Friends of the East Broad Top
A nonprofit society dedicated to the preservation and restoration
of the East Broad Top Railroad National Historic Landmark

Restoration advances at Rockhill Furnace, Robertsdale

In 2011 FEBT volunteers continued to move forward on our restoration work at Rockhill Furnace and Robertsdale. Here's a brief summary of what we've accomplished.

One of the projects now underway in Rockhill Furnace is our restoration of East Broad Top Railroad combination baggage-passenger car no. 14. Last year our volunteers repaired the end platforms and installed new end beams, repaired the wood side sills, and realigned the combine's framework. This year we started installing hidden reinforcement for the car sidles and roof. The combine's bolsters and underframe were also repaired. New sheathing for the combine's roof, floor, and sides will follow.

Up on the roof
FEBT volunteer Jim Bacon (right) supervises repairs underway on the final section of the roof of the East Broad Top Railroad's shop boiler house.
William L. Adams photo

Work also continued at opposite ends of the EBT's main shop building. At the north end, we completed the final repairs to the roof over the shop boilers. At the south end FEBT volunteers resumed repairs to the exterior of the west wall of the locomotive shop; this work involved repairs to windows and board-and-batten sheathing. Exterior repairs also continued at the nearby sand house. At the south end of the Rockhill Furnace yard, FEBT volunteers restored one of the metal chutes on the concrete locomotive coal bunker to operation. A second chute will be returned to operating condition, but the third chute will only be cosmetically restored. Earlier in the year, we repaired wind-damaged roofs on several Rockhill Furnace buildings, including the lumber storage shed. FEBT volunteers also handled repairs to yard and service tracks to improve the safety of current train operations and provide better access to storage tracks. Brush clearance and other maintenance also continued.

Inside the main shop building our volunteers built upon their earlier success in returning the main shop steam engine to operation (with compressed air) to restore a section of the shop's overhead belt, shaft, and pulley power system. The restored section links the large wheel lathe to the shop powerplant, and demonstrations of the belt-powered lathe were conducted during the EBT's 2011 Fall Spectacular.

In Robertsdale our focus concentrated on completing the rehabilitation of the old post office for museum use. Upstairs we painted the walls and floor. Downstairs we finished installing and painted the metal ceiling and decorative cornice. Upper wall sections were repaired and primed, and we started to apply wood wainscoting to the lower walls. Work on the interior trim around windows and doors also advanced. Further work on exterior doors, interior doors, trim, hardware, and paint will continue in 2012. Next year, after many delays, we should be in position for our electrical and alarm system contractors to complete their work.

Finally, in 2012 we plan to complete further work on the brake components needed for our wood-frame passenger trucks and the display panels we are constructing for our museum.

Next year is clearly going to be one of our most ambitious.

Up on the roof

This summer our volunteers completed repairs to the final section of the roof over the boilers that once powered the East Broad Top Railroad's Rockhill Furnace shop complex. These repairs required replacing deteriorated roof sheathing and rafters and inserting new metal roofing material around the two smokestacks.

New chutes for EBT Loco coal bunker

repairing the wall
This view shows the three metal chutes on the locomotive coal bunker at the south end of the Rockhill Furnace yard. The chute on the right has been restored; restoration of the chute on the left is next. While the two restored chutes will be fully functional, only cosmetic repairs are planned for the center chute.
William L. Adams photo

Repairs to the coal bunker at the south end of the EBT's Rockhill Furnace yard started in 2009, when FEBT volunteers fabricated and installed replacement wood doors. Work on the roof continued in 2010, and this year saw the restoration of the south chute. Similar work on the north chute will follow, allowing EBT engine crews to again load coal from the bunker into the tenders of the railroad's steam locomotives.

Progress on locomotive shop repairs

This year FEBT volunteers completed repairs to the posts supporting the west wall of the south wing (the locomotive shop) of the East Broad Top Railroad's main shop complex. These repairs in turn allowed work to resume on the exterior of the building, including repairs to the windows and board-and-batten siding. In 2012 our work will continue on the south and east sides of this building.

How we pay for our restoration program

repairing the wall
FEBT volunteer Barbara L Morgan pauses while working on repairs to the lower wall on the west side of the locomotive shop in Rockhill Furnace.
William L. Adams photo

Our 2012 projected restoration budget is approximately $60,000, which includes $39,000 in present commitments and allocations to current projects carried forward from 2011. This budget will be adjusted up or down to reflect changing project requirements and actual funds available. 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.


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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