For the past several months the two contractors performing the primary work required to complete our long-delayed rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office have been at work. According to FEBT president Henry F. Inman, we had hoped contracted work would begin in September, but a last minute wrinkle involving the building permit arose to create another delay. Fortunately Kirby D. Lockhart, chairman of the Wood Township board of supervisors, helped us resolve this minor difficulty, and soon thereafter Rex A Smith, our general contractor, had the necessary permit in hand. He and FEBT member Charles A. Wootton, our electrical contractor, were able to start their work on the old post office in early October.
As of the end of December, our general contractor has completed all demolition, concrete, and masonry work. He has also finished the exterior work on the rear addition we are converting to serve as a public toilet. Replacement insulation has been inserted under the ground floor; the rough plumbing is in progress; and relocation of a ventilation duct and furnace exhaust pipe is nearly completed. Our electrical contractor planned to have the rough wiring in place for inspection by the end of December. Contracted work yet to be done includes the final plumbing, final electrical work and lighting, repairs to the original plaster walls, and installation of an emergency exit ladder. Hank’s current estimate for the total cost of the contracted work now underway is $56,351.67, of which $30,177.17 has been paid. Later this year we plan to contract for installation of the alarm system and new exterior doors with appropriate hardware.
FEBT volunteers will tackle all remaining interior finish work, including the installation of ceilings, wallboard, wainscoting, trim, and all painting. A 2008 work schedule for Robertsdale will be published in the next newsletter, but Hank indicates he plans to organize some work sessions in January and February, depending on the progress of our contractors. FEBT members interested in working at Robertsdale can contact Hank by telephone at (804) 353-0817.
FEBT vice president R. Lee Rainey reports another successful season of restoration work at Rockhill Furnace last year. During the final 2007 work session, on November 10-11, our volunteers continued to advance their work on our rehabilitation of EBT hopper car no. 802, the conversion of box car no. 168 to tourist train service, the stabilization of the foundry building, further window and exterior wall repairs to the boiler shop wing of the main shop building, and rehabilitation of the small wood garage near the sand house.
According to Lee, our plans for restoration work in 2008 include additional improvements to our restoration facility in the Rockhill Furnace paint shop; completion of work on the hopper car, box car, and garage projects; continuation of ongoing work on EBT passenger car no. 14, the main shop building, and the cribbing retaining wall along Jordan Creek. Work on brush clearance and other projects will also resume. A 2008 work schedule for Rockhill Furnace will be published in the next newsletter, but Lee has organized some work sessions in January and February. FEBT members interested in working as Rockhill Furnace restoration volunteers can contact Lee by telephone at (814) 867-7878 (home) or (814) 404-3968 (cell) or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Historic architect John R. Bowie has indicated that he will soon send us draft versions of the five sheets of measured drawings he is producing to document the EBT’s last surviving enclosed water tank. After any needed corrections are made, John will turn over to FEBT the final measured drawings, large-format black-and-white photographs, photo captions, and field notes, completing his work for us on this project. Copies of these materials will be retained by FEBT, and we will transfer John’s original drawings, photo negatives, captions, and field notes to the National Park Service for incorporation with other EBT material in the Historic American Engineering Record.
At its November meeting our board of directors approved the budget for our restoration program during the coming year. Unlike previous restoration budgets, the 2008 authorizations for work at Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace are conditional, contingent on the donations we receive during the final year of our restoration fundraising campaign. FEBT directors approved a budget of $13,000.00 for restoration work at Rockhill Furnace during the first half of 2008; the additional $3,600.00 Lee Rainey requested will be authorized if the response to our fundraising appeal proves successful. Lee’s proposed Rockhill Furnace restoration budget incorporates $6,360.00 for the purchase of tools and equipment and $1,000.00 for FEBT restoration facility improvements. In addition to carrying forward the unpaid obligations to our contractors for work now in progress on our rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office, our board allocated an additional $12,000.00 to this project for the first half of 2008. Hank Inman estimates that an additional $5,000.00 to $8,000.00 will be needed to complete work on the post office, and some or all of these additional resources may be authorized in June, depending once again on the restoration funds available at that time.
In addition to carrying forward our current obligation to John R. Bowie for the architectural services he is providing, FEBT directors allocated $250.00 for 2008 costs of our documentation of the Coles Station water tank. Another $500.00 was budgeted for routine maintenance on the Robertsdale station building. The board also agreed to apply unspent portions of 2007 allocations for work on our reproduction truck project, museum display panels, and digital archive project for work in 2008. Of these latter projects, the $40,000.00 authorized in 2007 for contracted work on our reproduction passenger truck project at the Strasburg Rail Road is the most significant.
Because of the uncertainties about the donations FEBT will receive this year to support our restoration program, our directors will closely review restoration expenditures at their March and June meetings. Depending on the response to the final year of our restoration fundraising campaign, we can then either fund all work planned for 2008 at Rockhill Furnace and Robertsdale through supplemental budget authorizations or scale back our work at these locations if the resources we anticipate are not in fact available.
FEBT Company Store manager Richard M. Ullery reports that several items first offered for sale at the 2007 FEBT fall reunion are still available in limited quantities.
