Rockhill Furnace, PA July 2022 – A new passenger coach has been delivered to the historic East Broad Top Railroad, and is the first of four new coaches that were custom built for the line this year. The cars were constructed by Hamilton Manufacturing in Bellingham, Wa. and are being delivered by truck over
the coming months to the recently reopened National Historic Landmark.
“These new cars will give us a solid fleet of reliable passenger equipment and reduce the demand on our vintage wooden fleet,” said Brad Esposito, the East Broad Top’s General Manager. “While not exact replicas of the historic coaches, their overall appearance was carefully designed to ensure that they
look like they belong at our 150-year-old railroad.”
The EBT’s 19th-century passenger coaches are all in various stages of restoration, and visitors currently ride in open-air cars converted from freight cars in the 1960s. The new coaches are an all-steel construction with composite siding to resemble the wood appearance of period equipment. They also feature a finished wood interior, electric lighting, restrooms, large viewing windows and heat which allow passengers to travel comfortably in all weather and seasons. The open-air cars will still be available as an option on most summer and fall excursions, alongside the new enclosed class of service.
The addition of the new passenger cars is a significant milestone in the foundation’s ambitious effort to bring the beloved landmark back into operation.
“The arrival of these new coaches marks another significant step forward to restore and revitalize the East Broad Top,” said EBT Foundation President Wick Moorman. “With their authentic appearance and new seating capacity, they’ll enable us to recreate the experience of a trip on the EBT in years gone by, while saving the original equipment for special occasions which will prolong their life.”
The East Broad Top Railroad is the only original narrow-gauge line (rails only 3’ apart instead of the standard 4’ 8.5”) to survive east of the Rocky Mountains. It was completed in 1874 to service the iron and coal industry along a 33-mile corridor in Central PA. The railroad closed in 1956 and was sold to the Kovalchick family of Indiana, Pa. who reopened the line in 1960 as a steam-powered tourist railroad
until its closure in 2011. The non-profit EBT Foundation acquired the railroad in February of 2020 and kickstarted an unprecedented restoration effort to bring the line back to life. After reopening for regular service in 2021, the EBT is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year with a full schedule of train rides, guided tours, special events and more! For more information, visit: eastbroadtop.com