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Bring Us Home - EBT #18 and #29

Bring Us Home - EBT #18 and #29
Help us bring EBT #18 and #29 home!

Can FEBT "bring 18 and 29 home"?

By R. Lee Rainey and Robert R. Farquharson
Directors, Friends of the East Broad Top

We have a unique opportunity to bring two complete East Broad Top Railroad passenger cars home to our favorite railroad. Near the end of EBT common-carrier operations, passenger-baggage combine no. 18 and baggage-mail car no. 29 were sold for tourist service. For the last several decades these cars have resided in Fort Lupton, Colorado. Now they are due to be sold at auction on July 20, 2002.

Though suffering from many years of exposure to the elements, both cars are complete with trucks and ironwork. Combine no. 18 even has its interior seats. While these cars require significant work, it appears quite practical to recondition them for service on the EBT.

At its April 6 meeting, the FEBT board of directors agreed to pursue the acquisition and return of these cars. We have obtained estimates for moving the cars to Pennsylvania and have an agreement in principle with the East Broad Top Railroad for outdoor storage at Rockhill Furnace.

The auction rules are simple. To buy a car, we must have cash in hand when we bid on July 20. To qualify as a bidder, we must have the financial ability to remove what we buy from the site within six weeks of purchase. This is an auction, and money talks.

No one can predict the going auction price for complete narrow-gauge passenger cars. We do know it will take approximately $30,000 to move both cars back to Pennsylvania and to protect them from the elements. Our board of directors can temporarily adjust some timelines for work on the current projects in our restoration program to provide part of the funds needed to bid on the cars now in Colorado, but we cannot cover the complete cost. Nor can we divert funds FEBT members have already donated to us for work on combine no. 16, our buildings in Robertsdale, or other restoration and development work. We need your help. The only way to bring these cars home to the EBT is to approach this auction with as large a war chest as possible.

Your directors believe strongly in this project. We ask you and other FEBT members for the generous support we must have to add this project to those already addressed in our current fund-raising campaign. Pledges are welcome, but funds must be on hand before the July 20 auction. If FEBT cannot successfully purchase at least one of the Colorado EBT cars, all donations to "bring 18 and 29 home" will be applied toward the restoration of combine no. 16 (unless your donation is accompanied by a written request that it be returned to you).

Please send your contributions for this initiative to FEBT restoration fund treasurer Nancy E. Jacqmin at the following address:

Friends of the East Broad Top
Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206-4447

Mark your check (or indicate on the return envelope) that your donation is to be used to "bring 18 and 29 home." Note that contributions to support our effort to acquire these EBT passenger cars will be treated as part of our current fund-raising campaign. Thus each donor who contributes a donation of $50.00 or more will receive one of our art reproductions of Ted Rose's Mount Union Train.

Combine #18 Combine no. 18
As EBT historian Lee Rainey observes, the early history of EBT passenger cars is murky. Combine no. 18 may have been constructed by the railroad in 1876-which would make it the oldest EBT passenger car still in existence. Like the other passenger cars that spent any length of time on the EBT, no. 18 appears to have been rebuilt by the railroad at least once. For example, Lee suggests that between 1908 and 1916 the car's earlier radial roof was replaced by the clerestory roof it now exhibits. Combine no. 18 is similar to combines nos. 16 and 17, although at 35' 2" long (excluding end platforms) it is about a foot shorter and slightly narrower. Unlike the other two similar combines, EBT no. 18 features poling pockets at the corners of its car body. Photograph by Irvin V. Kopp, collection of Charles T. Mahan, Jr.
Baggage-express no. 29
In contrast to combine no. 18, the provenance of baggage-express car no. 29 is much clearer: It was among the second-hand passenger equipment the EBT purchased in 1916 from the Au Sable & Northwestern Railroad when that railroad converted to standard gauge. (In the same year the EBT acquired more passenger cars from the Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad; today these cars comprise the bulk of the passenger equipment still on the railroad.) No. 29 is 36' 2" long (excluding end platforms) and features board-and-batten style side sheathing. It was used in work-train service during its final years on the EBT. Photograph by Irvin V. Kopp, collection of Charles T. Mahan, Jr.
Baggage-express no. 29
No. 29 in 2001 No. 29 in 2001
This is how baggage-express car no. 29 looked when FEBT webmaster Christopher D. Coleman visited Fort Lupton, Colorado, last year. One end platform was removed when the car was trucked to Colorado, but the missing pieces are stored inside the car. (Combine no. 18 suffered similar surgery.) Photograph by Christopher D. Coleman


We need your continued support (June 2002)

In the month since we announced our intent to find the funds needed to bid on one or both of these unique pieces of the EBT's heritage, we have received over $10,500 provided by 67 donors to "bring 18 and 29 home." (In the same period we have also received over $3,750 from 51 other donors to support our general restoration program.) If your contribution was among the 118 donations we received since early May or among the several hundred previous donations we received since we launched our fund-raising campaign last August, please accept my thanks for the important support you have provided to Friends of the East Broad Top.

