Friends of the East Broad Top
A nonprofit society dedicated to the preservation and restoration
of the East Broad Top Railroad National Historic Landmark
Roof work
FEBT volunteers work on the roof of the sand tower at Rockhill Furnace
William L. Adams photo


Contractor finishes work at FEBT Museum

In June Rex A. Smith, our general contractor, completed his portion of the contracted work for the final phase of our rehabilitation of the old Robertsdale post office. The work just completed includes the rubber-tile floor in the new public bathroom in the former rear addition, cabinets, and all plumbing and bathroom fixtures. Previously our contractor relocated a ventilation duct, repaired plaster on the inside faces of the block walls, reconstructed the first-floor rear addition, installed insulation under the first floor and an emergency second-floor escape ladder, and performed exterior concrete and masonry work. Our electrical contractor, FEBT member Charles A. Wootton, completed all rough electrical and telephone wiring last year; final electrical and lighting work will be addressed as our volunteers finish the ceilings and walls.

FEBT volunteers are handling the bulk of the remaining work. So far we have installed additional insulation, installed tongue-and-groove wood ceilings in all but the two main first floor rooms, covered the partition walls (except for wainscoting), painted new exterior trim, and started preparing and painting the ceilings and walls. Later this year we will begin installing metal ceilings in the two main ground-floor rooms; preparing and installing the wood wainscoting; and reinstalling, repairing, and painting all interior trim. We plan to obtain custom-fabricated wood doors for the exterior and the new public bathroom. (The new exterior doors will match the building's original doors and replace salvage doors we installed as an interim measure 12 years ago.) We have engaged a contractor to install the alarm system panel and components when all other work has been completed. Meanwhile our volunteers have installed the alarm system wiring and boxes, based on our alarm contractor's design.

Coles Tank
Right A cross-section view of the Coles Station water tank much reduced in size, from John R. Bowie's preliminary drawings.

Assuming the necessary funding is available, we now expect to complete work by the end of this year or early in 2010. All work is based on plans and specifications developed by historical architect John R. Bowie and meets the US Secretary of Interior's standards for rehabilitation of historic structures.

This phase of our rehabilitation of the old post office started in 2006 and completes a project that began in 1995. In earlier work we focused on the building's exterior, its structural integrity, and heating and air-conditioning systems. Like the work now under way, the earlier work was handled by a combination of contractors and FEBT volunteers.

When current work is completed, the old post office will become our primary museum building at Robertsdale, providing space on the ground floor for exhibits and our museum shop. Upstairs we will have space to organize and store our collections, making them more accessible to FEBT members and others with an interest in the East Broad Top Railroad.

Roof repairs (and more) at Rockhill Furnace

Repairing the roofs of several buildings at the East Broad Top Railroad's historic Rockhill Furnace shop complex is one of the tasks our volunteers are addressing in their 2009 restoration work. Work on the windows, walls, and floors of the main shop building continues. Inside the boiler room, successful repairs to the roof framing has allowed the removal of "temporary" cribbing installed 20 years ago. In our car restoration facility work has started on repairs to the wood frame and end platforms of EBT combine no. 14. We also plan to rehabilitate the doors into the locomotive coaling tipple and undertake further repairs at the locomotive sand tower and bin.

EBT water tank project completed

In May, historical architect John R. Bowie completed his work on five sheets of measured drawings, part of our documentation of the East Broad Top Railroad's last enclosed water tank at Coles Station. Later this year, we will transmit these drawings, together with large-format photographs, photo captions, and field notes, to the US National Park Service, where they will join other EBT materials in the Historic American Engineering Record in the Library of Congress. Grants from the Society for Industrial Archeology and the Amherst Railway Society helped underwrite this project.

Reproduction truck work
FEBT volunteers David G. Dietz, Andrew H. Van Scyoc, Stephen W. Jacobs, and Charles A. Wootton (left to right) with one of the trucks from EBT coach no. 5.
William L. Adams photo

Reproduction truck work at Strasburg

Work on our reproduction passenger trucks is rapidly advancing; we anticipate that contracted work will be finished within the next several months. The Strasburg Rail Road is performing machine-work and assembling our two wood-frame passenger trucks, reproductions of original trucks from former East Broad Top Railroad coach no. 5. The new trucks are intended for the restoration of EBT combine no. 16, now stored at the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. After several extensions, FEBT will return the leased original trucks from coach no. 5 to the Tweetsie Railroad, the coach's present owner.

How we pay for our restoration program

Although the formal fund-raising campaign we started in 2001 ended last December, the need for financial support for our restoration program has not. Our 2009 restoration budget is $79,605.62, including present commitments and allocations to current projects. This budget will be adjusted up or down to reflect the actual funds available during the second half of 2009. Donations from individuals provide the primary financial support for our restoration program. Please help us by sending your tax-deductible donation to this address:

FEBT Restoration Fund Treasurer
513 Shady Avenue, No. 12
Pittsburgh PA 15206-4447

All donors will receive written acknowledgements for contributions to our restoration fund. EBT herald

#14 truck
One of the trucks from Combine no. 14 is moved out of the paintshop for rebuilding.
William L. Adams photo
shop engine
FEBT Volunteer Dave Richards cleans and lubricates the just-uncovered stationary engine of the EBT shops.
William L. Adams photo
Robertsdale trackwork
FEBT volunteers are installing ties on the track at Robertsdale..
William L. Adams photo
Repairing the boiler shop floor
Two FEBT volunteers replace rotted sills and floor planking in the boiler shop.
William L. Adams photo
Painting the garage
FEBT volunteers paint the recently restored Rockhill Furnace garage.
William L. Adams photo
coating the roof
Recoating the Rockhill Furnace shop roofs keeps out the water and helps to protect the priceless collection of turn-of-the-nineteenth century machinery inside.
William L. Adams photo
coal bin work
A new retaining wall at the coaling station replaces the long-gone original and will keep the hillside from burying the tracks.
William L. Adams photo

This newsletter is a publication of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc., a nonprofit educational and historical society dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the East Broad Top Railroad, a US National Historic Landmark located in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Effective January 1, 2009, FEBT regular membership costs $35.00 per twelve months; other memberships are available. For more information please consult the FEBT web site at 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

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