An evening program featuring Robert W. Richardson, FEBT member and noted authority on American narrow– gauge railroads, is one of the attractions awaiting FEBT members who attend our 2000 Summer Celebration on Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4. We invite you, your family, and your guests to join us for our annual celebration of the start of another operating season at the East Broad Top Railroad and Friends of the East Broad Top Museum.
Widely known as the cofounder and longtime executive director of the Colorado Railroad Museum, Bob Richardson made his first visit to the EBT in 1935. As he recounts in his book Chasing Trains (1995), Bob arrived in Alvan (the south end of the EBT mainline) too late to catch the scheduled Mount Union–bound afternoon train. Driving two miles along the tracks to Robertsdale, Bob was inside the stone company store when he was startled by the clanging bell of the EBT's M–1 gas–electric, which was getting ready to depart Robertsdale after a one–and–a–half hour layover. As Bob notes, he learned during that visit to the EBT the importance of reading the entire timetable rather than just the time of departure from the first station. Following this Independence Day holiday visit to the EBT, Bob returned again in 1945 while on furlough from the US Army Signal Corps. In 1946 and 1948 he arranged two special excursion trains on the EBT in his capacity as president of the Akron Railroad Club.
Other activities planned for the 2000 FEBT Summer Celebration include our annual tour inside the EBT's Rockhill Furnace shops complex with EBT General Manager Stanley Hall and a late afternoon/early evening picnic at the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale on Saturday, and FEBT Museum open house and FEBT–conducted walking tour around the EBT's Rockhill Furnace yard on Sunday. Persons who register for the Summer Celebration will be able to purchase train tickets from the EBT at the discounted, group rate.
We encourage FEBT members to register for this year's Summer Celebration in advance, using the form included inside this newsletter. Advance registration fees for this event are $15.00 for FEBT members and $20.00 for nonmember; on–site registration costs $18.00 for FEBT members and $22.00 for nonmembers. For the participants who do not intend to bring their own food to the Saturday evening picnic, FEBT offers the option of sandwiches from Macy's Diner in Broad Top City. See the registration form for details. For more information about the 2000 Summer Celebration or to register for this event, please contact
2000 FEBT Summer Celebration
c/o David S. Bucher
1409 Dodd Drive
Downingtown PA 19335
telephone: (610) 518–2244 (evenings)
The FEBT Museum in Robertsdale will reopen for the 2000 operating season on Saturday, June 3. This year the museum is again scheduled to be open on Saturdays and Sundays, through October 8 (subject, as always, to availability of museum operating volunteers). Regular museum hours are 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays, and 1 to 5 PM on Sundays. Both FEBT members and the general public are invited to visit the museum to inspect our temporary exhibits, obtain EBT information, and to shop at our small museum store.
The FEBT Museum in located in the center of Robertsdale, at the intersection of Main Street (PA Highway 913) and the dormant tracks of the East Broad Top Railroad. The museum is approximately 45 minutes southwest of Rockhill Furnace and Orbisonia (US 522), 40 minutes northwest of Breezewood (I–70 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike), and 55 minutes southeast of Huntingdon (US 22). The museum's telephone number, currently answered during operating hours only, is (814) 635–2388.
Operation of the FEBT Museum in 2000 will be coordinated by Vagel C. Keller, who has for many years served as FEBT assistant vice president, member services. Vagel and FEBT president Hank Inman intend to assemble a work group of FEBT members who live relatively near Robertsdale and who can help regularly with our museum operations, both in 2000 and in future years. If you're interested in combining a visit to the East Broad Top Railroad with occasional volunteer work at our museum, please contact
Vagel C. Keller
FEBT Assistant Vice President, Museum Operations
P.O. Box 5130
Pittsburgh PA 15206–0130
telephone: (412) 441–7881
At its first meeting of 2000, on March 18, the board of directors of Friends of the East Broad Top approved FEBT funding for the reconstruction of a pedestrian bridge in Robertsdale. This bridge would reestablish a direct pathway between the FEBT Museum and the Broad Top Area Coal Miners Historical Society Museum, located in the Reality Theater on the other side of Trough Creek. FEBT and BTACMHS will share the cost of materials required to rebuild the bridge, with assistance from Wood Township. The total cost of pressure–treated lumber needed for the bridge is estimated to be approximately $900.00; the supervisors of Wood Township have committed $300.00 to the project.
