The East Broad Top Railroad

No. 14 backlit
Backlighted by M-7's headlamp, No. 14 waits on the coach track
to pull a night train during the 2002 "Fall Event."

ORBISONIA PICTURES | MAIN LINE PICTURES
MOUNT UNION PICTURES | 2002 FALL EVENT PICTURES
"NOTES FROM ACADEME" COLUMN (1997)
| CHRIS COLEMAN'S E.B.T. WEB PAGES

New! ... EBT hoppers at work in Colorado.

Plus ... photos and video clips from the final weekend of the 2002 season,
pictures from the 2002 Fall Event,
and portraits of the two-span Runks Road truss bridge.

And ... Six short movies, with sound,
pictures from the
2001 Fall Spectacular
pictures from a September 2001 visit to Orbisonia,
pictures from an August 2001 visit,
a photo of No. 3, the surviving standard-gauge switcher, in her stall...
a number of images from the 2000 Fall Spectacular,
photos from the August 12, 2000, celebration of the 40th anniversary of tourist service...
and photos from the old millennium's final weekend of E.B.T. operations, including pictures of
her crew blowing out No. 15 in preparation for winter.

Note: I've removed all but a few of the photos of the 1999 Fall Spectacular.
I've kept the images and the page coding around somewhere, however. Let me know if you're looking
for something in particular and I'll try to dig it up.


The last narrow gauge in the East...

The East Broad Top Railroad is a handsome narrow-gauge line in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. It was built to haul coal from mines around Robertsdale to an interchange with the Pennsylvania Railroad at Mount Union, but it also
carried passengers and general freight. It survived as a common carrier until 1956, when the last of the mines closed -- and by then it was the last narrow-gauge line of any consequence in the eastern United States. It was soon purchased by a scrap dealer, Nick Kovalchick.

Instead of scrapping the three-foot-gauge railroad, however, Mr. Kovalchik kept it intact. He reopened a small portion of it as an excursion line in 1960, and it remains in operation now, offering three trains every Saturday and Sunday from June through October. The East Broad Top's Orbisonia roundhouse shelters four operational Baldwin Mikados, as well as a unique narrow-gauge gas-electric car that was built in the railroad's shops. Two other Mikes are also stored in the roundhouse, while the line's surviving standard-gauge 0-6-0 switcher waits in the enginehouse at Mount Union. The railroad is now owned by Nick Kovalchick's son, Joe Kovalchick.

The excursion trains run over only about five miles of the line, from Orbisonia to a wye built at a former spur. But the entire railroad is still intact, more or less, from Robertsdale to Mount Union. Overgrown in places, its diminutive tracks run through fields, alongside Augwick Creek, and across the front lawns of houses, schools, and businesses. Especially intriguing is the dual-gauge yard at Mount Union, where trees have grown up among long strings of rusting coal hoppers.


EBT Map

The East Broad Top, shown in black on the map, carried coal from mines on Broad Top Mountain (lower left) to an interchange at Mount Union with the Pennsylvania Railroad (in red at the top of the map). The railroad's headquarters and shops were -- and still are -- in Orbisonia. Excursion trains run north from Orbisonia about five miles to a picnic area and wye at Colgate Grove (not shown).