Join Friends of the East Broad Top on Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3, as we celebrate the start of the 2001 operating seasons of the East Broad Top Railroad and the FEBT Museum. In cooperation with the EBT, we are pleased to announce a special treat for FEBT members, railfans, and the general public: On both days, between 11 am and 4 pm, visitors to the EBT will be able to enter selected buildings in the EBT's Rockhill Furnace shop complex to enjoy unprecedented access to the "inside" of this remarkable historic site. On these two days visitors will be able to enter in whatever order they choose and spend as much time as they like in the open buildings supervised by designated FEBT volunteers. All current FEBT members will also be able to purchase tickets to ride East Broad Top Railroad trains at a special low price. In Robertsdale we plan to open the FEBT Museum longer hours both days, and FEBT members and the public are invited to join us for our annual Summer Celebration open house Saturday evening.
By arrangement with the East Broad Top Railroad, the FEBT–sponsored "open shop days" will permit any current FEBT member free access to the interior of the principal shop buildings at Rockhill Furnace. Subject to the availability of responsible FEBT volunteers to serve as site coordinators and docents, the railroad has agreed to open the roundhouse, paint shop, machine shop, blacksmith shop, and foundry to FEBT members and the public on June 2 and 3. Current FEBT members will be able to enter the open shop buildings without charge; other visitors must purchase a $5.00 shop pass from the EBT. FEBT volunteers will be inside the open buildings to answer questions and maintain safety. If enough FEBT members volunteer to help us, we plan to offer half–hour guided walking tours around the exterior of the EBT shop complex, as we did during the EBT's 40th anniversary celebration last August.
Current FEBT members may purchase train tickets for any of the six trains the EBT will run on June 2 and 3 for only $5.00 each (adult or child). This special FEBT fare represents a $4.00 discount off the standard adult ticket price and a $1.00 discount off the standard price for children ages 2 to 12. On each day the EBT's trains are scheduled to depart the Orbisonia station at the usual times: 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm.
Registration for the 2001 FEBT Summer Celebration is not required. Instead, every current FEBT member should visit the FEBT information tent when he or she arrives at the EBT to obtain a free FEBT name–tag. This name–tag will allow you to purchase train tickets from the EBT at the special FEBT price and permit you to enter the open shop buildings at no charge. A schedule of FEBT Summer Celebration activities and other information will be available at the FEBT information tent and at the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale.
Since our agreement with the East Broad Top Railroad regarding access to the interiors of shop buildings requires our having sufficient volunteers inside the open buildings to assure the safety of both visitors and property, we need plenty of FEBT members to help us live up to our part of this bargain. We plan to have at least two volunteers inside each open building at all times, and other volunteers will be needed at the FEBT information tent to issue name–tags to FEBT members and answer inquiries from the general public. Additional volunteers will enable us to offer the guided walking tours around the shop complex, supervise access at entrances to the shop buildings, and provide breaks to the on–duty FEBT volunteers.
Several more volunteers will be needed at Robertsdale to maintain museum operations for what we hope is a much larger than usual number of museum visitors. These volunteers will handle visitor inquiries at Robertsdale and sales at the museum shop during the extended hours of operation on the Summer Celebration weekend: 10 am to 8:30 pm on Saturday, June 2, and 12 noon to 5 pm on Sunday, June 3.
FEBT members interested in helping us make this special occasion a success should contact Vagel C. Keller, FEBT assistant vice president, well before June 2, so we can determine from the volunteers available to us our final arrangements for the FEBT–sponsored "open shop days" and other Summer Celebration activities:
Vagel C. Keller
P.O. Box 5130
Pittsburgh PA 15206–0130
Telephone: (412) 441–7881
Enthusiasm and interest in communicating the East Broad Top Railroad's history and heritage to visitors are the primary characteristics potential FEBT Summer Celebration volunteers must possess.
Unfortunately, our agreement with the East Broad Top Railroad for FEBT sponsorship of the "open shop days" on June 2 and 3 could not be finalized in time for us to maximize advance publicity for this event. Instead we are relying on FEBT members to help us stimulate public interest in our plans both at the EBT and at Robertsdale. Announcements aimed at the general public for both the "open shop days" at the EBT and our museum's open house are included as an insert to this newsletter. We have had these announcements printed on smooth paper–stock from which better quality plain–paper copies can be made. We encourage all FEBT members to reproduce and distribute copies of these announcements to railfans and others who may be attracted to what we have planned for the first weekend of June. We intend to circulate this information at Pennsylvania railroad museums with whom FEBT has established reciprocal relationships.
