The 2007 FEBT 'Early Bird' Exploration on Saturday, April 14, is organized around the ganister rock the East Broad Top Railroad hauled to the Mount Union refractory brick plants. Our combined driving and walking tours will visit accessible points along the EBT right of way related to the railroad's ganister traffic, including points where ganister rock was loaded near Three Springs and Saltillo and the sites of the Mount Union brick plants. FEBT membership coordinator Peter A Clarke is organizing this year's spring exploration with the cooperation of the Mount Union Area Historical Society.
On Saturday morning, tour participants will meet in Rockhill Furnace at the FEBT restoration car shop in the former EBT paint shop building. According to Pete Clarke, the tour will then explore the ganister loading siding between Three Springs and Saltillo and the path of the now–dismantled spur truck to the former North American Refractories Company quarry above Three Springs. The tour will then head to Mount Union for lunch and for afternoon visits to the Mount Union Area Historical Society's museum and the sites of the brick plants. Advanced registration fees for our 2007 spring exploration are $15 per adult for FEBT and MUAHS members and $20 per adult for nonmembers. On–site registration will cost FEBT and MUAHS members $20 and nonmembers $25. Please see the registration form inside this newsletter for more information. Advance registration forms for the 2007 Early Bird Exploration should be mailed to the following address
FEBT Early Bird Exploration
c/o Peter A. Clarke
10428 Carlyn Ridge Road
Damascus MD 20872
Significant ganister rock traffic on the EBT began in 1911, when the Mount Union plant later acquired by North American Refractories Company was erected. Unlike the earlier brick plants of Harbison–Walker and the General Refractories Company, the NARCO brick plant used ganister rock quarried at the south end of Jacks Mountain. Until 1942, an incline delivered rock from the quarry to a siding adjacent to the EBT's mainline, but that year the incline was replaced by a direct spur track from Saltillo to the quarry. As Lee Rainey and Frank Kyper observe in East Broad Top (1982), typically 600 tons of ganister rock was shipped on the EBT from the NARCO quarry daily, but at times these shipments reached 900 tons—enough to fill 30 EBT cars. (There was a second ganister loading point at Stanton, off the EBT's Shade Gap branch near Neelyton. Here too an incline delivered rock to the EBT which transported the ganister to the General Refractories brick plant. Operations at this location ceased in 1927)
Permission to visit private property and the weather may obviously affect tour arrangements. For additional details about our 2007 Early Bird Exploration, please consult the FEBT web site as we get closer to the actual weekend of the tour, or contact Pete Clarke by e–mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (301) 253–4913.
In addition to our Early Bird Exploration in April, the following FEBT events are scheduled during the coming year
On Saturday and Sunday, June 2–3, we will hold our 2007 Summer Celebration at the East Broad Top Railroad and the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale. Look for more information in the next FEBT Newsletter.
On Saturday, August 18, FEBT will participate in the East Broad Top Railroad's 2007 Anniversary and Homecoming Celebration, which will mark the 47th 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 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 5–7, we will hold our 25th FEBT Fall Reunion in conjunction with the East Broad Top Railroad's 2007 fall celebration. An announcement of our plans for this special weekend will he 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.
Because our work on the old Robertsdale post office will affect our use of space in both of our museum buildings this year, we have decided to open the museum to the public only for FEBT events and when on–site work by our volunteers is scheduled. The resulting reduced operating schedule for our museum will still provide reasonable opportunities for the public to visit us while interfering as little as possible with the progress our volunteers and contractors will be making on the final phase of our rehabilitation of the old post office for museum use.
In 2007 the FEBT Museum will be open to the public on the first and third weekends of each month, starting in May and ending in October. In general, museum hours on these weekends will be 10–5 on Saturdays and 1–5 on Sundays. Special fall open house hours will apply on October 6–7.
Despite the changes in our museum's operations for the current year, we still need FEBT members who can help us open and supervise the museum. We encourage members interested in joining our museum volunteers to contact Vagel C. Keller, who as assistant vice president coordinates our museum operations. No experience is necessary—just commitment to communicating the EBT story to the public. Vagel can be reached by e–mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (412) 441–7881.
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, 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 Thomas A. Diehl, Jr. (chairman), and FEBT members William E. Grant, Jr., and Ronald L. Pearson. The committee received the names of only four potential nominees—the four incumbent directors holding seats up for election. These directors confirmed to the nominating committee their interest in serving again 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.
I have supported our restoration program from its inception and have served on the board since 1999. The Friends of the East Broad Top has been able, by virtue of the groundwork laid by prior directors, to move in new directions when unanticipated opportunities arose. Our Rockhill Furnace restoration program and the acquisition of passenger cars 18 and 29 serve as prime examples. It is my goal to ensure that FEBT is prepared for its new challenge.
I have been a member of FEBT for as long as I have known of the organization, and have attended as many of its functions as time permitted. I have participated in reunion activities and modeling contests, and frequently familiarize other rallfans with both the EBT and FEBT. I am using my skills and experience to further the interests and public awareness of both the EBT and FEBT through my involvement in FEBT's outreach efforts, and contemplate increased involvement in coining years as features of this program expand.
I have served on the board the past two years. Since 2000 I have contributed articles to the Timber Transfer and helped staff FEBT events and train–show booths. I have worked on the photographic collection scanning project and proposed Robertsdale exhibits. I've worked with the Company Store on new products. I helped with the Saltillo station and Coles Station tankhouse documentation, and have been a regular volunteer and crew leader in Rockhill Furnace since 2002. I will continue to support FEBT's restoration work in both Rockhill Furnace and Robertsdale, continue work on the photographic collections, and continue to work toward new educational exhibits.
