On May 8 the formation of a new not-for-profit owner for the historic East Broad Top Railroad was announced in Rockhill Furnace. Larry Salone, president of the East Broad Top Railroad Preservation Association, explained that the new 501(c)3 corporation had been organized to purchase the East Broad Top Railroad from the Kovalchick family of Indiana, Pennsylvania. The goal of the Preservation Association is the long-term preservation of the EBT; short-term goals include maintaining operations, improving visitor amenities, and developing a plan for rehabilitating and restoring the railroad’s historic equipment and shop complex. When completed, the purchase will incorporate the EBT right of way from Mount Union to Robertsdale; all locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment; and other EBT assets like the railroad’s herald. While in his public remarks Mr. Salone underscored the importance of the EBT to the economic future of southern Huntingdon County, he noted that a childhood visit to the EBT in 1964 had led to his lifetime interest as a railfan in both the EBT and railroading in general.
According to Joseph Kovalchick, president and owner of the East Broad Top Railroad & Coal Co., the terms of the lease-purchase agreement executed on April 20 involve a three-year lease of the railroad property and assets. During this period the Preservation Association will raise the funds to complete its purchase of the railroad. (The purchase price is part of the agreement between the Preservation Association and the EBT.) The Preservation Association has assumed immediate responsibility for management of the railroad and its operations. While Mr. Kovalchick has agreed to serve as one of the directors on the new nonprofit corporation, he emphasizes that he will play no management or operational role in the Preservation Association.
Long-time EBT general manager Stanley G. Hall will continue in his position, as will all current EBT operating employees. Train operations and ticket prices are unchanged, although new tickets are now being printed. Mr. Salone noted that one of his tasks is to increase operating revenue to support the railroad’s operations and development, since income from the surrounding property—retained by the Kovalchick family—will no longer be available to offset deficits from railroad operations. Improvements to the EBT gift shop and its inventory are now under way, and plans to improve other aspects of the visitor experience are in the works. Mr. Salone stressed that he saw his immediate job as generating more publicity for the railroad, both to stimulate more visitors to the EBT and to enhance public support for the railroad’s preservation. He also stated that he hoped to secure the funds needed to complete the purchase of the railroad as soon as possible, and he planned to seek grants and other private and public financial support for critical work—like returning a second steam locomotive to operation—required to sustain operating and preservation efforts.
Mr. Salone, a member of FEBT since the early 1990s, is businessman and entrepreneur active in central Pennsylvania. A mechanical engineering graduate of Pennsylvania State University, he is an owner or investor in several engineering/fabrication companies and several restaurants. In 2007 he assumed management of the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum and Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site. Mr. Salone indicated that he will draw no compensation for his work at the EBT.
FEBT is not a party to the agreement between the EBT and the Preservation Association, but both Mr. Salone and Mr. Kovalchick stressed that they were counting on Friends of the East Broad Top to play a key part in the future of the EBT. Mr. Salone has already met with FEBT restoration volunteers at Rockhill Furnace, where he emphasized the importance he placed on working constructively with FEBT to support both train operations and restoration efforts focused on historic equipment and structures.
Despite the changes now under way at the East Broad Top Railroad, general manager Stanley G. Hall advises us that the railroad’s operating schedule in 2009 will be the same as in recent years. EBT trains will run Saturdays and Sundays only, starting on June 6 and continuing through October 25. The train schedule each day will also be the same, with trains leaving Orbisonia Station at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. EBT 2-8-2 locomotive no. 15 will again handle steam-powered trains this year. Ticket prices also remained unchanged: standard fares for adults and children are $12.00 and $8.00 respectively. Caboose seats are $14.00, while seats in the private car "Orbisonia" are $15.00. Special fares will apply during special events, which this year include Community Appreciation Day on August 15 and the Fall Spectacular on October 9-11.
For up-to-date information about train tickets, schedules, and group rates, please contact the railroad directly at the following address:
East Broad Top Railroad
PO Box 158
Rockhill Furnace, PA 17249
Telephone: (814) 447-3011
FAX: (814) 447-3256
Current information about EBT operations and special events can also be found on the EBT’s web site www.ebtrr.com or on the Friend of the East Broad Top web site.
