Mile Mark: 0.60
Date Built: 1924
Published Photos: EBT 130, 144, 145, 149, 189, 213; AEBT 88, 92, 94
The Timber Transfer was built to transfer the lumber from the McKelvey logging operations in Rockhill from narrow gauge cars to standard gauge cars. At the end of logging operations the crane stood unused until the EBT started using it to retruck standard gauge cars with narrow gauge trucks for movement on the EBT. The process formally began in 1933, but it was likely done informally prior to that. With the addition of a cast aluminum coupler adapter the cars could travel normally along the EBT, so long as clearances permitted. Most of the concrete for the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Tuscorora Tunnel traveled down the Shade Gap Branch in this way. Covered hoppers and gondolas made the transition, but most were boxcars.
The crane was construced of a riveted steel i-beam frame on two concrete foundations. At the top of the structure was a hoist which rolled back and forth in the top enclosure on flanged wheel and rail. The enclosure was simple wood planking covered with a corrugated steel roof. It had two unprotected window openings on either side, a peaked roof and no floor. A controler's booth similarly constructed was below the crane enclosure attached on the outside of the west leg. It had a window opening facing the two tracks for the crane operator.
When the crane was pressed into service for retrucking railcars, the crane was reinforced with additional diagonal bracing struts at both the base and between the legs and the craneway. The enclosure was given proper glass windows and was painted "EAST BROAD TOP RAILROAD TIMBER TRANSFER". It was also given two gantries on its west side to lift trucks off the track for storage. These were later removed after crews started using two short track spurs that the trucks were wheeled onto. A small office was also added beside the west leg and an old EBT wood frame boxcar was used there for storage, possibly of the coupler adapters.
After years of neglect, by the early 1970's the sheathing was falling off the crane and the wind had pealed back the roofing. The crane was scrapped in 1979 and the office and boxcar remained in place until they rotted away. Both footings and the west strut bases remain of the crane. The boxcar wood frame remains and steel hardware are laying nearby.
The Mount Union Connecting Railroad partially cleared the west siding at the Timber Transfer site with the intention to use it for storage, but a different siding was chosen instead.
HAER info at the Library of Congess site> (With general EBT info)
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