About the Railroad
Q. - Who owns/operates the EBT?
A. - Since 1956, the EBT has been owned by the Kovalchick family of Indiana, PA. In 1960, Nick Kovalchick began the operation of excursion trains. As of 2009, the EBT Preservation Association is begining a three year contract to operate the railroad.
Q. - Has the EBT been sold?
A. - No. The EBT Preservation Association has signed a three year contract to operate the railroad with an option to buy at the end of the three years. The Kovalchick familiy continues to own the EBT and its land.
Q. - Where is the railroad museum?
A. - The East Broad Top is an operating museum. It is a functioning piece of american history with live steam locomotives and equipment. You will not find any "stuffed-and-mounted" displays here.
Q. - How do I volunteer at the railroad?
A. - The EBT is operated by a paid staff of professional railroaders. However, volunteer opportunities do exist with the Friends of the East Broad Top. With the FEBT, you will help to preserve the East Broad Top as a historic railroad landmark.
Q. - Am I allowed to walk around the Rockhill yard and tour the shop complex?
A. - Feel free to walk through the yard at your leisure. Shop tours are given when volunteer guides are available, on special occasions, and for groups of 20 or more. Use extreme causion walking through the rail yard looking out for pits, tripping hazards, and moving rail equipment.
Q. - I see the roundhouse is open. Can I walk in and take a look at the other locomotives?
A. - Visitors are not permitted inside any shop buildings without an official tour guide.
Q. - How far does the track continue into the woods at the end of the line?
A. - At Colgate Grove, the tracks continue north about 5 miles into the town of Mt. Union where they connect to the national rail system. At Rockhill, the tracks extend south about 21 miles to the town of Robertsdale where the coal fields were located. The Friends of the EBT currently occupies and operates a museum out of the former EBT station in Robertsdale.
Q. - Is the trolley museum's track original.
A. - Yes and no. The Rockhill Trolley Museum's demonstration trolley line has been built over the original EBT Shade Gap Branch. The trolley museum's track is standard gauge, and since the road bed was originally narrow gauge, there are some close clearances on the line.
Q. - What is "narrow" gauge?
A. - Gauge is the distance measured between two rails. Narrow gauge, which the EBT operates over, is generally considered any gauge less than standard gauge (4' 8.5"). Narrow gauge was built here because it was cheaper, and tighter curves could be made up the steep mountain grades. Dual gauge (narrow gauge within standard gauge) can be found at at the trolley museum grounds and in the Mt. Union yard.
Q. - When was the line over which I am riding built?
A. - The mainline from Mt. Union to Rockhill, the portion you are riding, was built from 1872 to 1873 and has been in nearly continuous service since then. The railroad south of Rockhill to the coal fields was built 1873 to 1874.
About the Train
Q. - How many crewmen does it take to operate a train?
A. - Four crewmen are required: an engineer, fireman, conductor, and brakeman. The engineer, of course, operates the locomotive. The fireman maintains the fire in the locomotive. Often you will see two firemen in the EBT's locomotive. The conductor is responsible for the train and its passengers. The brakeman assists the conductor with throwing switches and collecting tickets.
Q. - Can I bring my own food and eat on the train? Is there someplace to buy food there?
A. - Yes, you can bring your own food onto the train and have a picnic at Colgate Grove. No food is sold at Colgate Grove but there is normally a food stand in the Rockhill Yard next to the roundhouse. Snacks are available in the gift shop. In addition, there are a few restaurants around town.
Q. - Is there a certain car that allows smoking?
A. - Smoking is not permitted on any of the passenger cars at the East Broad Top, inside the station, or inside any shop buildings.
Q. - Can I bring my dog on the train with me?
A. - Only dogs for the seeing-impaired are permitted aboard the train.
Q. - Can we bring a cooler of beer on the train?
A. - Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the train.
Q. - Is there a restroom on the train?
A. - Yes, however, passengers are not permitted to use them. These restrooms are as old as the cars themselves and do not comply with today's sanitary standards. Modern facilities can be found at the back of Orbisonia station and at the trolley museum grounds.
Q. - While the train is moving, may I change cars or stand on the end platforms?
A. - Passengers are not permitted to pass between cars or stand on the platforms while the train is in motion.
Q. - Which car is the first class car?
A. - Car number 20, named the Orbisonia, is the first class car. It is usually at the rear of the train.
Q. - The open cars do not appear to be original passenger cars. What are they?
A. - #119 and #175 are a flat car and box car respectively. These two were converted for tourist service in 1960. In the mid-1990's four additional flat cars had benches and railings installed and were painted black to increase capacity during special events. In 2008, the FEBT finished converting boxcar #168 into a handicap accessible open-air car.
Q. - When was the equipment I am riding in built?
A. - The combinations and coach 8 were built in 1882 and purchased by the EBT in 1916. The freight cars converted to open passenger cars range from 1916 to 1925. Both cabooses were also built by the EBT in 1920. The first class car, Orbisonia, was built in 1882 and purchased in 1907. The steam locomotives you will see while at the EBT were built by Baldwin from 1911 to 1920. #14 was built in 1912, and #15 in 1914.
Q. - Are cab rides offered?
A. - For insurance reasons, rides in the locomotive cabs are no longer available.