However, the funds we now have on hand are not yet enough to support a realistic effort to acquire one or both of the EBT passenger cars in Colorado and to continue our progress on the other projects now incorporated in our restoration program. If you have not already contributed to our current fund-raising campaign, we need your financial support now to "bring 18 & 29 home." We will also welcome additional contributions if you have already given a donation to our ongoing fund-raising campaign. Since the resources in our hands before July 20 will determine how seriously we will participate in the auction of EBT 18 & 29, we do not have much more time. And, unfortunately, I cannot now state a dollar amount that will assure our success. We simply cannot know until the actual sale what each former EBT passenger car will cost the winning bidder.

On the other hand, we do know that the additional expenditures required to transport and store one or both cars now in Colorado will not be cheap. The most recent estimate for transporting one of these cars from Fort Lupton to Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania, is $6,500. (The East Broad Top Railroad has agreed in principle to provide space on an outdoor yard track if we successfully acquire EBT 18 or 29-or both.) Since one end platform was removed from each car for the trip to its present location, we expect to incur immediate costs of at least $1,000 per car to repair the missing end platform-and its coupler-so the car can be moved once it is at Rockhill Furnace. Recent information indicates that the two cars are in extremely fragile condition. This not only complicates transportation, it also reinforces our need to come up with a realistic plan for storing any passenger cars we move to the EBT under shelter. We are now exploring with the EBT a proposal to erect a FEBT storage building on railroad property that could accommodate any cars we successfully purchase in July-as well as passenger-baggage car no. 16 (which we already hold under 99-year lease). At this stage we do not have any firm estimate for the cost of such a building, but it could easily exceed $15,000.

The decision by your directors to request your support for the effort to "bring 18 & 29 home" was not made lightly. We are well aware of the financial demands of our other current restoration projects: our rehabilitation of the railroad depot and old post office buildings in Robertsdale, the reproduction trucks needed to restore combine no. 16 to operating condition, our assessment of the Saltillo station building, and the new work we are undertaking this year at Rockhill Furnace. But we believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Bringing 18 or 29-or both historic passenger cars-back to the EBT is a challenge our mission to preserve and restore the East Broad Top Railroad does not permit us to ignore. Combine no. 18 is probably the oldest surviving piece of EBT rolling stock. Baggage car no. 29 is the sole surviving example of its type of EBT passenger equipment. Since we do not wish to jeopardize our ability to move forward on our other projects, we must rely on you and other FEBT members to provide the additional funding necessary for us to bid on the two EBT passenger cars in Colorado.

All directors of Friends of the East Broad Top are encouraged by the response we have so far obtained to support our attempt to bid in the July auction. We continue to explore possible strategies to find additional funds for this endeavor. For example, we may be able to borrow temporarily from contingency funds held in our Life Member Account or negotiate short-term loans from interested lenders. But as a practical matter, the donations we receive between now and July 20 will decide what we can accomplish.

And that's where you come in. Only you-and other FEBT members like you-can provide the actual cash in hand we will need not only to bid on 18 & 29, but also to transport any cars we successfully acquire to Pennsylvania, to make any immediate repairs required, and to assure secure storage at the East Broad Top Railroad. The other directors of Friends of the East Broad Top join me in urging you to commit your resources to this project. Only with your active participation and financial support can we proceed.

Once more, please accept our thanks if you have previously contributed to our fund-raising campaign or if you have already mailed us your donation to "bring 18 and 29 home." If you have not previously decided whether to assist us, I again ask you to send us your contribution now.