Two of these items are featured on the insert included with this newsletter. We still have in stock the FEBT embroidered baseball-style caps produced especially for our 2007 fall reunion. These black caps feature a silver FEBT M-1-style logo on the front and "25th Fall Reunion" on the back. Sets of four ceramic cup-style mugs designed by FEBT member James Sucke to celebrate our 25th anniversary were also introduced at our 2007 fall reunion. Each of the four cups in each set features an EBT train crew-man: engineer, fireman, brakeman, and conductor. Jim has agreed to custom produce up to 100 sets of these cups, based on orders placed with the FEBT Company Store. Refer to the insert for prices and more information.
Also available in extremely limited quantities are three kits for EBT buildings produced by FEBT director William L. Adams. With these kits modelers can construct HO scale replicas of the Robertsdale station ($39.95), Wrays Hill tunnel watchman’s shanty ($10.00), and Rockhill Furnace garage ($15.00) from full-color printed paper components and cast details (where appropriate). FEBT members should remember to deduct the 15% member’s discount from these prices. A shipping charge of $4.00 applies for each mail order, up to two items; please add $1.00 for each additional item. Pennsylvania residents must also include 6% state sales tax (calculated from the total cost of merchandise plus shipping charge).
All orders and inquiries related to the Company Store should be communicated to
FEBT Company Store
c/o Richard Ullery
PO Box 145
Leetsdale, PA 15056
Telephone: (412) 259–8020
Dick Ullery notes that a revised catalog of drawings, plans, books, tapes and DVDs, photographs, modeling supplies, back issues of The Timber Transfer, and other products currently available should be ready soon. With assistance from FEBT member John P.H. Morgan, work on an on-line version of the catalog for the FEBT web site is also underway. In the meantime, some merchandise can be found on the FEBT Company Store’s eBay store site.
At the beginning of October all current FEBT members were mailed the winter 2007 issue of The Timber Transfer (volume 23 no. 3). Editor Kevin C. Strong had hoped to have the next two issues, to be mailed together, at our printer before the end of December. The onset of the holidays has delayed this plan, however, so these issues of our magazine will not be published until January or February. 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.
A week before the 2007 FEBT fall reunion, our East Broad Top Railroad handcar, which spent most of the year undergoing repairs at our Rockhill Furnace restoration facility, returned to the FEBT Museum in Robertsdale. During its repairs several damaged or broken wood components were replaced and repairs made to the handcar’s journals. In October the handcar was on display—along with one of our new museum display panels—during the FEBT Museum’s 2007 fall open house.
FEBT assistant vice president Vagel C. Keller, who coordinates our museum operations, reminds FEBT members that in 2008 we plan to open the FEBT Museum on the first and third weekends of each month, May through October. New museum operating volunteers to help us at Robertsdale are always needed. If you think you would like to join us there, contact Vagel directly by telephone at (412) 441-7881 or by e-mail at email@example.com
Last year FEBT membership coordinator Peter A. Clarke stepped into the vacancy created by FEBT webmaster Christopher D. Coleman’s "retirement" as organizer of our annual spring explorations of the East Broad Top Railroad. We now need someone to follow Pete’s example to organize and coordinate our 2008 spring event. Are you interested in helping us organize this event, usually held in March or early April, or do you want to suggest possible ideas for this year’s FEBT "Early Bird" Exploration? If so, then please contact Dennis R. Straub, who as coordinator of our outreach programs is now responsible for supervising our events. Dennis can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (717) 249-4239 (home).
Note that plans for our 2008 spring event must be far enough along by the end of January to be announced in the newsletter mailed to FEBT members in early February.
In October approximately 102 FEBT members and their guests enjoyed the 2007 FEBT fall reunion as registered participants. In addition to the attractions at the East Broad Top Railroad, reunion registrants had plenty of FEBT activities to choose from, including tours, restoration and modeling clinics, auction, our museum’s fall open house, and our annual reunion dinner. Complete coverage of the 2007 fall reunion and the EBT’s fall spectacular will appear in The Timber Transfer.
As part of a review of our fall reunions by our board of directors, we distributed questionnaires designed by FEBT vice president R. Lee Rainey to registered participants at the 2007 fall reunion. We will also distribute a version of this questionnaire to all FEBT members with the next mailing of The Timber Transfer. Your cooperation with this initiative will be appreciated, as our directors continue their discussions this year of possible changes in future fall reunions.
The nominating committee for the 2008 election asks FEBT members to submit the names of potential candidates for nomination and election as directors of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc. In the upcoming election, to be held in February and March, FEBT members will elect five of the nine members of the board of directors. The seats up for election are now occupied by William R. Blomgren, Thomas A. Diehl, Jr., R. Lee Rainey, Stephen W. Jacobs, and Wade N. Woodcock. The four remaining board positions not up for election during the current election cycle will be the subject of our 2009 election; William L. Adams, Robert R. Farquharson, Henry F. Inman, and Dennis R. Straub now hold these seats.