We also plan to provide information about our 2001 Summer Celebration activities to various newspapers and other media outlets, but anything you and other FEBT members can do to help us spread the word will be appreciated. If you know of a specific person at a newspaper, TV, or radio station to whom this information can effectively be transmitted, please contact
Henry F. Inman
2016 A Park Avenue
Richmond VA 23220
Telephone: (804) 353–0817
Background information about the East Broad Top Railroad and FEBT, together with information about the 2001 Summer Celebration should be available in mid–May.
In making the commitments necessary to incorporate our sponsorship of the EBT "open shop days" into this year's FEBT Summer Celebration, our board of directors has relied on the frequently expressed desire of many FEBT members to become actively involved as volunteers at the East Broad Top Railroad. From this perspective, our arrangement with the EBT for FEBT to take on–site responsibility for public access to the interiors of shop buildings is a test of our ability to assume a larger public role at the East Broad Top Railroad. If we can demonstrate that FEBT is capable of organizing and supervising events at the EBT consonant with our mission as a nonprofit educational and historic society for a public audience large enough to make the effort worthwhile, additional opportunities for additional FEBT–sponsored activities at the East Broad Top Railroad may present themselves in the future. As always, our success will depend on you and the other FEBT members who support us in these efforts.
At its first meeting of 2001, on March 17, the board of directors of Friends of the East Broad Top certified the results of this year's election of directors and selected officers for the coming year; started a year–long review of FEBT's current financial condition and possible improvements in our planning and budget processes; and discussed plans for fund–raising and other business matters.
Based on election judge Lee R. Wilson's tabulation of the ballots which he had received by the deadline of March 8, the four incumbent directors were reelected to serve two–year terms of office. The official vote totals were as follows: John R. Snyder 88, Henry F. Inman 88, David S. Bucher 87, and Robert R. Farquharson 87; write–in votes were also received for Michael J. Swinnerton (2), Stanley Hall (1), and Philip J. Padgett (1). The four reelected directors rejoin FEBT board members Reginald Arford, David C. Brightbill, Thomas A. Diehl, Jr., Ron Morgan, and Craig A. Williams, whose seats come up for election in the 2002 election cycle. Henry F. Inman, Robert R. Farquharson, John R. Snyder, and William T. Wheeler were elected by the board to serve as FEBT president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer respectively.
In the board's discussion of financial matters, FEBT president Hank Inman observed that cold weather and peak prices for propane and fuel oil this winter had pushed the cost of heating the museum buildings in Robertsdale considerably above estimates based on past experience. One result of this unanticipated expense was an increase in end–of–2000 expenditures from FEBT operating funds. As part of its review, the board agreed to reassess the present FEBT membership and dues structure, consider authorizing regular paid advertising in The Timber Transfer, and pursue existing plans for seeking substantial support for the FEBT restoration program from grants and donations during 2001. The board invites comments from FEBT members interested in participating in the financial review process. FEBT members who wish to join the financial study group should contact FEBT vice president Bob Farquharson, who is coordinating this project:
Robert R. Farquharson
5132 Piper Glen Drive
Charlotte NC 28277–0389
Telephone: (704) 846–8447
Among the various other items of business addressed by the board in March, FEBT directors ratified the decision by the executive committee earlier this year to formalize the final purchase and transfer to FEBT control of EBT material in the Jack Alexander–Vincent Ryan collection from FEBT member Richard B. Keller. Ultimately the photographs in this collection, like the other EBT material purchased by or donated to FEBT, will become available to FEBT members and other qualified individuals researching the history of the East Broad Top Railroad.
FEBT members who recently ordered copies of Deane Mellander's East Broad Top: Slim Gauge Survivor from the FEBT Company Store may have experienced some slight delays while John R. Snyder, manager of the FEBT Company Store, obtained a new supply of Deane's book. John reports that he should have plenty of copies of this book back in stock by the time this newsletter is mailed, so copies of East Broad Top: Slim Gauge Survivor will be shipped as new orders are received. As a reminder, the price of Deane's book, which reproduces some 200 color photos of the EBT during its final years of operation, is $48.00 (less FEBT member discount, if applicable) plus the standard charge for shipping and handling (see below).
Also currently in stock is the Summer 1999 back issue of The Timber Transfer (vol. 16 no. 1). Our supply of extra copies of this issue of our quarterly magazine disappeared soon after they were printed and mailed. This issue contained a feature based on the 1942 labor agreement covering the EBT's maintenance–of–way and shop employees; photos of the interior of the Saltillo station building and the Coles Station water tank; the first part of an oral history interview with former EBT brakeman Charles Price; and reports of EBT modeling by David S. Bucher and Pete and Jane Clarke. The reprints of this issue now available from the FEBT Company Store are high–quality digital copies on heavy matte–coated paper; their price is $4.25 each (less FEBT member discount, if applicable) plus the standard charge for shipping and handling (see below).