I have served as an FEBT director and officer since 1993 and president since 1997. Currently I also coordinate our restoration work at Robertsdale and our Coles Station water tank documentation project. I am committed to working on the challenges we face, which include (1) continuing our efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of FEBT operations, (2) building on the successes of our restoration program, (3) expanding our outreach initiatives, (4) further developing our museum and collections, (5) raising the necessary funds to maintain our progress on these activities, and (6) working with the owner of the EBT to insure its future.
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 2007 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 26, 2007, will be counted.
Here's a brief summary of restoration activities since the last FEBT Newsletter
For more information contact
Lee Rainey at (814) 867–7878 (home),
(814) 404–3968 (cell), or
For more information contact
Hank Inman at (804) 353–0817 or
Vagel Keller at (412) 441–7881 or
FEBT vice president R Lee Rainey reports that, despite temperatures in the single digits, our volunteers continued to advance work on several projects at our January and February work sessions. Repairs to the first truck of side–dump steel hopper car no 802 are effectively complete, still remaining is the work needed to repair the second truck. The conversion of EBT steel box car no 168 to passenger service has started. Material has been cut from the steel sides, work on the roof has begun, and material for the floor and benches is on hand. In the EBT foundry building, volunteers have repaired the east wall and a damaged roof truss, they have also started to brace the overhead transfer crane for repairs later this year. Temporary bracing has also been installed to stabilize the small garage near the sandhouse, with more work planned at future work sessions. Lee indicates that FEBT has taken delivery of additional new scaffolding, which will make future work on shop buildings at Rockhill Furnace easier.
FEBT president Henry F. Inman reports that in January the Pennsylvania Bureau for Historic Preservation reviewed and approved the revised drawings and specifications for the final phase of our rehabilitation of the old post office building in Robertsdale prepared by architect John R. Bowie. Hank indicates that FEBT will obtain the necessary building permit from Wood Township once we have finalized arrangements with our contractors. Preliminary work by FEBT volonteers will take place as needed before the start of regular work sessions at Robertsdale in April.
Most 2007 work sessions at Robertsdale will focus on the rehabilitation of the post office, but assistant vice president Vagel Keller will direct some work sessions to develop museum exhibits in anticipation of moving museum operations into the post office in 2008. Since the subject of planned work may change depending on the pace of contracted work, FEBT members interested in working at Robertsdale this year should contact Hank or Vagel to confirm what we plan to do before each scheduled work session.
Historic architect John Bowie has completed nearly all work on three sheets of his drawings documenting the EBT's enclosed water tank at Coles Station. He is now working on two sheets of drawings devoted to construction details of the water tank. FEBT has received permission from Kalmbach Publishing Company and the John Maxwell Collection to incorporate copyrighted images in the measured drawings of the Coles Station water tank. Completion of all work on this project is anticipated within the next few months.
We remind FEBT members that continued progress on these and our other restoration projects depends on the ongoing financial support you provide. Please send restoration donations to us at the following address
Friends of the East Broad Top
Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206–4447
At the end of December all current FEBT members were mailed the summer 2006 issue of the Timber Transfer (volume 23 no. 1 ) The next issue, fall 2006 (volume 23 no. 2), will contain coverage of last year's FEBT fall reunion and EBT fall spectacular. It is now expected to be mailed in March. FEBT members who experience problems with missing or damaged \ issues of the Timber Transfer should contact Peter A. Clarke at the FEBT membership office by telephone at (301) 482–1136, by e–mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to the return address on the last page of this newsletter
Several FEBT members are assisting our outreach campaign by distributing information about the East Broad Top Railroad and FEBT at recent or upcoming train shows.
In December FEBT webmaster Christopher D. Coleman and Patricia J. Coleman again set up an FEBT display table at the Buckeye Railroad and Model Train Show and Sale in Columbus, Ohio. In January FEBT member James A. Vliet organized displays and distributed FEBT and EBT information at the Great South Bay Model Railroad Club's Winter Train Show in Freeport, New York, and the Amherst Railway Society's Big Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts. FEBT members Leighton B. Carlson and Jon E. Radder again helped Jim with the West Springfield show. In addition to the publicity and sales income generated for FEBT at this show, our participation makes FEBT eligible for preservation grants the Amherst Railway Society will award later this year. In both 2005 and 2006, FEBT received grants of $1,000 from ARS to support our documentation of the EBT's water tank at Coles Station. Jim is planning to set up a display table the Spring Thaw Train Meet in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on February 24–25. FEBT members interested in helping Jim at this show can contact him by telephone at (516) 771–1038 (home) or by e–mail at email@example.com.
This summer the National Model Railroader Association's 2007 national convention will be held in Detroit on July 22–28. The 2007 National Narrow Gauge Convention will be held in Portland, Maine, on August 29–September 1. FEBT members interested in the possibility of setting up FEBT display tables at either of these conventions should contact FEBT outreach coordinator Dennis R. Straub, whose telephone number and e–mail address are given below, so that we can reserve space at one or both of these events.
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. FEBT members wishing to obtain EBT and FEBT literature should contact FEBT outreach coordinator Dennis Straub by telephone at (717) 249–4239 or by e–mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, providing as much advance notice as possible.