EBT Herald The East Broad Top Railroad FAQ

Is it Broad Top or Broadtop?

The railroad is named after Broad Top Mountain, so it is Broad Top.

I thought the line was only 5 or 10 miles long.

5 miles are in operation making a 10 mile round trip excursion. 6 more miles to the north and 22 to the south are intact including all bridges and tunnels and many structures. They have not been used since the early 1960's.

Why don't they just fix it all up?

The current owner cannot afford to restore the remainder of the line since the railroad has not operated in the black since they purchased it. Only basic maintenance is done to the buildings on the active section, none to those on the dormant sections. For full restoration of the railroad a large initial investment needs to be made to upgrade the existing infrastucture. Monies are available for this investment, but are largely limited to non-profit organization ventures.

So the $30 million PA has set aside would take care of it?

No. The $30 million was authorized by the Pennsylvania legislature, essentially saying "yes you are allowed to spend the money". The money must be re-authorized each year. To put the money to work in the EBT, three things must happen. First the money must be appropriated by the Pennsylvania Governor, essentially matching up the money to be spent with some real monetary source, such as state bonds. This has been the focus of a letter writing campaign of the past 18 months or so.

Second, the grant is NOT for the purchase but rather for the restoration of the railroad. The non-profit trust must exist and have title to the railroad. Whether the monies are potentially available to the for-profit EBT is unknown, but unlikely.

Third, the money is a matching grant. One dollar becomes available for each dollar raised from other qualifying sources. The Full Steam Ahead study identified almost $50 million of potential matching funding.

As such the monies 'pleged' by the state government are unusable until sucha time as a nonprofit owns the EBT and begins raising funds.

What about the TEA-21 Monies?

In early 1999 Kovalchick Salvage submitted an application for TEA-21 (Transportation Enhancement Act for the 21st Century) monies for the second of two rounds of TEA-21 dispursments. from the Federal governmant

So what is the current state of preservation efforts?

The East Broad Top Coalition was in negotiations with Kovalchick Salvage Co. throughout 1997 to acquire a purchase option on the railroad. If such an option had been secured, the HCBIC would have created the East Broad Top Railroad Trust and began fundraising efforts toward the acquisition of the railroad. At last report the EBTC had made an offer (amount unknown) which was declined by Kovalchick Salvage Co. This remains unconfirmed and there appears to have been no further talks in since 1998

For the immediate future it seems ownership will remain with Kovalchick Salvage Co. and operations will continue at their discretion.

What is clear is that the Conrail spur in Mount Union, which Kovalchick Salvage Co. purchased recently, has been leased to a group of investors who have organized the Mount Union Central Railroad with the stated intention of providing service as far as the Riverview Business Center. More info on that is available.

As some have observed there seems to be a shift to longer term viability on the operating railroad. Repairs seem to be more prompt and permanent. In summary, the future of the EBT is uncertain, but things are in progress that will affect its future.

I wish to make a monetary contribution to the effort. Where can I send it?

The East Broad Top Development Fund collects funding for the continued operation and development of the East Broad Top Railroad.

The Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc. operates the FEBT Restoration fund. The fund supplies monies directly to FEBT restoration projects on EBT historic structures and equipment. Past projects include the EBT Robertsdale Station and the last remaining EBT handcar. Current projects include the RI&C Company Post Office in Robertsdale and EBT Combine Passenger Car #16.

The Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc. also collects funds to purchase a block of tickets from the railroad to give to first time riders of the railroad. This serves to spread awareness of the railroad and to provide additional financial support to railroad operations.

Is the FEBT part of the EBT?

No. The FEBT is a separate non-profit organization. FEBT periodically works with the operating EBT, but focuses much of its effort on other EBT remnants and EBT historical reserach.

Is this page part of the FEBT or EBT?

Neither. This site is an independent effort of an individual. It is not approved or sanctioned by either the EBT or FEBT.

Do EBT trains run during the week?

Not on a regular schedule. Weekday trains ended several years ago due to the increasingly fragile nature of the equipment. Charter trains do sometimes run during the week, but they are not open to the public.

What are the dates for the XXXX Fall Spectacular

The Spectacular is always on the Saturday and Sunday in October before Columbus Day. For "bank holiday" purposes, Columbus Day is always the second Monday in October.

Why don't they run the other two locomotives?

#16 and #18 are both of the largest class of locomotives in the roster and wear the track more than the lighter locomotives. #17, of that same class, was the last narrow gauge locomotive to operate at the end of operations making her the best candidate for reoperation. Even she only comes out as third backup and during the Fall Spectacular. Also, since the 'paperwork' on the boilers of the dormant locomotives has long expired they would have to be recertified, a costly procedure.

Additionally, #18 broke down near the end of operations and it is unknown if she was fixed before the end. #16 on the other hand, was rebuilt shortly before the end and is a prime candidate for reoperation.

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