News & Reviews News Wire East Broad Top announces Winter Spectacular schedule

East Broad Top announces Winter Spectacular schedule

By Dan Cupper | February 4, 2022

| Last updated on March 30, 2024

Rides on M-1 gas-electric car, M-3 motorcar, tours, benefit dinner planned

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Railcar and caboose in front of station building
Gas-electric M-1 will again operate with a caboose during the 2022 East Broad Top Winter Spectacular. Dan Cupper

ROCKHILL FURNACE, Pa. — The EBT Foundation has released the list of activities for its East Broad Top Railroad Winter Spectacular, to be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 18-19.

This is the second Spectacular to be held since the Foundation acquired the historic narrow gauge railroad, a National Historic Landmark, in 2020. Last year’s event was a sellout. Most events take place at, or from, the railroad’s general offices and shop/yard complex here.

The Spectacular was held annually on President’s Day weekend from 1966 to 1981. During that time, EBT ran as many as four of its six Baldwin 2-8-2 Mikado steam engines for photographers and railfans in wintry settings. The Foundation is currently working to restore one of them, No. 16 (built 1916) to operating condition for use during the 2022 season.

The weekend schedule:

Friday, Feb. 18

Two-hour photographers’ event starting at 4:30 p.m., featuring posed scenes with steam engine No. 12 (built 1911), $50.

Saturday, Feb. 19

— Trips with 1926 M-1 gas-electric car and caboose from Rockhill Furnace station to Colgate Grove and return at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. Fare, $24 to $30, depending on adult or child and seating in M-1 or caboose.

Homebuilt, wooden-bodied railcar
A 1928 Nash auto was the starting point for East Broad Top motorcar No. M-3. EBT will offer rides on the M-3 during its Winter Spectacular on Feb. 19. Dan Cupper

— Trips with M-3 motorcar (rebuilt from a 1928 Nash auto) from Rockhill Furnace station to Colgate Grove and return at 12:45 p.m., 2:15 p.m., and 3:45 p.m. (earlier trips sold out). Fare, $25 all ages. Built in the EBT shops, M-3 holds only five passengers and is unheated.

— Master Mechanic’s Roundhouse Tour, 10 a.m., $30.  Two-hour tour with Master Mechanic Dave Domitrovich to visit the eight-stall brick roundhouse and see restoration efforts first-hand. Closed-toe shoes and a signed liability release are required. Note: For the first time at a Winter Spectacular, photography and videography are restricted on certain parts of the tour, specifically on ongoing restoration work. EBT spokesman Jonathan Smith explained that photography of engines and rolling stock not under restoration is still permitted: “Pictures of those are always welcome,” he said. The ban, he said, is intended to allow EBT to “show the public our progress but channel the excitement [over the restoration of engine No. 16] appropriately at the right time.” While four other EBT steam engines (Nos. 12, 14, 15, and 17) have run during the classic tourist era under Kovalchick family ownership (1960-2011), No. 16 has not run since the railroad ended common-carrier operations in 1956.

— Orbisonia Station Tour, 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., $30. This is a first-time public opportunity to see the 1906-built general offices, with EBT General Manager Brad Esposito as tour guide. Included will be visits to the board room, president’s office, archives vault, and engineering office. As with the roundhouse tour, some photography and videography restrictions apply. Important note: This tour will require participants to climb a steep and long set of stairs to reach the second floor. This is not wheelchair accessible and is not recommended for anyone with mobility issues.

— Archives benefit fund-raiser dinner and movie night, 5:30 p.m., $50. This will be held off-site at the Orbisonia-Rockhill Furnace Volunteer Fire Company dining hall at 873 Elliot St., Orbisonia. Archivist Julie Rockwell will describe her work in cataloging the extensive records of EBT and its associated coal-mining company. This will be followed by vintage 16mm color films shot by the late Clarence Weaver of Sunbury, Pa., shown by longtime railroad historian Jeff Pontius, also of Sunbury. Subjects will include EBT, Pennsylvania Railroad, and assorted short lines. Proceeds will benefit the continuing work to document the archives and provide long-term storage, preservation, and eventually, public access.

More info and bookings:

Also on Saturday, Feb. 19, the adjacent Rockhill Trolley Museum will operate its Winter Trolley Spectacular, running historic and modern streetcars on the former EBT Shade Gap Branch, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fare, $15 adults, $10 children. Event staff will also give tours of the museum’s two carbarns at times to be announced. More info and bookings:

Other East Broad Top news

In other news:

— Some piping for a planned fire-suppression system for the shops and roundhouse has been installed. When completed, a water-supply system will be housed in the railroad’s coaling dock at the south end of the shops and yard complex.

— Planning work continues on two fronts, the visitor venue at the current end of track at Colgate Grove, and the eventual reconstruction of a station and water tank at Saltillo, 7.8 miles south of Rockhill Furnace on part of the EBT main line that hasn’t seen regular service since 1956.

— According to Smith, EBT is investigating future ticket options that will include day passes and season passes. Already, the railroad’s ticketing software permits online purchase of rail-trip, shop-tour and trolley-ride fares as a package. This is progress, as not so long ago, EBT accepted cash only.

— The Friends of the East Broad Top continues to raise funds for continued restoration far beyond expectations. As of the end of January, the group had raised $207,865 on its $100,000 goal for 2022.

One thought on “East Broad Top announces Winter Spectacular schedule

  1. I know I have said it before, but this organization, as well as the “Friends” group, are truly astonishing. I am making another donation.

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