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: March 29-30, 2008

March 2008 Work Crew
The March 29 & ­30, 2008 work crew.

The fourth work session of 2008 was held March 29-30, 2008. With a chill in the air, the volunteers worked on.

Attendees included Chris Coleman, Steve Jacobs, Bill Adams, Bob Goldby, Dave Phillips, Dick Ullery, Richard Shell, Jim Bacon, Charlie Wootton, Lee Rainey and Dave Richards.


Track 4

March 2008 Work Crew
With the truck rerailed, the rails are pulled back into gauge.

One of incorrect Vulcan trucks that formerly sat under hopper 802 had been stored on track 4 in the Rockhill Furnace yard. At some time during the last couple of years, someone had pushed the truck too far down track 4 onto a section that was badly out of gauge and the truck derailed. The track crew has now rerailed this truck. The track in the vicinity of the Car Shop was then pulled back into gauge and gauge bars were installed. This repair is for future use of the track for freight car parking.


Machine Shop/Boiler House (Structural & Machinery)

The concrete pad
The concrete pad in the wheel press pit is being poured.
New work deck
The new work deck extending from atop the boilers out over the shop engine.
Drilling gusset plate
The repair post for the broken #2 truss is secured with the first two gusset plates.

On Saturday the "Boilerhouse Rats" completed a work platform from the boilers out over the shop engine. This deck will provide a safe work platform for jacking the upper boilerhouse wall and fabricating a new main beam after the trusses are jacked up level. The original 12x12" main beam has rotted away and two of the machine shop roof trusses are now only supported on poles and the rafter ends are just "floating". The remains of the old beam were removed using bare hands and hauled to the burn pile. The new beam will be built-up of 2x12s, as there is no way to install a 36-foot beam without removing the entire roof structure and part of the line shaft system.

Sunday's work began with fabrication of a short repair post to re-join the broken end of truss #2. This custom fitted piece was most difficult, and had to be done twice to get it right, even then requiring some repetitive cut-and-fit, due to the distorted geometry of the broken truss. It was finally secured in place around 3 o’clock, and fastened with a pair of screwed-on plywood gussets. Two more gussets will be applied to the other side at a later date.

The Rats then moved to truss #3, and installed the first pair of new uprights in the truss and one gusset. For those who aren’t sure just what is being done; the structure of these two trusses is being modified so they can be jacked up from three points along the bottom, rather than from the ends, as originally designed. This is necessary because of the weakened condition (from old age) of the truss members. After jacking, two support posts each will be left in place to help hold them up.

Other work performed this weekend included pouring a concrete pad for a set of jacking and support posts in the wheel press pit.



New roof boards
New perimeter boards are installed on the Garage roof.

Damaged and rotted roofing boards were removed from around the perimeter of the roof. Old nails were removed from roof stringers. The installation of replacement roof boards was begun.


Boxcar 168

Activity on Boxcar 168
The boxcar is a hub of activity.
Steps are added
The fabricated steps have been welded in place.

The fabrication of a set of steps for the west side of the car was completed. The angle-iron frames and sheet metal sides for the steps were then welded into the southwest end of the car. Once properly placed, wooden treads and risers were cut and fitted to the step frames. In the meantime welding of sheet metal patches to the sides continued around the car followed closely by the grinder smoothing out the welded joints in preparation for primer and paint to be applied at a later session.


Shops Privy

The privy prior to cleaning.
The privy after cleaning.

As part of the continued cleanup of the shops, the "Glass Rattlers" conducted a cleanup of the Shops Privy adjacent to the Boiler Shop. The exterior of this building was restored in 2007. The interior was full of dirt and debris which was removed. Future plans call for interior painting.


Locomotive Shop

Clean walkway
The walkway of the Locomotive Shop is now clear.

The "Glass Rattlers" started cleanup on the west side the the locomotive shop to allow safe passage beside equipment parked inside the building. A large amount of dirt, track supplies, tools, trash and scrap had accumulated along the walkway, which made walking through the building difficult and dangerous. The materials were removed to new or existing storage locations or disposed of as appropriate. The windows, sills, cabinets, wall pockets, wall footers and remaining flooring were swept and cleaned.

This cleanup will allow easier access to the windows in the west wall of the building which are the next to be restored in the shops complex. Also the cleanup will permit replacement of the deteriorated floor in this area.


Coal Dock/South Water Column

Preliminary cleanup work was done under the dock. An area was prepped for storage of track supplies from the Locomotive Shop and the supplies were moved there. Work began on cleaning up of debris and coal around the doors in order to be able to secure the building.


Next Work Session

The next Rockhill work session will be held from May 3 to May 4. See you there!

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