For more information contact
Lee Rainey at
(814) 867–7878 (home),
(814) 404–3968 (cell), or
subject to change at short notice due to
weather or availability of volunteers
For more information contact Hank Inman at (804) 353–0817 or Vagel Keller at (412) 441–7881 or email@example.com
Join us in Rockhill Furnace and Robertsdale on Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, for our annual celebration marking the start of operations at the East Broad Top Railroad and FEBT Museum. This year’s event will feature historical architect and FEBT member John R. Bowie, who will discuss his documentation of the EBT’s station building at Saltillo and enclosed water tank at Coles Station for FEBT. John’s presentation is scheduled for 7:30 pm, during the reception at our museum on Saturday evening.
As in past years FEBT volunteers will offer guided tours inside the railroad’s Rockhill Furnace machine shop and guided walking tours around the Rockhill Furnace yard. All tours will be open to the general public as well as to FEBT members. In Robertsdale the FEBT Museum will be open on both days. FEBT restoration volunteers will be working at both Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace during the weekend, so visitors will be able to discuss the progress of our restoration program with our volunteers while they work.
On each day the EBT will operate its usual three-train schedule, and normal ticket prices apply. Tickets for the guided tours inside the machine shop are $8.00 per person. However, by obtaining a complimentary name badge at the FEBT information booth, FEBT members can purchase train and shop-tour tickets at special discounted prices. There is no registration fee for the 2009 FEBT Summer Celebration; FEBT members should just visit the FEBT information booth (near the Rockhill Furnace roundhouse) on Saturday or Sunday to obtain their complimentary name badges.
The April meeting of the FEBT board of directors marked the retirement of Robert R. Farquharson as one of our directors. Last fall Bob indicated that changing professional and personal commitments would prevent his continued service on our board. One of FEBT’s earliest members, Bob has been a member of our board since 1999, serving terms as vice president and secretary. Despite commuting to Huntingdon County from North Carolina, Bob has worked as a restoration volunteer at both Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace and assisted us at numerous fall reunions. In 2002 Bob flew to Colorado and, as our agent, purchased former East Broad Top Railroad passenger cars nos. 18 and 29. Bob has also been a regular and generous contributor to our restoration fund.
Although Bob is stepping down as one of our directors,
he assures us that he is committed to remaining active
in FEBT programs and initiatives. I know all FEBT members
join me in thanking Bob for his service on our board of
directors and his many contributions to Friends of the East
–Hank Inman, FEBT president<
Editor Kevin C. Strong tells us that the next issue of The Timber Transfer (volume 24 no. 4) will be in our printer’s hands by the end of May. Thus if no complications arise, this issue should be in the mail to FEBT members in early June. The fall 2007 and winter 2008 issues of The Timber Transfer (volume 24 nos. 2 and 3) were mailed at the end of January. FEBT members who experience problems with missing or damaged issues of The Timber Transfer should contact:
FEBT Membership Office
c/o Peter A. Clarke
10428 Carlyn Ridge Road
Damascus, MD 20872
Richard M. Ullery, manager of our mail-order sales operations, informs us that he has obtained small quantities of two East Broad Top Railroad kits previously sold by the FEBT Company Store. The C&BT Shops HOn3 EBT steel three-bay hopper car kit consists of an injection-molded plastic car body and detail parts, engineering-plastic truck frames, wheelsets, and lettering; each kit produces one HO model of the EBT’s most modern hopper cars. The C&BT Shops On3 EBT Vulcan truck kit contains engineering-plastic frame components and metal-rimmed wheels molded on needle-pointed half-axles; each kit produces one pair of On3 EBT cast-steel trucks.
