The various branch lines that one time or another connected to the main line of the East Broad Top Railroad are the subject of the 2003 FEBT Early Bird Exploration on Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6. FEBT tour organizers Christopher D. Coleman and Patricia J. Downs with help from other FEBT members will lead walking and driving tours to accessible points along the rights of way of some of the EBT's many branch lines. Lumber, clay, ganister rock, iron ore, as well as coal originated along these feeder lines, adding variety to the freight carried by the railroad. Tour details are still under development, but registered participants may get to visit parts of the former clay spur, Shade Gap and Shade Valley branches, Booher Mine branch, NARCO quarry branch, Rocky Ridge branch, and Coles Valley Branch; access across private property and the weather will determine the actual tour itinerary.
Advanced registration fees for this event are $15 per adult for FEBT members and $20 per adult for nonmembers. On–site registration will cost FEBT members $20 and nonmembers $25. Please see the registration form inside this newsletter for more information. Advance registration forms for the 2003 Early Bird Exploration should be mailed to the following address:
FEBT Early Bird Exploration
c/o Patricia J. Downs
3416 Lowell Drive
Columbus OH 43204
For additional details about the tour consult the FEBT web site as we get closer to the April weekend of the tour, or contact Chris Coleman by e–mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (614) 351–7338 (evenings).
In addition to our Early Bird Exploration in April, we have planned the following FEBT events for the coming year. Mark your calendars now!
On Saturday and Sunday, June 7–8, we will hold our 2003 Summer Celebration at the East Broad Top Railroad and the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale. Activities will be scheduled at both locations; look for more information in the next FEBT Newsletter.
On Saturday, August 9, FEBT will participate in the East Broad Top Railroad's Homecoming Celebration, which will mark the 43rd anniversary of the resumption of railroad operations on the EBT. Preliminary plans call for FEBT–guided tours, demonstrations of ongoing restoration work by the FEBT Rockhill Furnace work group, and a day–long open house at the FEBT Museum.
On Saturday and Sunday, October 11–12, we will hold our 21st FEBT Fall Reunion in conjunction with the East Broad Top Railroad's 2003 fall celebration. An announcement of our plans for this special weekend will be mailed to all FEBT members at the end of August.
Current information about all FEBT–sponsored events is regularly posted on the FEBT web site www.febt.org.
John V. Meeneghan, long–time member of Friends of the East Broad Top, died last fall after a lengthy illness. Many FEBT members will recognize John's name from his pencil drawings of buildings in the East Broad Top Railroad's Rockhill Furnace yard which have been published in The Timber Transfer. John strongly supported the FEBT restoration program, and in 2001 he and his wife Audrey donated his collection of HO White Ground Models kits for various EBT buildings to FEBT for sale at that year's Fall Reunion auction. His family has now generously donated the remaining items from his collection of EBT models, books, and other materials to FEBT.
The most significant portion of this collection is a complete set of the HOn3 EBT brass locomotives and cars imported by Hall mark Models. Specific items include painted models of EBT 2–6–2 locomotive no. 11 and EBT 2–8–2 locomotives nos. 12, 14, and 15; and unpainted models of EBT 2–8–2 locomotives nos. 16, 17, and 18, EBT gas–electric motorcar M–1, EBT business car no. 20, an EBT two–bay steel hopper car, and an EBT three–bay steel hopper car. The collection also includes two unpainted HOn3 EBT cabooses imported by Peach Creek Models. All of these brass models are in new condition and in their original boxes. Among other items donated to FEBT are books and videotapes with the EBT and other railroads as their subjects.
With the possible exception of some photographs and other EBT memorabilia that may be retained for our museum collection, all items donated to FEBT by the Meeneghan family will be sold at our 2003 Fall Reunion auction, which will be held on the evening of Saturday, October 11. More information about this auction and the 2003 Fall Reunion will be published in forthcoming newsletters.
We know all FEBT members join our officers and directors in expressing our gratitude to Audrey A. Meeneghan and the other members of John's family for the support this generous contribution will provide to our restoration program. We also thank FEBT member Dennis R. Straub and FEBT restoration fund treasurer Nancy E. Jacqmin for the assistance they provided to FEBT in connection with this donation.