Ron Morgan, who in addition to serving on FEBT's board of directors also serves as BTACMHS president and executive director, reported that the coal miners historical society had concluded an agreement with the East Broad Top Railroad permitting the reconstruction of the pedestrian bridge and use of the footpath, which lies on EBT property. He noted that BTACMHS members will provide the labor needed to construct the new bridge, and that BTACMHS will, by agreement with the EBT, incorporate insurance coverage for the bridge into its present insurance policy.
At its March meeting, the board of directors also reviewed the results of the 2000 election and selected officers for the coming year. Based on election judge Gary L. Booher's tabulation of ballots he had received by the deadline of March 15, the five incumbent directors were reelected to serve two–year terms (number of votes in parentheses): Ron Morgan (96), Craig A. Williams (94), David C. Brightbill (92), Thomas A. Diehl, Jr. (92), and Reginald Arford (91). Stanley Hall, Nathan Kovalchick, Philip J. Padgett, Robert W. Richardson, and an unknown individual received one write–in vote each. The five reelected directors rejoin FEBT board–members David S. Bucher, Robert Farquharson, Henry F. Inman, and John R. Snyder, whose seats are up for election in the 2001 election cycle. Henry F. Inman, David S. Bucher, John R. Snyder, and William T. Wheeler were reelected to serve respectively as FEBT president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.
Among its other actions at the March meeting, the board established its tentative meeting schedule for the remainder of the year. Regular meetings of the board are planned for June 10, September 9, and November 4, 2000. FEBT members who have matters to submit to the board or who wish to attend one of these meetings should consult FEBT secretary John R. Snyder to confirm the meeting's date, time, and location. Please contact John at the following address:
John R. Snyder, FEBT Secretary
12 Pheasant Drive
Hershey PA 17033–9792
telephone: (717) 533–4439 (evenings)
Steady rain on Saturday and snow showers Sunday morning did not deter about 30 FEBT members, family, and guests who joined FEBT webmaster Christopher D. Coleman for the 2000 FEBT Spring Exploration on April 8–9. On Saturday Chris's tour visited Wood(vale), Joller, Coles Station, and Saltillo. That evening Chris presented an East Broad Top Railroad and Colorado narrow–gauge slide show at the FEBT Museum, where Spring Exploration registrants enjoyed soft drinks, coffee, cookies, and other snacks organized by FEBT member Patricia J. Nape. The 2000 Spring Exploration concluded on Sunday with a visit to Mount Union.
FEBT uses the proceeds from events like the annual spring explorations to help support our restoration program and the operations of the FEBT Museum.
FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer Nancy E. Jacqmin reports that she has received another $380.00 in "new millennium" donations to the FEBT Restoration Fund since the February FEBT Newsletter was published. Together with the donations reported then, FEBT received a total of $2,660.00 in donations based on our 1999 "end–of the millennium" appeal.
We are pleased to acknowledge here the following FEBT members who contributed the additional funds to support our restoration program: Michael Bitsko, Donald Q. Miller, Lawrence I. Miller, Warren E. Olt, Douglas C. Taylor, Peter C. Urchek, and Fred H. Voelcker, Jr. The donations Nancy received in late February and March include two contributions received in 1999 which were transmitted to her by Deane E. Mellander, who retired as Restoration Fund Treasurer late last year.
We take this opportunity to apologize to FEBT member Wouter deNie, whose first and last names were separated by a stray comma in the list of "new millennium" donors published in February.