Friends of the East Broad Top
Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206-4447

Ted Rose - Mount Union Train

Auction Results

This is just a quick note from the Webmaster to let all those know who have not heard, that FEBT was successful in their bids to purchase both cars. We thank those of you who have made donations for your support. However the fight to save these relics is far from over. We are now attacking the daunting tasks of moving the cars back to Rockhill in one piece, within 30 days of the auction. This is an expensive and complex process and it remains important as ever to continue to raise funds for the cars. In addition, immediate repairs and bracing to make the cars movable and the cost of transportation itself, the protection of the cars once they arrive in Rockhill Furnace and their eventual restoration into narrow gauge showpieces still lies ahead. I continue to encourage you to share what you can with the Friends to assist us in this project. Send your contributions to the following address.

Friends of the East Broad Top
Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206-4447

More details will follow with the release of a formal press release on the purchase of the cars.

Moving the Cars to Pennsylvania

FEBT members Keving Strong and Don Dissinger who reside in the Denver area assist a crew of professional railcar movers prepare the fragile cars for the journey back to Pennsylvania.

The best railcar mover in the business has been chosen to perform the move. They have done work for the Strasburg Railroad, The Durango and Siverton and the Smithsonian. Because of the fragile nature of the cars, their transport will not be cheap. At present the "Bring 18 and 29 Home" campaign is about $10,000 short of covering the anticipated cost of acquisiton and moving. Those funds have been borrwed from other accounts but need to be recovered. Additionally, we will need to begin gathering funds for the restoration of these two cars and construction of a building in which to perform the work. The EBT is providing temproary storage over this winter, but do protect their own equipment this can only be a temporary situation. We need your continued support to return these artifacts to service on the nations oldest narrow gauge.

Friends of the East Broad Top
Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206-4447

Photos by Kevin Strong.

The two cars as they looked Monday morning, August 26, 2002.

Project coordinator Mike Venezia walks by baggage/express #29 as Dave Schleper peers in the side of the door.

Looking into the baggage compartment of combine 18. Sunlight shines through the deteriorated roof.

FEBT member Don Dissinger takes a seat cushion from combine #18.

Baggage/express #29 gets a layer of paneling attached to its exterior to protect it during its trip east.

With the paneling complete, all that's left is to put a tarp over the roof and #29's ready to head home.

Dave Schleper prepares and reinforces the roof to #29 before the tarp can be attached.

Threaded rods tie the sides of #29 together to keep them from spreading out during the bumpy trip back to the EBT.

Arriving in Pennsylvania

(from the September 2002 Newsletter)

On September 5, East Broad Top Railroad baggage-passenger combine no. 18 and baggage-express car no. 29 returned to the East Broad Top Railroad. In July Friends of the East Broad Top purchased the two cars at the auction of the assets of the Sun down and Southern Railroad in Fort Lupton, Colorado. Transportation of the two historic wood passenger cars was handled by Venezia Enterprises, Inc.

Concerned about the deteriorated condition of the two EBT cars, we engaged Michael J. Venezia to inspect the two passenger cars the week before the auction. Only after Mike's assessment did our directors agree to attempt to purchase one or both cars. As reported in the last FEBT Newsletter, FEBT director Robert R. Farquharson acted as our agent at the Colorado auction, and we successfully purchased both cars. On August 30 Mike Venezia flew to Colorado, and the next day he, with three associates and help from two FEBT members, started five days of tedious work to prepare the two fragile nineteenth-century wood passenger cars for their trip to Pennsylvania. The preparation and loading of combine no. 18 proceeded relatively smoothly, but the awk ward position of no. 29 at the site forced Mike to rent a crane at the last minute to lift this car onto its trailer. (Mike had hoped to avoid using a crane entirely, since he was afraid the EBT cars could easily fall apart if lifted.) After all this, only an uneventful drive along I-70 to Pennsylvania and the EBT remained.

Of course, what we have accomplished so far is only the first-and easiest-part of the process. The East Broad Top Railroad has agreed to provide temporary storage space for our two "new" passenger cars inside the car shop building at Rockhill Furnace. We are now exploring with the EBT the possibility of erecting a storage building of our own on EBT property which would allow us to store and work on combine no. 18 and baggage-express car no. 29-as well as combine 16 when we move it to the EBT. Information and a budget for this project will be forthcoming. Work on the cars cannot actually begin until this facility is con structed and we have assessed the condition of the two passenger cars.

Combine no. 18 was one of three passenger cars the EBT acquired in 1885. Probably constructed in 1891, baggage-express car no. 29 was purchasd by the railroad in 1916. The EBT sold off the bulk of its passenger equipment as passenger traffic declined in the 1940s and 1950s-including the two cars we purchased in July. Subsequently they joined an eclectic collection of narrow-gauge rolling stork acquired for a planned theme park and tourist railroad north of Denver.

