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

FEBT restoration work advances

In February and March FEBT volunteers took advantage of generally mild winter weather to continue our progress on ongoing restoration work at Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace.

At Robertsdale, several of our regular volunteers spent parts of two additional weekends, in addition to scheduled work sessions, to complete installation of the wood wainscoting in both of the main rooms on the ground floor of the old post office. Work on the interior trim around the windows has also been completed, and similar trim around the exterior doorways is now under way. We have started to apply the finish paint to the first-floor interior walls and stairwell. Painting will continue while we continue to install trim and baseboards on the first floor and quarter-round molding on the second floor. We have found the final two salvage doors needed to complete work on the interior of the building; we plan to order the custom fabricated wood exterior doors within the next month or so. Our contractors will be able to install the last lighting fixtures and alarm-system components after the conclusion of this work.

2012 Rockhill Furnace Work Schedule

June 23-24
July 14-15
August 4-5
August 25-26
September 22-23
November 10-11

January 14-15
February 18-19
March 10-11
April 21-22
May 19-20
June 2-3

Tentative work week May 21-25. For more information contact:

FEBT Rockhill Work Crew Coordinator
R. Lee Rainey
784 Tanager Drive
State College, PA 16803-2502
Telephone: (814) 867–7878 (evenings)

2012 Robertsdale Work Schedule

July 7-8
July 21-22
August 4-5
August 18-19
September 1-2
September 15-16
October 20-21
November 3-4
January 21-22*
February 25-26*
March 17-18*
April 14-15
May 5-6
May 19-20
June 2-3
June 116-17
*Tentative dates subject to change at short notice due to weather or availability of volunteers. For more information contact:

FEBT Robertsdale Work Crew Coordinator
Hank Inman
2016 A Park Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220
Telephone: (804) 353–0817

As we near completion of the building's interior, our Robertsdale volunteers will devote some of their attention to several items of exterior repair and maintenance. The vent from the public bathroom will be rerouted, glazing compound around the wood-frame storm windows will be repaired, and we will touch up paint on the windows and exterior trim.

At Rockhill Furnace our restoration of EBT combination baggage-passenger car no. 14 has advanced to the installation of wood roof sheathing and hidden reinforcement for the car's sides. The work on the roof has been aided by FEBT member Charles A. Wootton's modification of a old water heater to steam the sheathing applied to the roof, allowing it to bend to follow the contours of the clerestory roof. Inside the main shop complex members of the boiler house work crew have started to tackle repairs to the wall behind the shop's twin smokestacks. With the arrival of warmer weather FEBT volunteers will resume their repairs to the walls and windows of the shop complex, additional work on boxcar no. 955, paint for various EBT hopper cars, and installation of exhaust fans in the former paint shop (now the location of FEBT's car restoration facility).

As a rerninder, our restoration work is funded from the donations we receive each year from FEBT members and other persons interested in our preservation and restoration efforts. The financial resources provided by these donations, supplemented by occasional small grants, determine the scope and progress of the work we undertake.

Plan now for 2012 FEBT fall reunion

The 30th fall reunion of Friends of the East Broad Top is slated to take place on October 5-7, 2012. This year's fall reunion will feature many of the events and activities of past reunions as well as some new and expanded activities. The model and photo contests will occur much like in the past and any special categories will be announced shortly. The clinics and programs will be greatly expanded over past years and several speakers/presenters are already lined up. The fund-raising auction, a highlight for many members, will return. Donations are needed for the auction—the large Scale collections that had been featured the last few years are exhausted and so we will return to a broader range of donated items. Please consider donating railroad relevant items, particularly EBT-related, to help make the auction a success.

Further information will be available soon, but plan your travel and accommodations now for October 5-7, and the 30th anniversary fall reunion. Questions, comments, suggestions, and volumes inquiries may be directed to Andy Van Scyoc at (301) 943-6255 or

FEBT ends 'new rider' EBT train ticket initiative

Last year the directors of Friends of the East Broad Top agreed to conclude an outreach initiative that dates from the organization's earliest days. For many years FEBT purchased and distributed tickets for regularly-scheduled trains on the East Broad Top Railroad as way to encourage first-time visitors to Rockhill Furnace. The goal of this program, like our other outreach efforts, was to stimulate public interest in the preservation and restoration of the EBT. Given the depletion of the supply of train tickets on hand, changing operations at the EBT, and the impact of other FEBT initiatives, our directors decided that the energy and resources devoted to the "new rider" EBT ticket program could be better applied to other outreach activities. While we will continue to distribute information packets to potential visitors to the EBT, the "new rider" program concluded last summer, when FEBT outreach coordinator Dennis R. Straub reported that we had distributed the last of our train tickets.

