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

Rockhill Furnace Work Session: January 17-18, 2004 Mini-Session

The first Rockhill work session of 2004 was held January 17 and 18, 2004. Because of the nature of the work and the limited space within the car shop, the crew was intentionally small. It consisted of Charlie Wootton, Tom Kozub, Wade Woodcock, Bill Adams, Don Dissinger, Lee Rainey and Dave Brightbill. Shawn Stauffer and Cathy Ott stopped by while we were working on Sunday to unload track repair supplies for the coming year, including two very welcome kegs of spikes.

Caboose 28

Removing siding
Charlie Wootton and Tom Kozub begin removing the old rotten siding from the caboose.
Removing deck boards
Charlie Wootton and Wade Woodcock remove rotted deck boards from the caboose platform.
Removing steel
Grinders are used to remove the rusted-out deck plate.

The focus of the work session was to strip old siding from Caboose 28 and to evaluate the work that needed to be done to put it back into shape. Much was accomplished despite working in an unheated building on a very cold weekend. Tom and Bill took extensive measurements of the car and made hundreds of digital photos of details to aid in reassembly. They also removed and tagged most of the car hardware. Lee, Don and Dave removed old sheathing from the sides of the car. Tom and Wade disassembled the hand rails and planking of the platforms, a surprisingly complicated job. The work was a fascinating tutorial on how a composite car of the World War I era is put together.

The caboose, built by the EBT in 1920, was found to be in good structural shape. The steel of the main frame is in good condition, as is the steel diagonal bracing that forms the skeleton of the cabin. The wooden nailing beams to which the outside sheathing is attached (beams ranging from 2.5x2.5 inches to 2.25x5.5 inches) are also in pretty good shape. In addition to a general tightening of bolts, we will need to replace a few sections of this wood.

The planking of the end platforms is supported by steel sheet that also performs a structural role in joining the steel bracing of the end to the main frame members. These sheets are in bad shape and will require replacement. Charlie has arranged for the fabrication of new sheets, but in the mean time we are faced with the daunting task of grinding out the 34 rivets at each end that held the old sheets to the frame.

EBT General Manager Stanley Hall inspected the work Sunday afternoon. He approved our plan of attack and offered the services of the EBT's welding specialist to install the new platform plates.

The timetable for completion of the project is as follows:

February: Complete the removal of siding (about 5% remains in place), grind out the end platform rivets, and prepare the car for the welding.
March: Weld new platform plates, install new nailing beams, and install new sheathing and platforms.
May: Paint woodwork. Reinstall ironwork.

Next Session

The next caboose work session is February 21-22. If you can bring a hand-held heavy duty grinder (4" diameter or up) to attack those rivets, we need your help.

Lee Rainey,
Rockhill Restoration Coordinator

You can view other photos of this work session at Bill Adams' EBT Pictorial.

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