Contributions to the FEBT Restoration Fund are always welcome. Donations to support our restoration projects, which currently include the rehabilitation of our two historic museum buildings in Robertsdale, the architectural documentation of the EBT station building at Saltillo, and the restoration to operating condition of former EBT baggage–passenger combination car no. 16, should be mailed to
FEBT Restoration Fund
c/o Nancy E. Jacqmin
513 Shady Avenue, Apt. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206
John R. Snyder, manager of the FEBT Company Store, reports that he has obtained a limited supply of Micro–Trains Nn3 wood–sided boxcars lettered for East Broad Top Railroad no. 154. These cars are part of the last remaining supply of an item produced by Micro–Trains several years ago. John suggests that FEBT members may want to obtain these tiny EBT models as a conversation piece or collector's item, since he finds hard to believe that anyone could really operate them on a model railroad. "They were just too cute to pass up," John observes. FEBT members who want to obtain one of these "ready–to–run" models can do so by sending a payment of $12.60* for each Nn3 EBT boxcar to the FEBT Company Store; a shipping charge of $3.00 is also required.
Two other EBT model railroad items, in a much larger scale, are also available from the FEBT Company Store, in even more limited quantities. John reports that among the items he discovered in his inventory after operations of the Company Store were transferred to Hershey last year were ten BTS O–scale kits for the EBT's station train–order signals and ten BTS O–scale kits for wood "depot" chairs. (Both kits were produced as ancillaries to BTS's O–scale kit for the EBT station at Three Springs.) The retail price for the train–order signal kit is $3.00* each; each chair kit (which contains material for four chairs) costs $6.95.* A $3.00 shipping charge is required if you order one of these BTS kits.
New Prices for HABS/HAER Books
As we reported in February, John has obtained a new supply of three Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record publications dealing with subjects related to the East Broad Top Railroad. Unfortunately, retail prices have risen on two of these soft cover books. The current prices for these publications are now as follows: The Company Towns of the Rockhill Iron and Coal Company: Robertsdale and Woodvale, Pennsylvania (1990), by Lola M. Bennett, is now $10.00;* Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites (1991), by Nancy S. Shedd, is now $16.00.* The cost of Kim E. Wallace's Brickyard Towns: A History of Refractories Industry Communities in South–Central Pennsylvania(1993) remains $15.00.* Another publication of related interest is the 1995 report on the East Broad Top Railroad, Full Steam Ahead! Its retail price is still $12.00.*
Copies of all four of these publications are available by mail order from the FEBT Company Store and for direct purchase at the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale. Mail orders are subject to the new shipping and handling charges stated below.
John reports that the 1990 National Park Service Report, Study of Alternatives: East Broad Top Railroad, is out of print and thus no longer available.
New Charges for Shipping and Handling
Given increases in costs incurred for postage on mail orders shipped from the FEBT Company Store and the prospect of additional increases proposed by the US Postal Service we have adopted a new system of shipping charges which will apply to all future mail orders. Effective immediately, the minimum charge for shipping and handling is $5.00 per order. A $6.00 shipping charge now applies to orders for merchandise that total more than $35.00 but less than $75.00 (after deducting the FEBT member discount, but before Pennsylvania sales tax is included, if applicable). Orders for merchandise totaling $75.00 or more (after deducting the FEBT member discount, but before any Pennsylvania sales tax is added) must now include $7.00 for shipping and handling.
John indicates that he will happily refund the unused portions of these shipping charges when actual costs for packaging materials and postage are significantly less than the required payment. Except in cases of special advertised offers like the Micro–Trains Nn3 boxcars and BTS O–scale detail kits featured above the new shipping charges must be included with all orders to the FEBT Company Store.
Higher volume retailers may be able to absorb increases in the cost of packaging and postage, but the FEBT Company Store by design a small–scale, volunteer operation cannot do so successfully. John observes that nearly all items sold by the FEBT Company Store are subject to the 15 percent discount enjoyed by regular, family, student, senior, sustaining, and life FEBT members. This reduces the typical "profit" on merchandise sold by the FEBT Company Store. Before adopting the new shipping charges announced here, the FEBT Company Store in several recent instances incurred actual losses on mail orders involving small amounts of merchandise or heavy items like books. While operated as a service to FEBT members, the FEBT Company Store is also intended to generate proceeds to help support other FEBT operations like the FEBT restoration program and operation of the FEBT Museum.