The origin of "new rider" initiative stemmed from a suggestion made by the late Gary R. Altschuler at one of our earliest fall reunions. Gary proposed that FEBT solicit contributions from members attending the reunion and that these funds be used to buy as many train tickets as possible from the EBT. The purchase of these tickets would not only provide needed financial support to the EBT, the tickets themselves could be used to promote interest in FEBT's efforts to preserve and restore the railroad. Gary's suggestion was immediately adopted, beginning the annual solicitation of funds to support what became the "new rider" initiative at succeeding fall reunions. FEBT members would occasionally donate funds at other times to support this effort, and the EBT cooperated by selling us train tickets at discounted rates. For many years these solicitations and administration of the "new rider" initiative were handled by FEBT member John R. Snyder. More recently Dennis Straub has supervised this effort, along with our other outreach initiatives.

In practice, the operation of the "new rider" program was simple. Groups and families who had never previously visited the EBT were invited to contact FEBT. Generally we supplied train tickets for half of the anticipated visitors, together with literature about the railroad, the FEBT Museum, other local attractions like the Broad Top Area Coal Miners Historical Society Museum, and tourist information. The groups to whom we supplied this material would then purchase the additional train tickets they needed directly from the EBT when they visited Rockhill Furnace. The information we provided incorporated a FEBT visitor's guide to the EBT, including inactive portions of the railroad. Originally written by Philip J. Padgett, first editor of The Timber Transfer, this guide was later extensively revised and periodically updated by Vagel C. Keller, coordinator of our museum operations. Over the years supplemental materials contributed by other FEBT members have been added to these information packets.

The success of the "new rider" program is difficult to assess, although it clearly had an impact. The fact that demand for the tickets that FEBT distributed continued provides one indication of sustained interest in what FEBT was doing. The EBT was also able to monitor actual use of the tickets distributed by FEBT, since these train tickets were marked. Visits by larger organized groups were obviously easier to track. We know that many visits to the EBT by school, scout, church, and other youth groups were stimulated by the train tickets FEBT made available to them. The FEBT initiative also encouraged the EBT in its own efforts to attract such visitors.

As mentioned above, we intend to continue to make the information packets previously provided with the "new rider" tickets available to interested potential visitors to Rockhill Furnace and Robertsdale. FEBT outreach coordinator Dennis Straub is working with assistant webmaster John P. H. Morgan to post updated and revised information about this offer on our web site. Costs for printing and postage will continue to be paid from past donations held in the Gary R. Altschuler education fund, which FEBT several years ago named to honor the originator of our initial outreach effort.

FEBT guided tours at the EBT

Although the East Broad Top Railroad's 2012 operating schedule is still unsettled, Friends of the East Broad Top hopes to continue working with the EBT to provide guided tours at Rockhill Furnace conducted by FEBT volunteers during all of the railroad's regular operating weekends. Our volunteers offer visitors to the railroad tours inside the shops and around the Rockhill Furnace yard complex, similar to the guided tours FEBT volunteers provide to the public during special events. The goal of these tours is to encourage a better understanding of the railroad's history and to foster greater public appreciation for the EBT as a historic resource.

FEBT members interested in joining us as 2012 EBT tour guides should contact FEBT tour coordinator Lawrence Biemiller at or (202) 494-7670 (cell).

2012 FEB1 Museum schedule

In 2012 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 2012 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 by telephone at (412) 441-7881 or by e-mail at

About The Timber Transfer

The spring 2011 issue of Ihe Timber Transfer (volume 25 no. 4) was mailed to FEBT members at the beginning of March. FEBT members who experience problems with missing or damaged issues of The Timber Transfer should contact Peter Clarke at the FEBT membership office by telephone at (301) 482-1136, by e-mail at, or by writing to the return address on the last page of this newsletter.