By Lee Rainey
The work during the 2002 season to preserve the EBT facilities at Rockhill Furnace ended on a high note on November 10, our last session of the year. Our 2002 season laid important groundwork for the future. The hard work of our volunteers established a lot of needed credibility with the East Broad Top Railroad and Railways to Yesterday. We developed the ability to make our own window sash and repair parts, identified a capable and economical manufacturer of reproduction siding, and established the beginning of a tool crib through donations and purchases. The diligent work of our glass crew and generous donations from several sources mean we begin the next season with over 400 panes of new and recycled glass.
We recently conducted a mail survey of all 2002 volunteers and a random sample of the FEBT membership at large to determine the optimum format for the 2003 season. The survey asked about a variety of possible schedules in an attempt to maximize attendance. The results of this survey were very helpful and we appreciate all who responded.
The survey results show that at this time, FEBT members are not prepared to support weekday or week–long sessions after the fashion of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Similarly, we learned that members were not supportive of four–day sessions centered on a holiday weekend, as used successfully by the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum.
The survey (and our actual attendance figures in 2002) did make clear that members are willing to attend work sessions outside the railroad's operating season, and there was strong support for three–day holiday weekend sessions. Interestingly, many members were interested in Memorial Day or Labor Day sessions, but few expressed an interest to work during the Fourth of July weekend. Members overwhelmingly preferred a schedule that included approximately one session per month.
With these results in mind, and after consultation with the EBT general manager Stanley G. Hall, the work dates listed on this page have been established for the 2003 Rockhill Furnace restoration season.
Documentation and preparation of boiler house. The brick boiler house is in the worst condition of any of the shop buildings. Our task will be to fully document the construction of the building to support professional repairs to the brickwork, roof and cupola. We will also salvage interior walls damaged by sagging roof beams, temporarily cover roof holes to prevent further damage, and remove and repair window sashes in the building.
Roof repairs to locomotive shop. The roof section joining the car shop and locomotive shop (a "canyon" between the two buildings) has failed and is allowing a great deal of water into the locomotive shop. This is the most critical roof issue in the shops. We will install new roof beams, tied between the two buildings, as well as new steel roofing and flashing.
Repairs to generator room. We began work last year on the windows of the generator room, immediately to the left of the main shop entrance. This winter it has become clear that the roof of this room is in danger of collapse. We will complete the needed roof and window repairs and do internal restoration to make this room a showcase of the shop tours.
Glazing and painting of car shop, foundry, and electrical shop. The glazing work on the car shop last year made an enormous difference. We plan to complete this job on the east and north sides and then continue the glass and paint work north to the electrical shop. The goal is to create a weather–tight, fully presentable showcase in this high–traffic area to demonstrate what we will accomplish over time for the entire complex.
Restoration of track three. The EBT has asked us to replace and respike every third tie from the Meadow Street crossing to the south switch, with the goal of returning this track to full operating condition.
Rehabilitation of north section shed. This building is sagging to the side, and suffers from an uneven foundation. In addition, its peculiar construction (no studs; all roof weight on the wall sheathing) is causing the sides to bow and pop loose. We will excavate around the shed and remove selected side boards to evaluate the condition of the foundation sills. We will then take action under the building as appropriate. In addition, we will install an inner framework to carry the roof weight and will then repair the siding, doors and window.
We have essential jobs for every level of skill and strength. If you can handle a paint brush, a shovel, or a hammer, or just hold the other end of a measuring tape, you can help save the Rockhill Furnace shops. And if you are a brick mason, we need your help badly!
Please join us for as many work sessions you can. You are welcome to come for one or all days of any particular session, as your schedule permits. While advance notice that you are coming helps us plan tasks, we can always accommodate walk–ons. We do have two requirements. First, all participants must be current members of FEBT (or must sign up as members at the start of the work day.) In addition, all volunteers must be at least 18. This latter rule, new for this season, is imposed by the EBT's insurance carrier.
Before each session, we distribute information on the jobs we'll tackle, the tools we will need, and other important information. I prefer to do this by e–mail, and you can be added to our Rockhill Furnace work group list by contacting me by e–mail. If you would rather receive notices by paper mail, send a supply of stamped, self–addressed envelopes to me:
784 Tanager Drive
State College PA 16803
For late–breaking questions, contact me by telephone at (814) 867–7878 (home) or (814) 404–3968 (mobile).
