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 Sessions: May 14-15, May 16-20, 2011

The fifth restoration weekend of 2011 was held May 15-16. Immediately afterward the annual Work Week ran from May 17-21. Rains passed though the area all weekend and through most of the following work week, making outdoor work challenging.

The May 15-16, 2011 crew
The May 15-16, 2011 crew.

Attendees included Aaron Schwartz, Mac Dufton, Brad Esposito, Wade Woodcock, Dave Dietz, Ralph Davidson, Steve Jacobs, Jim Bacon, Ricky Culp, Lawrence Biemiller, Lee Rainey, Charlie Wootton, Bob Harris, Mark Yahner, Chris Coleman, Bob Goldby, Reggie Arford, Bill Adams and Andy VanScyoc.

Member Steve Jacobs delivered new pressed steel chutes for the Coal Dock.


Boiler House

lumber delivery
Glass Rattler and Boiler House Rat project lumber is delivered Saturday morning.
Top of boilers
The tops of the boilers are much cleaner now.

Boiler House Rat turnout was light due to commitments by some regular volunteers

Lumber for the Boiler House soffits and back wall arrived Saturday morning along with lumber for several other projects. The lumber was unloaded and stacked by the side of the Foundry with some heavier timbers transferred to the back of the locomotive shop. Much of the afternoon was consumed moving the new wood into the machine shop and stacking it with spacer strips so it can dry as rapidly as possible (it was just cut two weeks ago). Other lumber on hand (which had been stored under a tarp beside the Foundry) was sorted and neatly stacked. Both groups of lumber are now stored in the empty space in front of shop engine and water pump. This is under the driest part of the roof, rebuilt by the volunteers a couple years ago.

Most of Sunday was spent cleaning up much of the debris atop the boilers, including dirt, bird drippings, sawdust, rotten and scrap wood and general crud. Next, some stringer planks were set up, and the two south cupola legs were adjusted by adding 2x8s to the legs as was done on the other two. Some further adjustment will be needed as to final position once the south roof is torn off and all the emergency props are removed from the south end.


Coal Tipple

Cleaning parts
Parts removed from the old chutes are cleaned before being attached to the new chutes.
Gutter installed on the Coal Tipple.

The new coal chute blanks were delivered to the Paint Shop on Saturday. Many parts will need to be built and welded onto the blanks to prepare them to be installed. In Sunday some work was started on transferring hardware from the old coal chutes to the new ones. Work on the chutes continued on Thursday.

Rain gutters were installed on the coal tipple to help stop the water running off the new roof from rusting out the current and future coal chutes. Downspout components will be installed at a later session. On Sunday rain again stopped a lot of the outside work, between showers rain gutter was installed along the front of the Oil House roof. Again, downspout components will be installed at a later session


Robertsdale Old Post Office

On Monday rain still prevented outside work. A crew headed to Robertsdale to sand the upstairs floors of the Old Post Office. Monday and Tuesday was devoted to sanding the floors and preparing them for paint. On Wednesday the morning was spent cleaning all the dust off the floor and after lunch the first coat of paint was applied to the floors. Everything in the second floor except the “pantry/utility room” and half the top of the stairs was painted. On Thursday morning the second coat of paint was applied.

Caboose 28

In the seven years since FEBT restored Caboose 28, a combination of outdoor storage and inadequate sealing around the windows had led to some water intrusion and rot. The caboose was taken out of the train for the following weekend so that it could be repaired. Work began Thursday and continued into Friday and Saturday, by which time repairs on the west side were mostly completed.

Sand House

Painting in progress
Red paint is going on over the primer on the the east wall.
Painting completed
Tower painting completed.

A man lift was rented for the week to allow repairs, priming and painting in hard-to-reach areas of the shops. Despite frequent rain delays all week (about 60-70% of the time), The Sand House tower was completely primed and painted. Work proceeded from Saturday to Friday whenever the weather cleared enough to allow work. Metal parts were painted black. Batten repair and hole and crack patching was needed in many areas. The rain delays did not leave enough time to work on the Foundry Gantry of the Boiler and Machine Shop trim as was planned.


Generator Room

New paint
New paint makes a dramatic difference.
Painting completed
New paint on the new ceiling.
Generator room
Fresh paint throughout the room.

