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      The East Broad Top Railroad

 

The East Broad Top Railroad & Coal Company began operations in 1872, a narrow-gauge railroad serving several communities in Huntingdon County in central Pennsylvania. Operating from their main yard facility in Orbisona/Rockhill Furnace, the EBT ran a 33-mile route with several ancillary branches hauling coal from the mines on nearby Broad Top Mountain. The line also carried pig iron from the local furnace, as well as lumber, ganister rock, agricultural products, and passengers from Mt. Union in the north to Robertsdale in the south. 

Eventually, the railroad fell victim to the winds of the changing economy, ceasing operations in 1956. Fortunately, rather than passing into history as was the fate of so many similar carriers, the EBT was purchased by the Kovalchick family of Indiana, PA, and started service as a tourist operation in 1960. The railroad was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Tourist operations continued until 2011, when the EBT once again shut down to financial constraints.

In February of 2020, the East Broad Top Railroad was once more rescued from oblivion when it was purchased by the non-profit EBT Foundation, with a plan to return to tourist operations in 2021. This infusion of investment, combined with a dedicated and enthusiastic group of volunteers willing to do the hard work required, promises to bring the sounds of a steam whistle and steel wheels on rails back to central Pennsylvania for many years to come!

What makes the EBT unique is that it is the most complete narrow-gauge railroad facility in the world. All six of the locomotives that operated the railroad in its last years as a coal hauler are still on site. Other original equipment includes a standard-gauge switcher steam locomotive, the M-3 motorcar, an M-1 motorcar (built by the EBT in 1927), as well as over a dozen flatcars, several boxcars, and over 150 hoppers. The original railroad maintenance shops have a pair of Babcock & Wilcox boilers, a working 19th century stationary steam engine, and an overhead line shaft system (steel shafts, wood and iron pulleys, and leather and canvas belts) that powers antique machine tools, sheet-forming machines, foundry equipment, blacksmithing tools, and woodworking machines. In addition, there is an 8-bay roundhouse and turntable. The facility has been described by many as "a virtual time-capsule."   

These images are the first in a series that will depict scenes of the East Broad Top railroad during its operational years 1872-1956. For further information on the progress of restoration efforts and a calendar of events, please see the links at the bottom of this page. They welcome all rail fans to come and share in their love for the EBT; and while you're there, check out the Rockhill Trolley Museum, which shares the EBT facilities:

http://rockhilltrolley.org/ 

 

 

  

 

 

New Release ~ December 2020

" Evening Showers"

Size: 29" x 18.5"
Price: $95 + S/H


 

 

  

New Release ~ December 2020

"Orbisonia Station"

Size: 29" x 18.5"
Price: $95 + S/H

 

 

 

New Release ~ December 2020

"Smoke And Moonlight"

Size: 29" x 18.5"
Price: $95 + S/H

 

 

Friends of the East Broad Top: febt.org/

East Broad Top Foundation: eastbroadtop.com/

East Broad Top Homepage: oldeastie.com/ 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ebtrr

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/ORFHS                  

 

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