Our survey indicated many potential workers were interested in low–cost overnight shared housing in the area. We are investigating several possibilities. Watch for more details.
One thing everyone realized from our work at the railroad last summer is that there is a serious backlog of essential maintenance tasks. The East Broad Top is making its last stand in the battle against time and decay. Saving the East Broad Top is not about cutting brush in Shirleysburg, or dreaming of reopening the tunnels. It is about performing desperately–needed maintenance work on the operating portion centered on Rockhill Furnace. Every nail we drive, every slap of paint helps to save the East Broad Top. But only you can keep the nails coming. Don't let the work stop!
By Hank Inman
A wind storm in January has helped us adjust our priorities for the work the members of the FEBT Robertsdale work group will grapple with in 2003. After the storm Jimmie L. Coy, our next–door neighbor in Robertsdale, noticed a separated seam of the metal roof on the former East Broad Top station building, one of the two buildings we are rehabilitating for the FEBT Museum. Fortunately FEBT director Larry H. Williams, who lives in nearby Saxton, was able to visit Robertsdale on February 9 and fasten the loose piece of roofing so it will not blow off–taking more of the fragile roof with it–until our Robertsdale volunteers are able to complete more permanent repairs. We have the necessary experience: The same problem occurred on another section of the roof in early 2001.
So roof repair is one of the items on our list of things to do this year in Robertsdale. What else are we up to?
Robertsdale station. Our present emphasis continues to be maintenance and basic repairs. After checking and repairing the metal roof, we will complete caulking around the outsides of the windows, making minor repairs and touching up the exterior paint on the windows, doors, and trim. We need to remove old paint, repair, prime, and repair the building's wide soffit. We will need to perform maintenance inside the building needed to keep our museum exhibits and shop secure and in good condition.
Old post office. We will concentrate on finally preparing the building for the next stage of contracted work, so that work on the building's interior can be completed in 2004. Robertsdale work group volunteers will check the storm windows Huntingdon contractor Rex A. Smith will fabricate and install on the twelve second–floor windows; they will remove temporary storm windows installed over the small first–floor windows and replace them with the new storm windows Rex is fabricating for us. This will permit us to turn our attention to the preliminary work we need to complete for our rehabilitation of the post office's interior. The work planned here is basic: Removing the rest of the wall board from the second–floor partition walls and starting to clean and prepare all the original wood wainscoting removed from the first–floor interior walls for reinstallation. Other tasks will depend on how quickly we can complete the administrative reviews of the work proposed to complete our rehabilitation of this building by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission's Bureau of Historic Preservation and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
The dates set for work at Robertsdale are listed on the schedule nearby. Since our current work in Robertsdale is pretty basic, no special skills and tools will be required. Experience removing paint, applying caulk, painting, and using simple hand tools appropriately and safely will be handy, but it is not required. Work proceeds at a pace consistent with the task at hand, the the available work force, and the Broad Top Mountain environment. As at Rockhill Furnace, insurance restricts Robertsdale work group volunteers to only FEBT members.
Interested in helping us at Robertsdale this year? You're welcome to join us without advance notice, but since the specific work tackled each session depends on the expected number of volunteers, I encourage FEBT members interested in working at one of our Robertsdale work dates to contact me in advance to confirm our plans:
2016 A Park Avenue
Richmond VA 23220
Telephone: (804) 353–0817
During work sessions you can usually reach us using the FEBT Museum telephone number: (814) 635–2388.
Contributions to the FEBT fund–raising campaign have continued to arrive since the start of our campaign's second year at the beginning of September. Between September 1 and December 31, 2002, we received over $16,400 in donations to support our restoration and development programs, according to FEBT restoration fund treasurer Nancy E. Jacqmin. This total does not include $150 in corporate matching contributions we expect to obtain for donations we received during this period. In January we received many additional year–end contributions from FEBT members as well as donations stimulated by recent advertisements and notices in Trains, Classic Trains, Railfan & Railroad, and Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette magazines.
