35yrs ago, Orbisonia was a real time warp sort of place as it was/is in a "dry"  part of Pennsylvania the liveliest place in town was the Kmart store. The local youth  just drove up the main street "draggin main" in loud blingedup cars, always the same direction and tootled  back down a side street to start again.

  The railway was really interesting just like it was the 1950's and the track felt as if nothing had been maintained since the  1950's ! Was very lucky I got to ride the footplate of one the 2-8-2's, it was summer and in high 90's F b--hot!

   There was talk then of the state taking the railway over, the area has such potential for tourism and it is a very  scenic  area.  Lets hope it takes off and flys.

   Lots of the pw with hopper wagons stood on it was/is visible on Google Earth.

  When I find the photos I took I'll post them.  Thats really good news John.

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8 hours ago, Mike 84C said:

I

  The railway was really interesting just like it was the 1950's and the track felt as if nothing had been maintained since the  1950's ! Was very lucky I got to ride the footplate of one the 2-8-2's, it was summer and in high 90's F b--hot!

  

Getting to ride an EBT 2-8-2  You lucky thing!!!!!!!!!!! 

I organised a side trip to visit the railroad on an enthusiast trip to the North East about 20 years ago, we got the red carpet treatment at Orbisonia with one of the caretakers opened the roundhouse for us although it was not a running day. 

The Friends of the East Broad Top seem to be involved as the supporters group for the new foundation, which appears to be lead by some "heavy hitters" from the Railroad Industry including a former CEO of Norfolk Southern and owners and directors of a number of Regional Railroads ,,,,,,,,,pretty much an American equivalent of the Festiniog Trust.

 

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Wow, Those buildings a fab, If it was here they would of been Vandalised and probably set on fire.

 

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Thanks for bringing this story to us, John.

I agree with George that the buildings have survived very well, albeit it is not a VERY built up area. Good luck to them.

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 I must look more into this line, I can see the attraction of American outline when you see the scenes depicted.

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Posted (edited)

The story motivated me to scan some slides from that North Eastern trip.

Apart from the neatly painted passenger stock yard at Orbisonia has the atmosphere of a coal hauling railroad than a heritage operation.

scan0012.jpg.3e78aee2bc40c85fe6b589ccb2c630dc.jpg

The main line looking North towards Orbisonia Station and the Pennsylvania Railroad interchange at Mount Union. The depot and yard are actually in the city of Rockhill Furnaces.

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General view of the yard and shops looking South.

scan0017.jpg.566ef27f9b80ea30ec5c00e9fe8f949c.jpgClos

Closeup of the Works main line to Robertsdale in center.

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Classical board and batten wall cladding. Brick roundhouse in distance.

 

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Pennsylvania Dutch farm house retained as office, Germanic looking roundhouse.

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Modern traction M-1 1920s Gas Electric Doodlebug railcar assembled by EBT from a kit supplied by Brill

scan0009.thumb.jpg.147dd537b3c81558f29d71978a6bab13.jpg

EBT No 14  is one of 6 increasingly larger 2-8-2 locomotives built for the railroad between 1911 & 1920.

The railroad had considered buying diesel electric locos in the early 1950s but coal traffic fell off severely as a result of the shift to oil and gas during the mid 1950s.

Taking a time exposure inside the shed was challenging but rewarding.

Edited by Mayner
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