FEBT directors are responsible for the management and governance of Friends of the East Broad Top. The president, vice president, and secretary are elected annually by the Board from among its members. Among other duties, directors maintain oversight over the work of all FEBT officers and staff volunteers; develop and enforce policy guidelines for all operations and activities; direct the preparation and submission of reports required by applicable federal and state laws and regulations; set fundraising goals and support fundraising efforts; and determine budget priorities and spending limits.
Any individual FEBT member in good standing is eligible for nomination. The chairman and members of the nominating committee select the final slate of nominees presented to FEBT members for election as directors. (Individual members include regular, family, sustaining, associate, life, student, and senior FEBT members.) However, a member in good standing may also qualify for automatic inclusion in the final slate of nominees if he or she submits a nominating petition signed by 100 FEBT members in good standing.
The members of the nominating committee for the 2008 election cycle are Robert R. Farquharson (chairman), Nancy E. Jacqmin, and Ronald L. Pearson. One of FEBT’s earliest members, Bob has served as one of our directors since 2000. Since joining the board he has also served as vice president and secretary. Bob regularly volunteers to assist us at FEBT events and restoration sessions. Professionally Bob is an emergency medicine physician. Nancy Jacqmin has served as FEBT’s restoration fund treasurer since 2001; she is also a volunteer at the FEBT Museum. Nancy is an associate professor and director of the mathematics and engineering programs at Carlow University. An active EBT modeler, Ron Pearson joined FEBT in its first year of operation. He contributes regularly to The Timber Transfer. Ron holds a doctorate in organic chemistry and supervises research for a small corporation.
The names of potential nominees and nominating petitions should be submitted to
Robert R. Farquharson, Chairman
FEBT Nominating Committee
6707 Wakehurst Road
Charlotte NC 28226
Telephone: (704) 608-5996
The deadline for submitting names of potential candidates for nomination or nominating petitions to the nominating committee is January 31, 2008.
Nomination and election of directors are governed by the corporate bylaws of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc. FEBT members may obtain copies of the FEBT articles of incorporation and bylaws by sending a 58¢ stamped, self-addressed envelope to Bob Farquharson at the address stated above.
Unfortunately the special issue of the FEBT Newsletter announcing the formal beginning of the present year of our restoration campaign was mailed behind schedule, delaying the start of the critical last year of our fundraising effort. Ordinarily we get the announcement for each new year of the FEBT campaign into the mail to FEBT members by mid-November, matching the appearance of our advertisements in major railfan publications. However, the 2007/8 restoration newsletter was mailed only last month. We apologize for this delay.
Contributions to our campaign are particularly important this year, since we are counting on these donations to fully fund our 2008 restoration program budget. To achieve this goal, FEBT president Hank Inman estimates that we need to realize approximately $40,000 from donations during the coming year. Combined with the financial demands of our other restoration activities at Rockhill Furnace and elsewhere, the start of contracted work on two of our major restoration projects—the old Robertsdale post office and our reproduction passenger truck project—has resulted in a surge in our restoration expenditures. In addition, the donations we received during the sixth year of our campaign fell short of what we had hoped to obtain. For these reasons, the funds we now have on hand are not sufficient to pay for all of the restoration work we plan to accomplish in 2008.
Thus, more than ever, we remind FEBT members that continued progress on all of our restoration projects depends on the ongoing financial support you provide. Please send your restoration donations to us at the following address:
FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206-4447
As a token of our appreciation, contributors who make donations of $50 or more before August 31, 2008, may choose to receive any one of the six authorized art reproductions we have produced for previous years of our fundraising campaign. Please refer to the announcement mailed to you with the 2007/8 restoration issue of the FEBT Newsletter or visit the donating page to see these six art reproductions. Eligible donors who elect to receive one of our art reproductions must remember to tell us which reproduction they want!
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. At the end of August Leighton B. Carlson, Dennis R. Straub, and Carol Straub organized an FEBT display at the 2007 National Narrow Gauge Convention in Portland, Maine. In December Christopher and Patricia Coleman set up their usual FEBT display table at the Buckeye Railroad and Model Train Show and Sale in Columbus, Ohio.
FEBT member James A. Vliet informs us he plans to organize displays and distribute FEBT and EBT information at the following train shows in early 2008: the 18th Annual Winter Train Show and Exhibition in Freeport, New York, on January 6; the Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on January 26-27; and the Spring Thaw Train Meet in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on February 23-24. FEBT members interested in helping Jim at one of more of these shows can contact him by telephone at (516) 771-1038 (home) or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Next summer the National Model Railroader Association’s 2008 national convention will be held in Anaheim. FEBT members in the Southern California area interested in the possibility of setting up a FEBT display table at the convention and its associated train show on July 13-19 should contact FEBT outreach coordinator Dennis Straub, whose telephone number and e-mail address are given below, so that we can reserve space at this event.
FEBT has not yet reserved space at the 2008 National Narrow Gauge Convention, which will be held in Portland, Oregon, on September 10-13. FEBT members who plan to attend this convention and are interested in helping us with a display table should contact Dennis Straub as soon as possible, so we can make the necessary arrangements.
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 outreach coordinator Dennis R. Straub by telephone at (717) 249-4239 (home) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, providing as much advance notice as possible.