The total expended so far on this project is $52,300, which includes our purchase of the two cars and our payment to Venezia Enterprises for their transportation. Of this amount, $42,300 came from donations received during the first year of our fund- raising campaign, while the remaining $10,000 was temporarily borrowed from our reserve account. Unreimbursed expenses incurred by FEBT officers and staff volunteers and $750 in materials and labor contributed by the East Broad Top Railroad are not included in this total.

FEBT member Bill Adams was on hand to assist and photograph the arrival.

Combine #18 is carried across the tracks on Meadow St, past the EBT's Orbisonia station.

The cars are sitting on wooden rails on the trailer decks. Here EBT and Venezia Enterprises employees and FEBT's Hank Inman assemble a ramp that will allow the car to roll off the trailer and down onto the the #1 track.

Combine #18 is carefully pushed into the car shop

The same procedure was used to unload #29 as #18.

M4 pushes baggage #29 down the track to the car shops to join combine #18.

Additional Photos can be found at Bills Site.

In storage

The cars have been stored inside the EBT Car Shop since arriving at the EBT. They are still covered up and will remain so until their restoration begins. They are on their own trucks, but have been propped up where there is damage to the trucks or bolsters. There is not a date set for restoration to begin.

#18 and #29 have been evaluated by Linn Modenger of the Strasburg Railroad, to determine what work is needed and what the order of restoration should be. As expected, they will need _extensive_ work and will tie up a lot of resources when being restored. Thus restoration work has not begun yet.

Baggage-express #29 in the middle of the EBT Car Shop.

Combine car #18 in the south end of the EBT Car Shop.

FEBT signs lease for EBT Paint Shop

(from the December 2004 Newsletter)

On August 14, 2004, Joseph Kovalchick, president of the East Broad Top Railroad, and Hank Inman, president of Friends of the East Broad Top, signed a letter of agreement for our lease of space inside the railroad’s paint shop building, where we will establish our car restoration shop. This agreement allows FEBT to make improvements needed for our facility; other terms include cooperative use of space inside the building and continued storage of FEBT equipment, like EBT passenger cars nos. 18 and 29, elsewhere on the railroad’s property. FEBT will pay the EBT a nominal $1 annual rent for our use of the paint shop. We have already had electrical contractor and FEBT restoration volunteer Charles Wootton install new electrical service wiring to the paint shop, so we can be billed directly for the electricity we use.

Other work needed to convert the paint shop into usable space will begin this winter. The most obvious task is to repair and reglaze the building’s many window sashes, from which most of the glass has disappeared. The metal roof and brick walls appear to be in good condition. Almost certainly we will need to have the concrete foundation sills and floor inspected to determine the scope of any required repairs, after the EBT relocates equipment now stored inside the building. The wood door sheathing needs attention, but these repairs do not appear difficult. We will be able to provide more information about what’s needed as our work advances.

Lack of our own shop facilities, however, did not deter our volunteers from starting and successfully completing restoration of historic EBT caboose no. 28. Starting last December, members of our Rockhill Furnace work group stripped the car’s exterior wood sheathing, removed the wood end platforms, replaced metal plates attaching the car’s metal framework to its steel underframe, made other needed repairs, and installed the end platforms and new custom-milled sheathing. Our volunteers then discovered damage to the caboose’s roof, leading to further work on the roof and cupola before new roofing was applied. Final work on the car ended at 11 pm the night before the caboose returned to regular operation.

Meanwhile, our friends at the Strasburg Rail Road completed fabricating the new wheels and axles needed for our reproduction passenger trucks. In 2004 Strasburg Rail Road performed additional contract engineering work for us, producing drawings need­ed to assemble our trucks. We had hoped to start assembly of the reproduction trucks last year, but our directors have delayed this work while we resolve questions related to our lease for combine no. 16 raised by the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. The body of the combine itself is still stored at the New Jersey museum. All original truck components from EBT coach no. 5 (leased from the Tweesie Railroad) and reproduction truck parts are now stored at the Strasburg Rail Road.

We may not yet be ready to start restoration of our EBT passenger cars, but we’re getting closer!

Volunteers work to clear decades of debris from the indide of the Paint Shop.

With damaged sashes removed and temporary coverings, the Paint Shop starts the transformation into usable space.


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