The surviving elements of the East Broad Top Railroad are the subject of the 2004 FEBT Early Bird Exploration on Saturday and Sunday, April 3 and 4. Both days FEBT tour organizers Christopher D. Coleman and Patricia J. Coleman will conduct combined driving and walking tours to accessible points along the EBT right of way. On Saturday the tour begins at 12 noon in Rockhill Furnace at the EBT. The Saturday tour has planned stops at Jordan Summit, Saltillo, Pogue, Sidleing Hill, Coles, and Wrays Hill. A slide show at the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale is scheduled for 6–8 pm Saturday evening. Expected tour stops on Sunday morning will include Shirleysburg, Aughwick Mills, and Mount Union. Weather and the interests of tour participants may affect the actual tour itinerary. Tour registrants arriving early on Saturday are invited to join a 9–11 am "pre–tour" guided walk around the EBT Rockhill Furnace yard.
We have made tentative arrangements for lunch at 11–12 noon on Saturday and breakfast at 8–9 am on Sunday to be available for registered "early bird" explorers at the Rockhill Trolley Museum. (Additional payments to RTM will be required for FEBT tour participants who wish to take advantage of these meals.) Contributions will be collected for pizza at the slide show on Saturday evening.
Advanced registration fees for our 2004 spring exploration 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 2004 Early Bird Exploration should be mailed to the following address:
FEBT Early Bird Exploration
c/o Patricia J. Coleman
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.
On Saturday and Sunday, June 5–6, we will hold our 2004 Summer Celebrationat the East Broad Top Railroad and the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale. Look for more information in the next FEBT Newsletter.
On Saturday, August 14, FEBT will participate in the East Broad Top Railroad’s 2004 Anniversary and Homecoming Celebration, which will mark the 44th 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 9–10, we will hold our 22nd FEBT Fall Reunionin conjunction with the East Broad Top Railroad’s 2004 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.
At its meeting on March 20, the board of directors of Friends of the East Broad Top will finalize the 2004 budget for our restoration program. Based on the funds we now have, the donations we receive between now and March, and the donations our directors believe we will receive during the remainder of 2004, we will set specific goals for each of our restoration projects, whether current or proposed.
At Robertsdale, we need to begin the final work required to complete the interior rehabilitation of the old post office; we had hoped to start this work last year.
At Rockhill Furnace, we will not only continue the building and track repairs started in 2002 and 2003, we also want to make needed repairs to caboose no. 28 and stabilize erosion behind the sandhouse and paintshop caused by Jordan Cemetery Creek.
At Saltillo, historical architect John R. Bowie is now inking the final drawings of the station building.
Work on our passenger carsdepends on establishing a suitable workspace in Rockhill Furnace.
Organization and documentation of our collections must continue.
Without your help we cannot keep our restoration program moving forward.We welcome your tax–deductible donations, which should be mailed to the following address:
FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206–4447
Remember that contributors who make donations of $50 of more before August 1, 2004, may receive one of our reproductions of Frank Vietor’s original painting October Evening, Orbisonia.
East Broad Top Railroad caboose no. 28 has lost its exterior wood sheathing. And most of its end platforms, too.
Last year it became increasing obvious that the wood siding covering the cabin of this caboose, constructed by the EBT at its Rockhill Furnace shops in 1920, was showing its age. Some of the siding showed clear signs of disintegration, while other pieces were pulling away from the car body. The green–painted caboose, which has operated as part of the regular tourist train, clearly needed attention.
As reported in the December FEBT Newsletter, repairs to the caboose were among the projects the FEBT board of directors agreed to incorporate into our 2004 Rockhill Furnace restoration program. Thus with the approval of EBT general manager Stanley G. Hall, work on caboose no. 28 started on January 17–18. FEBT volunteers William Adams and Tom Kozub made extensive measurements, took hundreds of photographs, and removed and tagged most of the car’s hardware. David C. Brightbill, Don Dissinger, and R. Lee Rainey removed old sheathing from the sides of the caboose. Wade N. Woodcock and Charles Wootton disassembled the hand–railings and wood planking on the end platforms.
And what did our volunteers uncover? FEBT Rockhill Furnace restoration coordinator Lee Rainey reports that the car’s steel main frame and the steel diagonal bracing that forms the skeleton of the cabin are in good condition. The caboose’s wood nailing beams—to which the exterior sheathing is attached—need only minor repairs. However, the steel sheets supporting the end platforms, which also anchor the car’s end bracing to its main frame, are in poor shape and require replacement. Charlie Wootton has already obtained the necessary new steel plates, and Lee has ordered new custom–milled poplar siding for the car (at an estimated cost of $2,000).
The timetable for returning caboose no. 28 to service? In February the existing end–platform steel plates will be removed. In March the new steel plates will be welded in, the nailing beams repaired, and new sheathing installed. In May we will paint the exterior of the car and reinstall the metal hardware. Thus if all goes according to plan the car will be ready for the first train of the EBT’s 2004 operating season.
As a reminder, work this year at Rockhill Furnace is scheduled on the following weekends: March 13–14, May 1–2, May 22–34, June 12–13, July 10–11, August 1–2, August 14–15, August 28–29, September 25–26, and November 6–7. FEBT members interested in joining our Rockhill Furnace work crew should contact Lee Rainey by telephone at (814) 867–7878 (home) or by e–mail at email@example.com..
At the end of December one of our members donated 200 shares of SBC Communications common stock to Friends of the East Broad Top. At the time of donation, the donated stock had a value of approximately $5,000. In March 2002 FEBT received a similar donation of 200 shares of Pfizer, Inc., common stock from this same benefactor, who prefers to remain anonymous. The current value of both stocks, which FEBT holds in a brokerage account at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, exceeds $12,000. All income FEBT realizes from both stocks, after the payment of brokerage and account fees, will be used to support our restoration program.