During rain delays on outdoor painting, work was done inside the Generator room. Although not planned for this month, plans were in place and it made a great indoor only project and was worked on all week. The ceiling, which had been primed several years ago, received two coats of latex paint, and with some touch-up should be ready for re-installation of the equipment originally mounted on the ceiling. The walls all received at least one coat of paint, with parts getting two. Paint was matched to existing paint chips on the walls to approximate the cream and green two-tone. Also the various debris and other items stored in the room was disposed or moved to other locations to allow work in the room. The floors were swept and the removal of caked on grease on the floor brick was begun.

During the last two days of the work week, the engine itself got some cosmetic attention. The flywheel cover was cleaned of rust and caked grease, primed and painted, and parts of the engine/generator base were cleaned and/or primed.

The engine head was removed from atop the cylinder casting and a great deal of oil/water mixture poured out. After much lubing the piston valve was removed for cleaning and the remainder of the oil/water mix was poured out. The tops of both cylinders and piston heads were cleaned out and ATF poured in to help lubricate the piston rings and free up the one piston still stuck. The main bearings were re-re-lubricated but are still stuck. Cleaning on the generator commutator was begun.

New window stops were planed from scrap wood and cut to match an original sample. The inside window stops were installed and painted.


Car Shop/Locomotive Shop clean-up

sorting lumber
Lumber is sorted and stacked in the new "lumber rack.

Only the large timbers in the new lumber order were placed in the Locomotive Shop, and those were placed at the Car Shop side as far as was possible to keep work areas clear. All other new and existing Glass Rattler lumber was moved to the Garage (restored a couple years ago) and stacked with spacers to facilitate drying. This should enable easier access to the Locomotive Shop tracks by the railroad employees.

The large chaotic piles of lumber in the Car Shop were sorted and organized. The coupler adapter on the Davenport diesel was used as a lumber storage rack and all milled and lighter weight lumber placed in that rack. All other lumber was sorted and stacked neatly and out of the traffic pattern so to safely allow foot traffic and make finding lumber easier. Remaining lumber was removed from the Carowinds cars (now stored outside) and stored as appropriate. Several of the wire mesh frames from shop windows previously restored were disassembled and the mesh stacked out of the way.

Restored sashes in the Stone House were moved to the Garage for safekeeping.


Locomotive Shop/Boiler Shop

window trim
New window trim is installed on the Locomotive Shop.
Loco shop
The Locomotive Shop at the end of the work session.

All remaining siding boards were cut, fit and glued and nailed into place during the weekend. All the replacement window side trim was installed. Battens on the buildings were bevel cut to fit to new batten material and new battens bevel cut and cut to length to fit, and labeled for their location when they are installed in August or September.

Some cosmetic concrete repairs were made to the Locomotive Shop west wall foundation, which were needed before the last siding boards went on.

Window sashes stored in the Boiler Shop were sorted and labeled more clearly as to where they were to be installed and sashes were temporarily re-installed in three windows on the west side of the Locomotive Shop. This allows much more light into that shop.

Coats three and four of epoxy were applied during the week to the end truss of the Locomotive Shop. Last month thin coats were applied for good absorption, this month thick coats were applied to fill and cover.


Trolley Wheel Sets

Trolley wheel sets
The four wheel sets after removal from the shops.
Boom truck
The RTY boom truck picks up the wheelsets.

On Monday of Work Week The four trolley museum wheel sets stored in the shops for decades (one had been in the wheel lathe and the other three at the west end of the Boiler Shop) were rolled out of the shops and moved over the Locomotive shop lead tracks to the open area. Moving them out took a great deal of ingenuity to maneuver them around obstacles and to get them over the rails to where they could be picked up. On Thursday they were picked up with the Trolley Museum's boom truck and moved over to the museum. Non-original equipment and a tripping hazard has been removed and space cleared for needed restoration work.



Wheel press gauge
The restored Wheel Press gauge reinstalled.

The restored gauge for the Wheel Press was re-reinstalled in what appears to have been its Common Carrier era arrangement, removing piping that was added later.


Combine #14

Underflooring installed under Combine #14's frame.
Insulation packed in the frame above the new subflooring.

Work began to install the underfloor covering on the bottom of the car's sills. This covering is meant to protect the underbody of the car and is standard on most wooden passenger equipment. A layer of insulation was also place between the sills in preparation for reinstallation of the car's floorboards.


Next Session

The next session will be held June 5-6, 2011. See you there!

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