Ballots for five FEBT directors due April 19

FEBT members are requested to vote to elect five 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 Andrew H. Van Scyoc (chairman), and FEBT members William E. Grant, Jr., and Ronald L. Pearson. Based on the names of potential nominees the committee received, including three incumbent directors holding seats up for election, the committee has placed five FEBT members on the official ballot. Two directors now serving as members of our board, Stephen W. Jacobs and Richard D. Shell, indicated to the nominating committee that they did not wish to seek reelection. Note that the four other incumbent directors, William L. Adams, Henry F. Inman, Vagel C. Keller, and Andrew H. Van Scyoc, will continue to serve as members of the board of directors until the 2013 election.

Each candidate was asked for a written statement of 100 words or less summarizing his past and present contributions to FEBT and indicating what he 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.

Nancy E. Jacqmin*
As for many of you, my FEBT story began with a train ride—on a blazing hot July day decades ago. I soon received a gift membership to FEBT and looked for a way to be actively involved. I started handling the mailing of reminder membership postcards. I became restoration fund treasurer when the "five-year" campaign was launched in 2001 and have served on the board for the past two years. I strongly support the launching of another multi-year fund raising campaign. The publicity that the initial campaign garnered expanded the reach of FEBT, uncovering many additional supporters and provided a vehicle for telling our story—one that has been strengthened through wise use of those funds. I would like to see us tell a more coherent story that connects the many interests of our members and other associates. My plan if elected is to work to write that story and make more visible the connections between the many individualized views we have of the Friends of the East Broad Top.

R. Lee Rainey*
I have ridden, hiked, photographed, modeled, and written about the East Broad Top Railroad since first encountering it in 1953. the greatest thrill of all has been the opportunity in the last ten years to roll up my sleeves and help save it. As coordinator of the Rockhill restoration efforts on behalf of the FEBT and the railroad, I've organized and led work sessions which to date have contributed over 30,000 volunteer hours to the preservation of the EBT rolling stock and Rockhill facilities. I ask you to reelect me so that I can continue to lead this critical work.

David A. Phillips
In 2003 I joined FEBT and almost immediately volunteered regularly for restoration work at Rockhill Furnace. I have worked on many restoration crews, recently on the combine no. 14 crew. I support FEBT Company Store operation by working at reunions and interacting with vendors and customers concerning modeling supplies. My goals, if elected, include helping allocate FEBT funds among competing projects and increasing awareness of EBT history and FEBT achievements. Access to our photograph and artifact collections and new articles in The Timber Transfer would help attain the latter goal. I am honored to be nominated to serve you as an FEBT director.

Lawrence Biemiller*
Five years of volunteering at the EBT almost every week have helped me understand the railroad's precarious situation, FEBT's capabilities, and the importance of planning, communication, and outreach. FEBT has made itself invaluable to the EBT, undertaking impressive preservation projects in Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace while pitching in whenever the railroad needs help. Nonetheless, the EBT's future remains uncertain. It's crucial that FEBT be known to everyone involved with the railroad as an engaged, effective, creative, nimble, and trustworthy partner and advocate for whatever the railroad's future turns out to be.

Wade N. Woodcock
I have been a regular volunteer at both Rockhill Furnace and Robertsdale. I previously served on the board and have assisted with the FEBT Company Store. I would promote a good working relationship with railroad management and support continued restoration efforts beyond Rockhill.

We are pleased that former EBT brakeman and retired Huntingdon County commissioner Lee R. Wilson has again agreed to serve as election judge. All 2012 election ballots must be mailed to FEBT Directors Election, c/o Lee R. Wilson, Election Judge, 10642 Wilson Road, Three Springs PA 17264. Only ballots received by April 19, 2012, will be counted.

FEBT displays at train shows and conventions: can you help?

Members of Friends of the East Broad Top regularly assist our outreach efforts by distributing information about the east Broad Top Railroad and FEBT at train shows, conventions and other events.

Next summer the National Model Railroad Association's 2012 National Train Show will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on August 2-4. FEBT members in that area interested in the possibility of setting up an FEBT display table at this train show (held in conjunction with the NMRA's national convention) 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.

The 2012 National Narrow Gauge Convention will be held in Bellevue, Washington, on September 12-15. 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 confirm 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. Please contact FEBT outreach coordinator Dennis R. Straub by telephone at (717) 249-4239 (home) or by e-mail at providing as much advance notice as possible.


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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