Friends of the East Broad Top
A nonprofit society dedicated to the preservation and restoration
of the East Broad Top Railroad National Historic Landmark
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15th Reunion Logo

15th Annual Reunion a Big Success!

by Deane Mellander
photos by the author

Originally published in the Timber Transfer, Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall 1997

FEBT charter train
For the first time ever, Friends of the East Broad Top operated their own chartered train at the Fall Spectacular. Arrangements were made with the railroad to utilize No. 15 and several passenger cars, including the private car No. 20. The trip was made on Friday afternoon, in concert with preparations for the weekendís festivities. FEBT hopes to repeat this special operation in future years.

Almost 200 FEBT members signed in for FEBT's 15th Reunion, held in conjunction with the EBT's annual Fall Spectacular. Outstanding weather and a couple of new features added to the success of the event.

The weekend got off to a rousing start with the operation of a special FEBT charter train. Pulled by No. 15 (in deference to the occasion) the trip made its way to Colgate Grove and back with about 60 members riding. The convention committee is looking towards having a special FEBT train as a regular feature of future Reunions.

As usual, the convention headquarters was the Orbisonia Lion's Hall. Things got started bright and early on Saturday morning. A number of vendors, as well as the Company Store, were setup for business. New products were featured by BTS in Sn3 and Les Walker displayed his new HO Orbisonia depot kit.

Also featured this year was the modular On3 railroad by Dennis McCoy, Bob Beebe, and friends. With the fine cooperation of the Orbisonia Fire Department, their truck bays were used to display the modules during the weekend. Thankfully, it didn't rain!

For the first time, FEBT set up an information tent to provide information on FEBT and its mission and goals. We were set up right near the entrance to the main parking lot, and got a lot of inquiries (plus some new members) as a result.

Train operations throughout the weekend appeared to go off without a hitch. All four operable locomotives were put through their paces. Saturday included the annual whistle salute to the past and present employees of the EBT.

With GM Stanley Hall at the controls, Joe and son Nathan Kocalchick were hoisted up uin the bucket of the front end loader to direct the salute.

Modeling the reunion shirts
Special yellow 15th Reunion T-shirts were very much in evidence throughout the weekend. Warm, sunny weather was very welcome.

Dinner for FEBT registrants was again served in two seatings to accommodate the crowd. The folks at the Orby firehouse did their usual good job, serving up turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, noodles, veggies, gravy and other goodies. Our annual "Pass the Hat" netted several hundred dollars to buy tickets for our New Riders Program.

Due to demand, the night train on Saturday was again operated in two sections. Many FEBT folks took advantage of this popular feature of the Fall Spectauculars.

The evening was given over to a benefit auction at the Lion's Hall. A sizeable number of donated items were put on the block, with Gary Altschuler doing the auctioning. There was some spirited bidding, and the net result was a total of $885.00 for the restoration Fund.

Sunday saw a number of folks assemble at the Robertsdale depot for coffee and donuts. Members were able to inspect the restoration work thus far completed in the Old Post Office, which was very near completion. George Cook then led a driving tour of the McKelvey Bros. lumber railroad traces. Others took a walking tour of the mine remains at Robertsdale and also the Broad Top Area Coal Miner's Museusm display

Good weather and a great turnout made for an excellent weekend. Thanks to to the following folks who helped make it all work: Hank Inman, Bob Wolney, Ruth Kosowski, the Baileys, Gary Altschuler, Mike Kandolf, Deane Mellander, Vagel and Debbie Keller, Dennis McCoy and crew and others who helped pitch in. Hope to see even more of you next year.

Charter train crew
The train crew for FEBTís special charter train on Friday afternoon. L. to R: Roy Miller, fireman, David Brightbill (FEBG board member), conductor and Dan Gilliland, engineer.
#17 in steam
No. 17 gets up steam in preparation for the dayís activities at the 1997 fall Spectacular.
Whistle salute preparations
GM Stanley Hall gives a lift to EBT owner Joe Kovalchick (l) and son Nathan as they prepare to direct the annual whistle salute to present and past EBT employees at noon Saturday at the annual Fall Spectacular.
#14 steaming back
No. 14 steams back to Orbisonia during the annual autumn extravaganza.
EBT Dodge Truck
A special treat was this antique Dodge truck restored by FEBT member Bob Farquharson from Charlotte, NC. The truck has been painted to represent the EBT Transit Co. Motor Freight Service vehicles. It looked great paired with John Corsonís restored bus.
FEBT information tent
A special feature of this yearís Reunion was the FEBT information tent. Set up near the entrance to the main parking lot, it allowed members to get oriented to FEBT activities, and also to provide information on FEBT and its mission to other visitors as well.
Passing out orders
EBT General Manager Stanley Hall reviews last-minute operating orders with crew members before the start of operations on Saturday morning of the annual fall Spectacular.
Passing out orders
Gary Altschuler does the auctioneering during the Saturday evening activities at the Orby Lionís Hall. The auction of donated items netted over $800.00 for the FEBT Restoration Fund.

1997 Reunion Contest Winners

There was an excellent array of entries in this year's FEBT model and photo contest. There were 37 entries by 20 different entrants. all entrants are to be congratulated for their fine work. We hope to see more of the same at the next Reunion.

Best in Show
Contest Winners
Bob Bowden won first prize in the Module/Diorama category of the model contest, and also garnered the votes for Best of Show. The model is in HO scale.
Contest Winners
Bill Grow built this fine On3 Dolly Varden car and took first place in the Freight Car category in the Reunion model contest.
  HO Orbisonia Depot diorama – Robert Bowden
  1st    HOn3 M-1 – Bob Wolny
2nd   G Scale M-1 – Jeff Damerst
Passenger Cars
  1st    On3 Combine – Robert King
2nd   HOn3 Combine 14 – Craig Williams
  1st    On3 Dolly Varden Car – William Grow
2nd   On3 Hoppers – #'s 890 & 1000 – Robert King
3rd    G Scale flat car #95 – Kevin Strong
  1st    HO Mt. Union Yard Office – David Bucher
2nd   O Kimmel Passenger Shelter – deane Mellander
3rd    HO Shirleysburg Depot – Robert Bowden
  1st    HO Orbisonia Depot – Robert Bowden
2nd   HO Aughwick Mills Bridges – David Bucher
2nd   HO Robertsdale Truck Dump Tipple – Ron Pearson
Photos – Color
  1st    “#17 at the Ash Pit” – Jim Garts
2nd   “Orbisonia Depot at Twilight” – John Manning
3rd    “Which Way to Go?” – Kevin Strong
Photos – Black & White
  1st    “Local Freight from Robertsdale” – Bill Melville
2nd   “Depot” – Jim Garts
3rd    “Timeless Vision” – Kevin Strong
Contest Winners
Jeff Damerst came away with a second prize in the Locomotive category with this scratchbuilt M-1 in G scale. This model is also featured in the January 1998 issue of Finescale Modeler.
Contest Winners
Dave Bucher scratch-built this excellent model of the Mt. Union yard office in HO scale to win first prize in the Structures category.

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