The challenging budget approved by FEBT directors last November sets major goals for each of our current restoration projects this year; our success will depend in large part on the additional donations we receive in 2003. With the financial support you and other FEBT members provide, we stand ready to make substantial progress on two projects that have already consumed more than ten years of effort each: the reproduction trucks needed for our restoration of EBT passenger–baggage car no. 16 and our re habilitation of the old Robertsdale post office. With your support we hope to complete both of these projects in 2004. We will continue the preliminary work required for the next step in our rehabilitation of the former EBT Robertsdale depot, so we can move ahead on this project when all museum operations can be temporarily transferred to the refurbished post office. Our historic architect indicates that he will have drafts of the measured drawings we have engaged him to produce of the EBT station building in Saltillo ready for inspection in March. We have initiated discussions to obtain an informed assessment of the condition of the two EBT passenger cars we acquired last year, and we are pursuing our discussions with the EBT about finding workspace at Rockhill Furnace for our work on these cars–and combine no. 16 when its trucks are finished. And as FEBT director R. Lee Rainey indicates elsewhere in this newsletter, the FEBT Rockhill Furnace work group has ambitious goals for our work there this year.
In short, we expect to have lots of bills to pay this year. Your help is crucial. Speaking of our work at Rockhill Furnace, Lee Rainey observes, "Every nail we drive, every slap of paint helps to save the East Broad Top. But only you can keep the nails coming." We need nails–or their equivalent–for every one of our restoration projects. As Lee says, "Don't let the work stop!" Please send your tax–deductible contribution to support our restoration program to the following address:
FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206–4447
Remember that each donor who makes a contribution of $50 or more by August 31, 2003, will receive a full–color reproduction of FEBT member John H. Coker's original painting Afternoon Call as a token of our appreciation.
In 2003 we again plan to open the FEBT Museum at Robertsdale to visitors from 10 am to 5 pm Saturdays and 1 to 5 pm Sundays, starting on June 7 and continuing through October 12. In order to build on the success our museum operations have enjoyed the past several years, we need to find additional FEBT members interested in serving as museum volunteers. No special experience or knowledge is required; enthusiasm and interest in communicating the East Broad Top Railroad story to museum visitors are the primary qualifications our museum volunteers need.
For more information about the FEBT Museum and how to become a member of the museum volunteer group, please contact Vagel C. Keller, FEBT assistant vice president (museum operations), at the following address:
Vagel C. Keller
P.O. Box 5130
Pittsburgh PA 15206–0130
Telephone: (412) 441–7881
Stanley G. Hall, general manager of the East Broad Top Railroad, has confirmed that operations of the railroad planned for the 2003 season will follow the same pattern as in recent years. EBT trains will run Saturdays and Sundays only, starting on June 7 and continuing through October 26. It is our understanding that train schedule each day will also be the same as in recent years—three trains leaving Orbisonia Station at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm—but this and any changes in ticket prices for 2003 will be announced by the railroad as June approaches.
Repairs to the boiler of EBT 2–8–2 locomotive no. 15 are progressing. Since the extent of any needed repairs to the locomotive's running gear will be determined after completion of the boiler work, the EBT has set no timetable for the return of no. 15 to active service.
For more information about 2003 train tickets, schedules, and group rates, please contact the railroad directly at the following address:
East Broad Top Railroad
P.O. Box 158
Rockhill Furnace PA 17249
Telephone: (814) 447–3011
FAX: (814) 447–3256
Current information about EBT operations can also be found on the Friend of the East Broad Top web site www.febt.org.
FEBT members are requested to vote to elect four persons to the nine–member Board of Directors of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc., using the ballot included with this newsletter. All FEBT members holding regular, family, sustaining, associate, life, senior, student, and basic memberships are eligible to vote in this election. The directors chosen by FEBT members in this election will serve two–year terms of office.
The nominating committee for this election cycle consisted of FEBT director Craig A. Williams (chairman), and FEBT members William E. Grant, Jr., and James G. Mersereau. The committee received the names of six potential nominees, including the four incumbent directors holding seats up for election. One incumbent director, David S. Bucher, informed the committee that he intended to retire from the board and asked not to be considered for nomination. Four of the remaining potential nominees confirmed to the nominating committee their interest in serving as directors of Friends of the East Broad Top, and the nominating committee has placed their names on the official ballot.-p>
As in the past, the candidates selected by the nominating committee were asked to provide information for distribution to FEBT members for this election. Each candidate was asked to provide a written statement of 100 words or less summarizing his or her past and present contributions to Friends of the East Broad Top and indicating what he or she would do if elected. These responses are reproduced below (minimally edited), in the randomized order in which the candidates' names appear on the official ballot. An asterisk (*) denotes an incumbent director running for reelection. Write–in votes are permitted, and space on the ballot has been provided for such votes.