Donations of stock and other capitalized investments can provide tax advantages to certain donors; we invite you to contact FEBT president Henry F. Inman if you have any questions about such donations:
Henry F. Inman
2016 A Park Avenue
Richmond VA 23220
Telephone: (804) 353–0817
We’re looking for additional volunteers to help us with the operation of the FEBT Museum in 2004. Museum volunteers answer visitors’ questions and handle sales at our gift shop. FEBT members interested in volunteering at our museum one or more Saturdays or Sundays between June and mid–October are invited to contact FEBT assistant vice president Vagel C. Keller at (412) 441–7881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEBT member William Adams is organizing a display table for Friends of the East Broad Top at the Greenberg’s Train Show at the Prince Georges Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, on February 28–29. There Bill will distribute information about the East Broad Top Railroad and FEBT. If you’re interested in helping Bill at this show you can contact him by e–mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (301) 567–8309.
We are always happy to provide literature and information about the EBT and FEBT to FEBT members for distribution at train shows, conventions, and other events. Interested FEBT members should contact FEBT president Hank Inman (providing as much advance notice as possible) at the address and telephone number stated elsewhere in this newsletter.
By now most FEBT members should have received the most recent issues of the Timber Transfer (volume 19 nos. 3 and 4), which we mailed in mid–January. Current FEBT members who did not receive this mailing should notify our membership office. (Contact information for the FEBT membership office is stated elsewhere in this newsletter.) We appreciate your patience as we work to recover from the long–standing lag in our publication of the Timber Transfer.
FEBT members are requested to vote to elect five 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, and student 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 John R. Snyder (chairman) and FEBT members David C. Brightbill and James G. Mersereau. The committee received the names of six potential nominees, including the five incumbent directors holding seats up for election. All six 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.
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.
In the past, I have worn a number of hats while trying to help the Friends of the East Broad Top grow into the organization it is today. I have helped with our restoration projects, collected oral histories, assisted with the fall reunions, and helped promote FEBT at national train shows. I embrace the current leadership’s goals for our organization and would be pleased to be able to continue to help FEBT as a director.
I feel that I can contribute to the board and the membership of FEBT from the point of view of a resident in the Broad Top region. Response time to requests of FEBT officers would be short, since I am so close to Robertsdale and the EBT. I done this in the past and would continue in the future. My experience with railroad restoration efforts conducted by the South Penn chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and the Everett Railroad has prepared me to work for FEBT in the areas of restoration and promotion.
I have been a member of FEBT for as long as I have known of the organization, and I have attended as many of its functions as time permitted. I have participated in reunion activities and modeling contests, and frequently familiarize other railfans with both the EBT and FEBT. I have assisted in securing materials for reunion auctions and historic EBT artifacts. I would expect to use my skills and experience to further the interests and public awareness of both the EBT and FEBT.
I’ve been participating in FEBT for some time. I’ve helped at fall reunions, worked with restoration efforts to the best of my ability, contributed photography to The Timber Transfer, and will continue to do so. If reelected to the board I will be happy to continue making every effort to promote not only FEBT, but the EBT as well.
I have worked as a member of both the Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace restoration work crews. I have also conducted tours inside the East Broad Top Railroad’s machine shop during FEBT and EBT special events. In addition to working as a FEBT volunteer, I also work as a volunteer at Steamtown, leading tours and working in the roundhouse and backshop. As a FEBT director I have attended (or participated by teleconference in) most—if not all—meetings of the board. My immediate goals are to compile a handbook for FEBT volunteers and to finish cleaning and organizing the machine shop at the EBT.
I have ridden, hiked, photographed, and written about the East Broad Top Railroad since first encountering it in 1953. But the greatest thrill of all has been the opportunity in the last two years to roll up my sleeves and help save it. As coordinator of the Rockhill Furnace restoration efforts on behalf of FEBT and the railroad, I’ve organized and led work sessions which to date have contributed over 3,839 volunteer hours to the preservation of EBT rolling stock and Rockhill Furnace facilities. I ask you to reelect me so that I can continue to lead this critical work.
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 2004 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 18, 2004, will be counted.
FEBT Company Store manager Richard B. Keller has a new kit for the north portal of the East Broad Top Railroad’s Sideling Hill tunnel in stock. This HO–scale kit features a detailed polyurethane casting of the concrete portal produced from special molds commissioned by the FEBT Company Store. The regular price for the tunnel portal kit will be $34.95*, but until March 31, 2004, it can be purchased from the FEBT Company Store at the special introductory price of $29.95*. If there is sufficient interest the Company Store may produce similar kits for the EBT’s other tunnel portals.
For modelers in other scales, the FEBT Company Store offers copies of the EBT’s 1926 engineering drawing for the Sideling Hill tunnel’s north portal. This drawing gives elevation, plan, and section views of the concrete portal. Cost of the drawing is $1.50*.
Please send all orders for the Sideling Hill tunnel portal engineering drawing or for the HOn3 Sideling Hill tunnel portal kit directly to the following address:
FEBT Company Store
211 Hampton Road
Hatboro PA 19040
*Note that current FEBT members receive a 15% discount on the prices stated above. All mail orders must include the appropriate charge for shipping and handling. The shipping charge for kits mailed to US addresses is $4.00 for up to two kits, plus $2.00 for each additional kit. For drawings the shipping charge is $5.00 per order. Contact Rich to determine the appropriate shipping charge for orders mailed to non–US addresses. Pennsylvania residents must also include payment of 6% state sales tax.