What promises to ultimately be the Crown Jewel of the East Broad Top experience is the return of the 1920’s era shop complex to full operation. The most critical aspect of the shop complex restoration is the installation of a full NFPA compliant fire suppression system, not only within all the shop buildings but also in the roundhouse. Due to the constraints imposed by the rural nature of the Rockhill Furnace community there are significant issues arising out of the lack of an adequate and reliable water source, as well as a marginal electrical distribution system that has significantly inflated the cost to protect what are essentially 100+ year old frame buildings.
The State Historical and Museum Commission has awarded us $100,000 to help underwrite the fire suppression system, but we are facing an additional cost of $300,000 to fully protect these irreplaceable structures due to issues with the lack of a code compliant water supply and other utility deficiencies.
The Stone House, located in the historic Rockhill Furnace Shop complex, was constructed prior to the Civil War on the “Orbison Tract”, on which the town of Orbisonia was built. This house was purchased by the East Broad Top Railroad and converted to use as an office for the Master Mechanic, a railroad crew reporting location, an oil house and a stock supply storehouse on the second floor. The plan for restoration will return the first floor to its original condition, and will once again house the Master Mechanic’s office, as well as a reporting location for train crews, all with period specific details. The second floor will remain as is in its original historic condition.
The cost to rehabilitate the interior and exterior of the Stone House including structural stabilization and the upgrading the electrical and mechanical and plumbing systems is estimated to be $50,000.
The initial expansion of operations on the East Broad Top will focus on “Heading South” into the unspoiled countryside of southern Huntingdon County. The first increment of that expansion will be to the hamlet of Pogue nearly 3 miles south of Rockhill Furnace. At that point there is a passing siding where power can run around the train to return to the north. The key feature on the way south to Pogue is the 268’ long Pogue Bridge which carries the railroad over Aughwick Creek. The bridge consists of three spans, two 104’ long Warren Truss decks and one 60’ girder deck. The bridge is the largest bridge on the railroad and preliminary evaluation by engineering consultants indicates that the steel structure itself is sound but the center piers require shoring and re-grouting. The bridge also requires paint removal and repainting as well as the installing of new bridge timbers and trackage. Without the rehabilitation of this structure the expansion of operations south is stymied. The cost to rehabilitate the bridge, the two center piers, and the abutments is estimated to be $900,000.
East Broad Top locomotive Number 14 has 48″ diameter drivers, 19″ x 24″ cylinders, and a 180 psi pressure boiler. It exerted 27,600 pounds of tractive effort and weighes 147,150 pounds. Examination and evaluation by independent engineering consultants identified #14 as the best candidate for the second complete restoration for long term operation. Work required to bring #14 to full FRA compliant operation includes: Boiler tubes, Safety Valves, Drivers, Trailing Truck, Tender rebuild, Boiler Jacketing, Boiler Insulation, Painting, Air Brake rebuild, Washout Plugs, and miscellaneous metal and accessory work.
The restoration of Locomotive Number 14 to full operation is one of several significant featured objectives of the EBT Foundation’s initial “This Train is Bound for Glory” public fundraising campaign. The cost to bring Locomotive #14 to full and sustained operation is $350,000.
East Broad Top locomotive Number 16 has 48″ diameter drivers, 20″ x 24″ cylinders, a 180 psi pressure boiler and it exerted 30,600 pounds of tractive effort and weighs 163,000 pounds. It is one of three locomotives of its class and size and represents the largest and most powerful locomotives on the railroad. Examination and evaluation by independent engineering consultants identified #16 as the best candidate for the initial restoration and long term operation. Work required to bring #16 to full FRA compliant operation includes: Boiler tubes, Superheater flues, Superheater Units, Safety Valves, Tender rebuild, Boiler Jacketing, Boiler Insulation, Painting, Air Brake rebuild, Washout Plugs, and miscellaneous metal and accessory work.
The restoration of Locomotive Number 16 to full operation is one of several significant featured objectives of the EBT Foundation’s initial “This Train is Bound for Glory”, public fundraising campaign. The cost to bring Locomotive #16 to full and sustained operation is $250,000.
East Broad Top Combine # 15 was built in the late 1880’s or early 1890’s by the Laconia Car Company for the narrow gauge Boston Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad. It was acquired by the East Broad Top in 1916.
The restoration of Combine Coach 15 to full operation is one of several significant featured objectives of the EBT Foundation’s initial “This Train is Bound for Glory” public fundraising campaign. The cost to restore Combine 15 is estimated to be $85,000. The work anticipated to be undertaken includes restoration of the body with new siding, new roofing, interior refurbishment, repainting as well as mechanical work including wheel work and truck rebuilding.
This featured objective is a critical importance to the success of the entire re-birth of the East Broad Top because Combine 15 provides additional seating capacity that in turn enhances the revenue stream realized from each trip.
The Rockhill Coal Dock was constructed in 1921. It is located at the south end of the yard in Rockhill Furnace, and was used to supply coal to the tenders of the steam locomotives. A water column was located adjacent to the dock to supply water to the steam locomotive tenders. The structure was in daily use until the 1990’s when the wooden structure on the top of the structure was demolished due to deterioration. Restoration of the dock will be performed to allow it to be supplied both by truck and EBT hopper car. The electrical service will be replaced and the wooden doors and other fixtures will also be restored.
The cost to rehabilitate the interior and exterior of the Coal Dock including structural stabilization, the restoration of the electrical service and adjacent track work is estimated to be $80,000.
Life Safety Upgrade
The anticipated influx of guests visiting the shop complex to experience the wonders of early 20th Century technology presents real challenges. One of those challenges is an effort to bring the shop complex into compliance with various Life Safety Codes that would allow public access into the 120 year old wooden structures. Even though we have undertaken to sprinkler all the buildings in the shop complex, which will protect the physical property, we still have to protect the individual guests from the threat of fire while on the property.
The introduction of emergency lighting, fire alarms, and directional signage needs to be accomplished in a sympathetic manner so as to not compromise the historical fabric of the buildings and the machinery.