Both kits were extremely popular with EBT modelers but have been difficult to obtain in recently years. Future availability may be limited by inventory at C&BT Shops, but we intend to keep these items in stock while supplies last. Dick indicates that prices for the two C&BT Shops kits will be announced in a future FEBT mailing, but in the meantime interested customers can inquire directly to
FEBT Company Store
c/o Richard Ullery
PO Box 145
Leetsdale, PA 15056
Telephone: (412) 259–8020
In 2009 the FEBT Museum will be open on the first and third weekends of each month, May through October. Regular museum operating hours are 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and 1 to 5 pm on Sundays; the museum will be open special hours during 2009 FEBT and EBT events. FEBT assistant vice president Vagel C. Keller, who coordinates our museum operations, reminds FEBT members that volunteers interested in helping us at Robertsdale are always needed. If you think you would like to join us there, contact Vagel directly:
Vagel C. Keller
FEBT Assistant Vice President, Museum Operations
PO Box 5130
Pittsburgh PA 15260-0130
Telephone: (412) 441–7881
Publication of this newsletter was delayed for approximately two weeks so that we could include the announcement of the East Broad Top Railroad Preservation Association. We apologize to FEBT members for the resulting shortened advance notice for our 2009 summer celebration on June 6-7.
On April 4 the official tabulation of votes compiled by election judge Lee R. Wilson was presented to the FEBT board of directors during its first meeting of 2009. Elected to two-year terms as directors (votes received in parentheses) were Henry F. Inman (99), William L. Adams (93), Vagel C. Keller (83), and Dennis R. Straub (82). Lawrence Biemiller and Robert L. Goldby received 43 and 39 votes respectively. The following individuals received one write-in vote each: Stanley G. Hall, Nancy E. Jacqmin, Philip J. Padgett, and Michael J. Swinnerton. Lee Wilson based his tabulation on the 107 valid ballots he received as of the March 30 deadline for the 2009 election of directors.
The four elected directors will serve until their successors are elected in early 2011; they join continuing directors William R. Blomgren, Thomas A. Diehl, Jr., Stephen W. Jacobs, R. Lee Rainey, and Richard D. Shell, whose current terms will end in 2010.
The board of directors wishes to thank FEBT members Robert R. Farquharson (chairman), William E. Grant, Jr., and Richard M. Ullery for serving as the nominating committee for this election, and Lee R. Wilson for again acting as election judge.
As a matter of record, contact information is published here for all FEBT directors; residential (evening) telephone numbers are listed.
|William L. Adams||109 Onondaga Drive, Forest Heights MD 20745||(301) 567–firstname.lastname@example.org|
|William R. Blomgren||13816 Queenswater Lane, Charlotte NC 28273||(704) 587–email@example.com|
|Thomas A. Diehl, Jr.||RR 7 Box 7678, Stroudsburg PA 18360||(570) 421–firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Henry F. Inman||2016 A Park Avenue, Richmond VA 23220||(804) 353–0817|
|Stephen W. Jacobs||33 Pennwick Drive, Lititz PA 17543||(717) 627–4121|
|Vagel C. Keller||P.O. Box 5130, Pittsburgh PA 15206||(412) 441–email@example.com|
|R. Lee Rainey||784 Tanager Drive, State College PA 16803||(814) 867–firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Richard D. Shell||516 Houston Mines Road, Troutville VA 24175||(540) 992–email@example.com|
|Dennis R. Straub||722 Alexander Spring Road, Carlisle PA 17013||(717) 249–firstname.lastname@example.org|
Up–to–date contact information for FEBT officers and directors is also posted on the FEBT web site www.febt.org.
During its April meeting the board elected corporate officers for the coming year; these officers are Henry F. Inman, president; R. Lee Rainey, vice president; William L. Adams, secretary; and William T. Wheeler, treasurer. (Our bylaws do not require the treasurer to be a member of the board, and Bill has served as our treasurer since FEBT was founded.)
The board also scheduled its remaining meetings for the year. Meetings will be held on June 5, August 14, and November 7. FEBT members interested in attending a meeting of the board should contact FEBT secretary Bill Adams in advance to confirm the time and place of the meeting.
