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

East Broad Top Combine Passenger Car #16

EBT Combine 16 drawing
EBT Combine #16 car plan.
Drawing by William E. Grant, Jr. (reproduced with permission)

Combine #16 was one of the East Broad Top's earlier cars, very similar in design to combine #17 (disposition unknown) and combine #18 (owned by the FEBT and currently stored inoperative at Rockhill Furnace, PA). The car was retired from the EBT in 1941 and sold. It then passed through different owners until being purchased by the New Jersey Museum of Transportation's Pine Creek Railroad in Allair State Park, Farmingdale NJ. By the time the car arrived there it was missing it's trucks and had been stored outside for many years. In 1986 FEBT acquired a 99 year lease on the combine with the intention of restoring it to operating condition.

Progress Summary

The Combine #16 car body is currently stored under cover in New Jersey. Cleanup and preliminary restoration was performed on the car early in the project and many replacement pieces were fabricated and are stored awaiting the arrival of the car in Pennsylvania.

Since the original trucks are long gone, the first project in the restoration of the car is to build a set of reproduction trucks. To do this, FEBT leased the original trucks from East Broad Top coach #5 from the Tweetsie Railroad in North Carolina (#5 currently rides on other trucks). The original trucks were used as patterns to create components of replica trucks for #16. As part of the payment to Tweetsie for the lease, the original trucks were reconditioned prior to their return to the Tweetsie. Over a period of several years, as funding allowed, machining and carpentry work was done on the metal and wood components of the trucks. Manufacture of wheelsets for the replica trucks was accomplished with grant funding. Work was delayed some time by issues around the 99-year lease of the combine. Final assembly of the reproduction trucks and one of the pattern trucks (the other in kit form as one wheelset was still at the Tweetsie) was completed in mid-2009. The original trucks were returned to Tweetsie and the reproduction trucks were moved to the EBT where they are were placed in storage.

Upcoming truck work includes construction and installation of break beams, hangers and shoe holders on the reproduction trucks. Additional work on the car body has been deferred until it is transported to the EBT at a time to be determined in the future.

EBT Combine 16
Prior to restoration.


The reproduction trucks were placed in storage at the EBT in 2010 and remain stored pending a resolution to the issues over the lease of the combine. In the meantime they remain available if needed on an interim basis for other FEBT restoration projects.


The shop at Strasburg commenced with work on the Trucks. Of most direct concern was the machining work on the journal boxes. The work done on the boxes by the previous contractor was exact in its reproduction of the original Coach #5 truck components, however the work also duplicated the worn out state of the the components, particularly the journal boxes. This resulted in additional work being needed to correct these issues.

journal boxes
Reproduction journal boxes in front with original behind. - Linn Moedinger photo
New pedestals on the left, two new washers in the front, and an old pedestal on the right. - Linn Moedinger photo
spring planks
Newly fabricated spring planks. - Linn Moedinger photo
Center cross member
Center cross member being epoxied. All wood is vintage reclaimed oak barn wood. - Linn Moedinger photo
Wood truck frame members
Center cross member on top, inside longitudinal pieces on the bottom, and cross pieces in rear. - Linn Moedinger photo
Side truck frame members
Side truck frame members. - Linn Moedinger photo

On March 28, 2009 a crew of five volunteers met at Strasburg shops to dis-assemble the last remaining Tweetsie (former EBT) coach #5 original truck used as a pattern for our #16 truck project. This was to save the FEBT some cost and save Strasburg from having to use their resources to disassemble the truck. It required about 40 man hours to disassemble and clean the parts to be used again on the new frames.

Complete original Coach #5 truck awaiting disassembly. - Kelly Anderson Photo
Other Coach #5 truck which disintegrated when picked up at Tweetsie. - Steve Jacobs Photo
FEBT Volunteers work to dismantle one of the trucks. - Steve Jacobs Photo

Work on the assembling the pattern and reproduction trucks was completed in mid-2009.

Assembled truck frames
Wood truck frames assembled. - Steve Jacobs photo
Completed pattern trucks
Completed pattern trucks. - Steve Jacobs photo
Completed reproduction trucks
Completed reproduction trucks. - Steve Jacobs photo

During the fall of 2009 the reproduction trucks were transported to the EBT in time for display at the EBT 2009 Fall Spectacular. At the same time the original trucks parts from EBT coach #5 were transported back to the Tweetsie Railroad in North Carolina.

Unloading the reproduction trucks
Unloading the completed trucks at the EBT Paint Shop. - Steve Jacobs photo
Delivered reproduction trucks
Completed pattern trucks at the EBT Paint Shop. - Chris Coleman photo


With the ongoing work on EBT Combine #14 and future work on Combine #18 and Baggage #29, the FEBT Board approved completeing the reproduction truck on the premice that they would be useful whether #16 returned to the EBT or not.