These items as well as all other EBT–related plans, drawings, books, tapes, model kits and lettering, and back issues of the Timber Transfer can be purchased by mail from
FEBT Company Store
c/o John R. Snyder
12 Pheasant Drive
Hershey PA 17033–9792
A list of the plans and drawings available from the FEBT Company Store is $1.50 (this is the same list mailed to all FEBT members at the end of last year). A current catalog listing all items currently available (including the plans and drawings) can be obtained for $2.50; this catalog also appears on the FEBT web site www.febt.org.
Remember that FEBT regular, family, sustaining, life, student, and senior members may deduct a 15% member discount from the prices stated above for East Broad Top: Slim Gauge Survivor and the back issue of The Timber Transfer. A $5.00 minimum shipping and handling charge must be included with all orders. Orders for merchandise totals above $35.00 but less than $75.00 must include $6.00 for shipping and handling. Orders for merchandise totals of $75.00 or more must include $7.00 for shipping and handling. However, John notes that he may, at his discretion, refund excess payments for shipping and handling on orders where the actual costs are significantly less than the required payment.
In March John informed the FEBT board of directors of his intention to step down as manager of the FEBT Company Store later this year. While we hope to maintain continuity of mail–order sales as operations are transferred to a new manager, we cannot guarantee that we will succeed in this endeavor. Because of uncertainties until a successor to John has been appointed, John suggests that FEBT members planning to place orders do so before the start of July to avoid inadvertent delays caused by the anticipated transition in the management of the FEBT Company Store. Until the appointment of a new manager has been announced, please note that all orders and correspondence related to the FEBT Company Store should be addressed to John.
FEBT members living in the Harrisburg–Hershey, Pennsylvania, area who may have an interest in serving as the new manager of the FEBT Company Store or in joining the existing Company Store work group are invited to contact John at the address stated above. Telephone inquiries may be directed to FEBT director Craig A. Williams, who has agreed to help coordinate the transfer of FEBT Company Store operations; he can be reached at (717) 626–9186.
In 2001 the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale will be open Saturdays and Sundays, starting on June 2 and continuing through October 14. Regular hours of operation are 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays, and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sundays. The museum telephone number, answered when the museum is open, is (814) 635–2388.
The schedule for work at Robertsdale this year calls for regular work sessions on both Saturday and Sunday on the following weekends: May 26–27, June 16–17, July 21–22, August 18–19, and September 15–16. Supplementary work sessions will be scheduled as needed. Work will continue on the interior of the old post office and on the exterior of the former EBT station. For more information about our plans and the specific items of work to be tackled this year contact
2016 A Park Avenue
Richmond VA 23220
Telephone: (804) 353–0817
We remind FEBT members that this year's Fall Reunion will be held on October 6–7, the weekend of the East Broad Top Railroad's 2001 Fall Spectacular. Information about this year's reunion will be mailed to all FEBT members later this year.
We were saddened to learn of the sudden death of long–time East Broad Top Railroad employee Richard H. Morgan, 44, on March 23. A career teacher in various southern Huntingdon County schools, Richard worked summers for the EBT, both as a member of the train crew and in the office. He was also active in efforts official and unofficial to maintain the EBT's buildings and equipment. We know that all FEBT members join us in extending our condolences to his family.
Forty–seven FEBT members and their guests joined FEBT webmaster Christopher D. Coleman on April 7 and 8 to explore the East Broad Top Railroad's right of way. While Saturday was damp and overcast, Sunday was warm and sunny as Chris, assisted by FEBT members Patrician J. Downs and Vagel C. Keller, provided a guided driving and walking tour of the tunnels and bridges from Robertsdale to Mount Union. More information about the 2001 Early Bird Exploration will appear in an upcoming issue of The Timber Transfer.
According to EBT general manager Stanley Hall, the operations of the East Broad Top Railroad this year will follow the schedule established in recent years. Trains will run on Saturdays and Sundays only, starting on June 2 and continuing through October 28. Each day three trains will leave the Orbisonia station, at 11 am, 1 pm , and 3 pm. There are no changes in the cost of tickets. The price of standard seats for adults is $9.00 each, while tickets for children between 2 and 12 years of age are $6.00 each. Additional payment is required for seats in the caboose or business car. A 50–cents per ticket discount is available for groups of 20 or more passengers, and Stanley Hall invites special–interest groups of 25 or more to contact him directly for even more advantageous special rates.
At this time two special events appear on the EBT's 2001 calendar. On June 15, 16, and 17 an antique car and tractor show has reserved the carnival grounds across the tracks from the Orbisonia station. (In recent years this show was held at the Shade Gap picnic grounds.) And on October 6 and 7 the East Broad Top Railroad will hold its 2001 Fall Spectacular.
For more information about the 2001 schedule and train tickets, please contact
Current information about EBT operations can also be found of the FEBT web site: www.febt.org.