Directors approved a 2009 budget for operating expenditures that generally continues 2008 spending levels, but allows for greater publication expenses and increases in postage, insurance, and other routine expenses. As FEBT president Hank Inman noted, expenditures for publications in 2009 should be higher than last year, since only two issues of The Timber Transfer were mailed in 2008. Production of more issues of our magazine in 2009, together with higher postage rates, will raise costs incurred for FEBT publications during the current year. (The operating budget does not include restoration program and fund-raising expenses, which the board of directors treats separately.) Directors also amended the restoration budget adopted in December, transferring $7,200.00 unneeded for 2009 restoration work at Rockhill Furnace to the reproduction truck project and authorizing temporarily borrowing addition funds from our contingency account required to complete contracted work on the wood-frame passenger trucks this year.
In addition to approving the budget for 2009 operations, directors also reviewed our fund-raising plans, considered further establishing a separate endowment fund, discussed changes in FEBT fall reunions, and agreed to engage Carol A. Schreckengaust, CPA, to provide accounting services required for our 2008 accounting review and related returns.
On February 17 Darrell Lee Denton was sentenced on two separate charges of theft in Huntingdon County Court. In December Mr. Denton had entered no contest pleas to two third-degree felony counts related to the theft of rail from the East Broad Top Railroad's right of way between Cooks and Robertsdale. On the charge of theft by taking, he was sentenced to 12 to 36 months in state prison and ordered to make $44,000.00 in restitution to the EBT. On the charge of theft by deception, Mr. Denton received a sentence of nine to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $10,475.22 in restitution.
According to reports published in The Broad Top Bulletin, Mr. Denton used a forged contract to convince local residents and a Lewistown salvage dealer that he had removed the rail from the EBT legitimately. Evidence provided to the court by the Pennsylvania State Police, who investigated the theft, indicate that Mr. Denton used an internet template to create the false contract, which contained "numerous spelling, content, and location errors, and cited the 'laws of Nebraska.'" According to police, the value of the stolen rail was $77,000.00, with another $44,000.00 in damage caused to EBT property.
At the end of March the public defender acting for Mr. Denton filed a post-sentencing motion requesting a reduction in Mr. Denton’s sentences, based on his eligibility for a program for first-time offenders. If confirmed by the court, Mr. Denton could be released from prison six months early.
As reported last year, longtime FEBT member Douglas C. Taylor, noted for modeling the East Broad Top Railroad in HO scale, has generously donated a large collection of O-scale EBT models to FEBT. These models will be sold at auction during our 2009 fall reunion. The auction will be held in the Orbisonia Lions Hall, starting at 8:30 pm, on Saturday, October 10. Proceeds from the sale of Doug’s models will be used to support the FEBT restoration program. The auction will be open to the public, to generate the maximum income possible.
An abbreviated list of the models to be sold includes the following items. Most are either factory painted or painted, lettered, and weathered by Doug.
Scratchbuilt models: One M-3 motor car and one caboose no. 27.
Imported brass models: one Hallmark 2-8-2 no. 14, one Hallmark 2-8-2 no. 15, one Sunset 2-8-2 painted and lettered no. 16, two unpainted Sunset 2-8-2s, one Hallmark M-1 gas-electric, one Flying Zoo M-3 motor car, two Overland cabooses nos. 27-28, two Precision Scale two-bay steel hopper cars, and one Carworks side-dump car.
Models assembled from kits: one BTS brass 2-8-2 no. 12, a prize-winning Marion steam-shovel (in display case), three Laconia coaches nos. 8, 10, and 11, one passenger-baggage combine no. 14, six steel two-bay hopper cars, 22 steel three-bay hopper cars, one steel box car no. 165, one wood box car no. 170, and three steel flat cars (one with load).
Unassembled kits: 33 Three-bay steel hopper cars, six two-bay steel hopper cars, six steel box cars ,four Whiteground shop buildings, one BTS Orbisonia station, and one BTS Saltillo station.
Additional information about these models, other items to be sold, and the auction is posted on the auction page of this website. Our 2009 FEBT Fall Reunion will be held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 9-11. An announcement for this event will be mailed to all FEBT members in the August FEBT Newsletter.