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: July 18-19, 2009

The July 2009 crew
The July 2009 work crew.

The seventh restoration work weekend of 2009 was held July 18-19 2009. Heavy rain passed through the area Friday night but the rain held off for the remainder of the weekend.

Attendees included Joan Adams, Bill Adams, Richard Shell, Andy VanScyoc, Steve Jacobs, Mark Yahner, Gordon Brinthaupt III., Gordon Brinthaupt Jr., Bob Harris, Wade Woodcock, Ray Davidowski, Charlie Wootton, Dave Dietz, Lee Rainey, Jim Bacon, Dave Phillips, Dave Richards, Chris Coleman, Matt Rader, Jonathan Smith, Mike Gray and Tom Diehl.


Boiler Shop

Rotted sill
More rotted sill exposed in the Boiler Shop.

Removal of the rotted sill on the south side continued. Several feet of additional siding was removed exposing more rotted sill. The sill was cut back far enough that it was solid and all the old material and wood planer shaving inside the walls (used as insulation) was removed. In all over eleven feet of 8x10 sill was removed.

On Saturday the new sills for the Boiler Shop and Locomotive Shop were delivered.


Machine Shop

Roof hole
The first section of Machine Shop roof has been removed.

Lumber was delivered for the repairs to the east side of the Machine Shop roof. The lumber was unloaded and stacked for use.

Work began on the rebuilding of the side gable of the Machine Shop roof (over the shops engine) with the removal of the roofing sheet metal and slats. A tarp was applied over the opening to keep the weather out between work sessions.


Shop Stacks

Stack supports are welded up. Behind, Coal Dock door boards are coated.
Completed legs
Completed reinforcement legs.

Work on the stabilization of the stack bases continued. Components for the bracing legs to be attached to the stack bases were cut to length prior to the session. During the session the components were welded together into eight assemblies.


Coal Dock and Water Column

New doors
The new Coal Dock doors, freshly assembled.
Roof work
Volunteers a new rain diverter.
Pit work
A large amount of sludge removed from the Water Column pit.

It was determined that the sliding doors of the Coal Dock were too badly deteriorated to rebuild. The lumber arrived since last session to construct replica doors. All the lumber was coated with two coats of boiled linseed oil to seal it. The planks and frame of the doors were assembled on Saturday.

Pumping was begun again in the drainage pit beside the Water Column in order to try to locate the drain and clear it. Several layers of muck and wood planking were removed. The valve and feed pipe were uncovered and the pit excavated to a depth of over four feet, but no drain or bottom has yet been found.

On the Coal Dock roof, new rain diverters were installed to keep rainwater from draining onto the main coal chute and accelerating its deterioration.


Combine 14

Sill work
New sill layers are clamped in place.
Sill sections
New sill sections glued and clamped.

The installation of replacement sections of side sill continued. Multiple layers were pre-assembled outside the shops with glue and clamps, then brought inside and attached to the car.



Work continued in rehabilitation of the sashes removed from the west side of the Foundry. The sashes received odd repairs, primer, glass, putty and paint.

Shops Machines

Shops steam engine first run, Part 1.
Shops steam engine first run, Part 2.

In the big event of the weekend, the work done by the Boiler House Rats for the past few months and years came to fruition. This spring the cribbing supporting the Machine Shop and Boiler House roofs was removed after the new composite support beam was completed last month. With the cribbing removed, work began to clean and lubricate the shops stationary steam engine. Earlier in the summer the engine had been broken free and all lubrication points and components gone over. The July session was the time to actually test the engine.

An air fitting was attached to the lead line and flexible hose connected to a portable air compressor. Initially the air could be heard escaping from the system. One of the two steam shutoff valves on either side of the steam engine was seized, but the leak was traced to the neighboring Generator Room, The main valve and three lubricator valves there were closed and this made the system air tight.

The main steam valve for the engine was then opened and the engine moved slightly. After some adjustment to the valve packing, a bit of help and a bit more air pressure, the engine began to turn full revolutions. The entire work crew drifted in to watch with amazement the ancient machine come to life. The engine was run for several minutes with Rats adjusting and lubricating the mechanism. The engine was surprisingly quiet without any of the line shafts attached. Later the engine was demonstrated for Stanley Hall, General Manager. The engine was then covered for protection until it's first public demonstration.

Next Session

Our next session will Community Day and Civil War Weekend, August 15-16, 2009. See you there!


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