FEBT Company Store Information and Orders
Remember that current information about products available from the FEBT Company Store can be found on the FEBT web site: www.febt.org. Copies of the current catalog can also be obtained for $2.50 from the FEBT Company Store. For more information or to place an order, please contact
FEBT Company Store
c/o John R. Snyder
12 Pheasant Drive
Hershey PA 17033–9792
*John reminds FEBT members who qualify for the 15–percent member discount to calculate and deduct it from the prices stated here when preparing their orders to the FEBT Company Store. Pennsylvania residents must also include 6 percent sales tax, computed on the total cost of merchandise ordered (adjusted for the FEBT discount, if applicable) before the charge for shipping and handling is added.
According to EBT General Manager Stanley Hall, operations and ticket prices on the East Broad Top Railroad will be the same as last year. Trains will operate on Saturdays and Sundays only, starting on Saturday, June 3, and continuing through Sunday, October 29. On both days trains will depart Orbisonia Station for the round trip to Colgate Grove at 11 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM. Assuming no last minute changes, ticket prices for "standard" seats will again be $9.00 for adults and $6.00 for children; seats in the caboose and business car "Orbisonia" cost slightly more. All tickets are sold on a space–available basis. As in past years, the EBT offers special rates to qualifying groups. For more information contact
The East Broad Top Railroad
P.O. Box 158
Rockhill Furnace PA 17249
telephone: (814) 447–3011
FAX: (814) 447–3256
If you have not already done so, all FEBT members should mark their calendars for October 6, 7, and 8, the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this year's FEBT Fall Reunion and the East Broad Top Railroad's Fall Spectacular. Information about the 2000 Fall Reunion will be mailed to all FEBT members later this summer.
The schedule for the volunteer work crew at Robertsdale this year follows the pattern established in recent years: In general, work sessions will be held on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, starting on May 27. The dates of these work sessions are June 10 and 24, July 8 and 22, August 12 and 26, and September 9 and 23. Work sessions begin at or before 10 AM and continue to 5 PM or so, depending on the weather as well as the location and type of work. FEBT members who are interested in joining work parties at Robertsdale this year (but who are not already on the work crew mailing list) should contact
2016 A Park Avenue
Richmond VA 23220
telephone: (804) 353–0817
Since schedules and work plans can change at short notice, please contact Hank before any work session you're interested in joining.
Deane E. Mellander and Kevin C. Strong report that the nest issue of the Timber Transfer is at the printer now, and it should be in the mail to FEBT members in early May. We again apologize for the delayed publication of our quarterly magazine. Kevin and Deane indicate that they hope to accelerate the production of the next several issues to get the Timber Transfer back on schedule later this year.
The organizers of the Twentieth National Narrow Gauge Convention, to be held August 30 to September 2, 2000, in Saint Louis, Missouri, have provided a table in the manufacturers display area to FEBT; the display table includes conventions registrations for two FEBT representatives.
If you're planning to attend this convention or live in the Saint Louis area and would like to help us organize our display table (using one or both of the FEBT convention registrations) or if you'd like to help out at the FEBT display during the convention, please contact
Hank Inman, FEBT President
2016 A Park Avenue
Richmond VA 23220
Telephone: (804) 353–0817
We also invite you to contact Hank if you're planning to attend other train shows or conventions during the coming year and are interested in setting up a display table or distributing EBT and FEBT information. As an example, FEBT members Patricia J. Nape and Christopher D. Coleman set up FEBT display tables at the Buckeye Model Train and Railroad Artifacts Shows held in Columbus, Ohio, on December 18, 1999, and April 15, 2000. At these shows Pat and Chris distributed information about the East Broad Top Railroad and Friends of the East Broad Top.