CAD drawing of preproduction truck.


No further work done this year.


No further work done this year.

pattern truck
Pattern truck from EBT coach 5 (at the Tweetsie Railroad) stored at the Strasburg Railroad. - Steve Jacobs photo


We have not yet resolved issues relating to our lease of former EBT combine no. 16 with the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. For this reason our directors have agreed to continue the suspension of work on the reproduction trucks for this car.


The Strasburg Rail Road completed work on the engineering drawings needed to assemble the reproduction trucks and reassemble the original leased trucks. Completion of this engineering work permits assembly of the reproduction trucks to begin. However, until the outstanding issues related to the lease agreement for former EBT combine no. 16 raised last year by the New Jersey Museum of Transportation are resolved, the FEBT board has decided to suspend further work on the trucks.


Transportation of both the reproduction trucks and the original trucks components to the Strasburg Rail Road was completed. In early May FEBT contracted with the Strasburg Rail Road shops for the fabrication of the four wheel–and–axle assemblies needed for the reproduction trucks; we also commissioned additional documentation and engineering work needed to assemble the "new" trucks and reassemble the leased original trucks.

We had hoped to start assembly of the reproduction trucks in 2003, but the FEBT board delayed this work while we resolve questions related to our lease of combine no. 16 raised by the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. The body of the combine itself is still stored at the New Jersey museum.


FEBT received a $5000 heritage grant from the National Railway Historical Society for manufacture of the wheels and axles needed for combine #16. Negotiations are under way with ORX in Tipton, Pennsylvania to work our the requirements for this work. ORX has supplied thr class="bottommargin"ee–foot gauge wheels–and–axles to other museums and railroads so we anticipate no difficulty in completing the work required. The four wheel–and–axle assemblies are expected to cost approximately $11,000, including necessary machining and transportation to Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

Transportation of the metal components for the reproduction trucks to the shops of the Strasburg Rail Road was started. The wood truck frames and the original trucks from East Broad Top Railroad coach no. 5 are still stored in Maryland, but arrangements have been made to move them to Strasburg also. Strasburg Rail Road has contracted to assemble both the reproduction trucks and reassemble the original trucks leased from the Tweetsie Railroad. We estimate this work will cost $25,000.

Since 1990 we have expended or committed $23,088.65 to this project.


Not including costs related to leasing the pattern trucks from the Tweetsie Railroad, the FEBT has spent a total of $19,730.63 for reproduction truck components; an additional $2,557.82 was used to transport the leased truck frames from North Carolina to Maryland and to disassemble and clean parts from the pattern truck frames. The parts from the original trucks were then used by our contractors to manufacture the reproduction parts we need to put wheels underneath the combine.

Some additional minor parts will be required to assemble the reproduction truck frames, but these small metal pieces can be fabricated when we assemble the truck frames. Putting together this full-size kit of truck components is the next step.


All the major truck frame components are completed and the trucks are ready for assembly. The bolster end caps and a few other small metal pices will be fabricated later this year. The reproduction trucks now need assembly and the leased reproduction trucks need to be reassembled and returned to the Tweetsie Railroad. The FEBT is investigating sources for wheelsets that can be used in the reproduction trucks.

FEBT has started exploratory discussions with the Strasburg Railroad about contracting work related to the trucks and our restoration of the car to operating condition.


After many delays, our contractor completed all work on the journal boxes, the last major component needed for the reproduction truck frames. The final cost for these parts was $11,547.00, approximately $4,000.00 more than their projected cost when work started in 1997.

Trail Tool Company, who has manufactured most of the metal components needed for the Combine No. 16 truck frames, discovered, once work began, that the journal boxes required far more labor to manufacture than estimated. The more labor-intensive fabrication also required an extra year to complete.


Upper and lower spring cups were completed.


Journal Box work continued. The complexity of the boxes caused many delays.


Contract work on the last major truck components began. These include the leaf spring assemblies, journal boxes and upper an lower spring cups. The leaf springs were completed.


Focus shifts to the manufacture of replica trucks for the car, necessary prior to contemplating a move from New Jersey to Pennsylvania. The variety of components were contracted out in order of importance. The wood truck frames were completed first followed by brake levers, journal box covers, journal box guides, and other misceleneous pieces.


A number of on site cleanup sessions were held which brought the car out of a deliapidated condition and surveyed the car in detail to determing what work was needed.

Some preventative maintenence was done on the car and many replacement wood parts for the carbody were fabricated for eventual installation in the car. They are stored in Pennsylvania pending the cars arrival.

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