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: May 2-3, 2009

The May 2009 crew
The May 2009 crew and the Combine #14 trucks

The Fourth restoration session of 2009 was held May 2-3. Rain had peperred southern PA in the days before the session, making things rather damp. Saturday the rain threatened most of the day but never came, but Sunday the rain had its revenge and did not stop all day.

Attendees included Jim Bacon, Brad Esposito, Steve Jacobs, Dave Richards, Dave Dietz, Wade Woodcock, Richard Shell, Lee Rainey, Aaron Schrwartz, Charlie Wootton, Lawrence Biemiller, Jim Sucke, Mark Yahner, Richie Wickett, John Cameron, Rich Wickett, Bob Harris, Chris Coleman, William Adams, Matt Rader, Joan Adams, Matt Rader and Reggie Arford


We would like to welcome new volunteer John Cameron. Welcome to the Rockhill Furnace Work Crew!


Combine #14

Sill replacement
A hole remains where the rotted side sill once was.
Adjusting rods
The rods tying together the end of the car are adjusted.
New bumper
The completed South bumper.

The installation of the south bumper continued with work on the truss rods.

The trucks, removed from the car last session, were evaluated and the repair strategy discussed with railroad management. The trucks were moved from their temporary storage on the escape track and one was place inside the Paint Shop and the other outside covered with a tarp.

The north end of the car was documented with photos and the hardware and sheathing was removed. The hardware (end rails, platform gates) were sent to a sandblasting company for cleaning.

The main truss rods were released to permit straightening of car. The lateral tie rods and vertical ties rods were Released as needed to allow installation of new sill sections.

The rotted side sill under the large baggage door on the west side of car was removed. Removal of the rotted side sill material on the east side was begun. Both of these areas were badly damaged by weather, largely during the decades the car operated without baggage doors. The process was begun to inlet the solid portion of side sill on west side of car to allow strong splice of new timber.

Extensive measurements of car were made, including vertical, horizontal and diagonal in all directions. These will allow a plan to be formulated to correct twisting of car body. It was discovered that the car is currently longer at top of body than at bottom and that the car footprint is no longer a horizontal rectangle. A plan was developed to street one side slightly and correct the trapezoid shape. This will be performed in conjunction with side sill replacement and will bring car back into square.


Boiler House/Machine Shop

Last beam
The last section of the composite beam is slid into place.
Completed beam
The completed composite beam.

Work was completed on the new composite main beam that support the Machine Shop east roof trusses and the Boiler house west wall. The last layer of the new beam was put into place, screwed in, and a new weather cover fashioned for the hole in the north wall where the beam sections were slid in. Additional cutting of the Boiler House west wall studs was needed to clear the beam, then they were forced up on top of the beam and braced into place. Also, joist hangers were installed backside of the main beam to support a work platform next year for repairing the roof of the Boiler House.

With the rain coming down on Sunday volunteers were able to find the roof leak in the Boiler Shop/Locomotive Shop valley. The leak runs down an old unused rafter and drips on two main structural members. Unfortunately a combination of poor construction and the leak have compromised the support of a roof truss in this area. The crew will be placing a support post under the member at a future session.

The rain also came in on the new beam in two places. A drip shield was installed in one spot and the other required flashing to be put over the a large pipe near the pulley roof.

The #3 Machine Shop truss was then jacked up one more inch and bolted to the beam. The #2 truss will be jacked next session and will be bolted in place after its damaged end is reconstructed.

The most gratifying part of all this is that enough progress was made so that at the May work week, the corn crib over the shop engine can be taken down, and work can start to get the engine freed up.



Stair repairs
Stair treads and risers are replaced.

Long broken, several treads of the staircase to the second floor of the Storehouses were replaced, making getting parts and supplies easier and safer.


Boiler Shop

Work again returned to the windows on the west side of the building. These windows are only accessible from the outside during the off-season (due to the turntable lead) and can only be painted during warm weather. Saturday scaffolding was erected along the windows and the screens removed from three of the four unfinished windows. As the primer had been applied two years ago it was decided to re-scrape and re-prime the windows prior to repainting. At the same time the sashes were removed from two of the windows and brought inside to be puttied and painted. Three were completed on Saturday and the fourth was completed on Sunday.

Unfortunately the rain on Sunday hampered plans to paint the outside trim that was primed on Saturday. Only one of the three windows was finish painted and the other two had to be left in primer. The protective screening was reinstalled and the four completed sashes were reinstalled in the windows.

At the end if the session one window was finished and two made good progress. Two still need quite a bit of work.

Orbisonia Station

The west third story sash from the station was returned to the railroad after repairs to one of its joints. Unfortunately during the repairs one of the panes of glass was cracked. During the weekend the old (and very hard) glazing putty was removed and the cracked glass removed. New glass was cut to size, installed and puttied. The wood repairs on the sash were primed and the entire sash received a fresh coat of paint. Due to the delay of replacing the glass and the slow dry time of the paint due to the weather, there was not time to reinstall the sash this session.

Locomotive Shop

Grading work
The Bobcat gets the last of the soil out of the alcove.

The grading work of the past two session was completed in the alcove between the Locomotive Shop, Boiler Shop and Shop Privy. The Bobcat was brought in for the heavy work. The large piles of soil from the previous sessions were removed and spread in other areas. A drainage trough was graded out from the alcove to a lower grade area. The alcove was graded off with the Bobcat and then finish leveled by hand. The Bobcat brought in several loads of crushed stone to protect the grade from erosion. The stone was spread with the Bobcat then finish leveled by hand.

With this work completed, a new sill can be installed in the Locomotive Shop without fear of it rotting out as the original did.

Meanwhile, inside the shop the floor along the west wall, installation of the new floor was completed. The last of the floor that was too low was pulled up and re-laid. Reused lumber from the Jordan Summit bridge was cut to length and installed. For the first time in many years it is possible to truly walk safely along this side of the shop.


Garage floor
The new floorboards go in inside the Garage.
Pre-drilling for nails
Nail holes are pre-drilled in the floorboards.

Rain preceding and during the weekend prevent any painting of the garage. However, the new white oak floor planking had been delivered in advance, and volunteers focused on finishing the carpentry. The first plank was cut to length and placed, revealing a low intermediate sill that had been set to match the dipped profile of the old floor. It was decided to raise the low sill even with the others, and provide solid support and ease the transition on top later. Five wall studs were detached one at a time from the remnants of the old planks they sat on to admit the new planks. One stud which still carries a substantial load was supported by jacking on an exterior jack point installed early in the restoration. With each new plank in place, the stud resting on it was re-secured.

The new planks are installed with a small gap between them, to be later filled with tapered pine chinking, replicating the original construction. Along the base of the north wall, a small board was installed to hold the loose ends of the siding tight against the lower exterior trim. A fascia board was installed on the east sill below the doors. Excess lumber was moved to long term storage and small scraps were disposed of.

Car Shop

The last two sashes in the south end of the Car Shop were removed for restoration.

Next Work Session

The next Rockhill work session will be held Opening weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7. See you there!

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