My past service to FEBT includes several terms as director; several terms as secretary; supervising the life member and restoration accounts; administering our "new rider" program; working on restoration projects at Rockhill Furnace and Robertsdale; working as a volunteer at FEBT reunions; researching and communicating to FEBT members the history of the EBT clay spur; and, last but not least, twice picking up the pieces of the FEBT Company Store, getting its stock inventoried and the store back in operation again. My priorities if reelected would stay what they have been all along: Continue to rebuild a working relationship with the railroad; support the railroad in every way we can; administer and promote the large number of restoration projects and other programs currently under way; explore other ways of recouping Company Store losses; and keep members well informed concerning the board's actions, decisions, and allocations of FEBT resources.
I have a long history of involvement with FEBT, having worked on the original Rockhill Furnace restoration projects, supported the Restoration Fund, served on the board of directors since 2000, and spearheaded the successful effort to return passenger cars 18 and 29 to the EBT. FEBT's most pressing priorities are completing our work in Robertsdale, accelerating our work on combine 16, beginning the restoration of cars 18 and 29, and building upon our improved relationship with the East Broad Top Railroad through an expanded restoration program at Rockhill Furnace. Success in these areas may allow us access to sources of funding outside our membership base.
Past member of the FEBT board of directors and restoration volunteer working on combine no. 16 in Allaire, at Robertsdale, and last year in Rockhill Furnace; I am currently manager of the FEBT Company Store. I have 30+ years of experience in the management of various retail enterprises. Retail executives faces many challenges, but they deal with a delicate mix of producing profits and the needs of both customers and associates (team members) who make the enterprise a success. As a director I would (1) continue to promote increased FEBT membership, (2) promote growth of income for FEBT and the EBT, and (3) ensure cooperation between the EBT and FEBT management.
I have served as a FEBT director and officer since 1993 and president since 1997. The primary tasks facing our board of directors are (1) continuing our current efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of FEBT operations and initiatives, and (2) raising the necessary funds from within and outside FEBT to maintain our progress on these activities. In the short term this includes completing work on next stages of our current restoration projects, expanding our present educational initiatives, building on the cooperative relationship we have established with the EBT, and continuing the development of our museum and collections.
We are pleased that former EBT brakeman and retired Huntingdon County commissioner Lee R. Wilson has again agreed to serve as judge and count the ballots for this election. All 2003 election ballots must be mailed to FEBT Directors Election, c/o Lee R. Wilson, Election Judge, RR 1 Box 1156, Three Springs PA 17264. Only ballots received by March 20, 2003, will be counted.
We hope to mount displays at several events and shows this year, but we need your help. Please contact us if you are interested in helping us set up a display and distribute EBT and FEBT information at the following shows and conventions:
Pennsylvania Trolley Museum Car Show, Saturday and Sunday, June 21–22, on the museum grounds in Washington, Pennsylvania.
Twenty–third National Narrow Gauge Convention, Wednesday through Saturday, September 3–6, in Denver, Colorado. We have reserved a table in the manufacturers display area, and FEBT member Kevin C. Strong has agreed to help coordinate our display.
Twenty–sixth Annual Gaithersburg Railroad–Transportation Artifacts Show and Sale, Sunday, November 2, at the Montgomery County fairgrounds in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
FEBT members who live near one of these events or plan to attend and who are interested in participating in our educational efforts should contact FEBT president Hank Inman at the following address:
2016 A Park Avenue
Richmond VA 23220
Telephone: (804) 353–0817
We invite FEBT members participating in other shows or events to contact Hank to obtain EBT and FEBT literature.
Remember that Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc., holds events and work sessions on the property of the East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company by arrangement with the East Broad Top Railroad. However, the East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company retains its right to restrict or deny access of any person to its property at any time and for any reason.