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Left: #6 from the front in Connersville.
Right: #6 from the rear in Connersville.
EBT #6 is a Baldwin 0-6-0 switcher, built in 1907 for switching in the EBT's dual gauge Mount Union yard. #6 was a standard but outdated design including a lap seam boiler and Stevenson valve gear. Despite being outdated, it was likely less costly and simpler to maintain when compared to more modern locomotives. Joined in 1923 by a much larger and more up to date 0-6-0, #3, #6 operated until the end of common carrier service on the EBT, earning a reputation for being slippery and a bit underpowered. #6 and #3 sat in the Mount Union enginehouse until 1975, when, under unknown conditions, #6 was sold to the Whitewater Valley Railroad in Connersville, IN to replace some undersized Heislers they had been using.
#6 was operated there without major overhaul until about 1982, when the boiler was to be serviced, including a flue replacement. The intent was to run the locomotive the following season. Once the tubes were out and the boiler inspected, including a full asbestos and jacket removal, a number of firebox sheet defects were found. New sheets needed to be made.
In 1983-4, at risk of losing their home, the Whitewater Valley pushed through a court ordered purchase plan of the line on which they operated. The resulting mortgage used a considerable amount of available funds and work on #6 was consequently pushed back. Available locomotive funds were used on #100, their larger Prairie steamer which was purchased after #6 due to performance problems with the 0-6-0. Operation and maintenance of #100 used all locomotive funds. Eventually, the passage of a revised Indiana boiler code effectively outlawed #100's lap-seam boiler. This necessitated sidelining that locomotive and the starting of a boiler replacement project for it. The project cost well beyond the expected price and took several years to complete. Meanwhile, #6 waited for available funds which never became available. Her boiler was also effectively outlawed in Indiana by the same law that sidelined #100. After completion of the new welded boiler for #100, problems were found with the construction which had to be corrected.
While that work was progressing, a boiler failure well known in steam operation circles occurred at the Gettysburg Railroad in Pennsylvania. As a result of that incident, the FRA effectively extended its reach over all steam locomotive operators. The FRA steam locomotive regulations drafted in the wake of the Gettysburg incident, which would now apply to the WV, necessitated additional changes to the new boiler. As of this writing the boiler modifications are not completed.
In the meantime, #6 has remained in outdoor storage, partially dismantled. She is lacking her bell, air pump, boiler lagging, cab, grates, head and rear lights, dynamo, piping and some backhead components. They are reportedly all in storage or in use on other locomotives. Her wood parts, mainly the pilot and rear beams, are rotted out and some steel parts have rusted seriously.
Currently, the frame, boiler, cylinders, steam and sand domes, stack, wheels, rods, valve gear, tender, air tank, cab deck, coupler gear and some backhead appliances remain together and in storage in WVRR's yard. A reproduction wooden cab has been fabricated and is in indoor storage.
Reportedly, the Whitewater Valley Railroad has officially offered EBT Switcher #6 to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania for $15,000.00 . This is half the price asked several years ago when the FEBT investigated the possibility. The Whitewater Valley purchased the locomotive from the EBT in 1975 and operated her for several years. She has been idle for more than 15 years now.
According to sources at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the museum has turned down the Whitewater Valley's offer for the sale of the locomotive. Friends of the East Broad Top, who had first right of refusal on purchase of the locomotive, declined to purchase it early last year due to the cost and lack of a place to store the locomotive. FEBT encouraged the Whitewater Valley to open talks with the RRMPA. RRMPA cited the cost of the locomotive considering its dilapidated condition, transportation costs, and plethera of other restoration projects the museum already had backlogged as the reason for their decision. They indicated that they would be willing to accept the locomotive as a donation from either the Whitewater Valley or a third party, but were not interested in it as a loan.
It is presently unclear if any interchange is occuring concerning the locomotive, but it does not appear so. It seems that unless a benefactor purchases the loco for donation to the RRMPA, #6 will be in Indiana for a while yet.
After some e-mail trading with Mr. David Farlow, WVRR CMO, I have been able to gather some more information regarding the disposition of EBT #6 and her possible direction in the future.
The WVRR has offered this engine to qualified buyers under various terms in the past and will continue to do so until the right situation is found. A number of offers have been made for the locomotive, some including moves to Iowa, Colorado, Texas, and other destinations. These vary from the intention to operate to display at a depot to 'no idea but want a locomotive'.
If the money for the paint or lumber, for example, becomes available from sources outside the WVRR's budget, it would surely be used on #6. The painting, labor, and similar work would be done by one or more WVRR volunteers. Many in the group would like to see #6 in better shape.
The Whitewater Valley Railroad has separate funds for it's different projects. #6 has a specific fund for it's needs. Readers interested in the well being of EBT #6 are encouraged to make a generous donation into the #6 fund. Address donations to:Whitewater Valley Railroad
Attn. Treasurer: EBT #6 Fund
Post Office Box 406
(455 Market Street [for UPS] )
Connersville, IN 47331
WV is a 501(c)3 and donations are tax deductible. Also note the EBT #6 fund on your check.
Protective paint is probably the first order of business that would be pursued with donated funds. Perhaps the largest single cost items are replacement timber beams at the front of the locomotive and rear of the tender. These are where the couplers and other appliances attach to the frame. Beyond that, the WVRR has a certified welding shop which could cut out and repair the steel in the bottom of the smokebox that would be done if funding allowed. The Whitewater Valley's goal would be to both make the engine more presentable and to stabilize it from further deterioration, not operation. If funds allowed it at some point in the future, WVRR might be able to build a shelter for #6. Until it could be put under cover, they would prefer not to install the replacement wood cab.
Additionally, the owner of this site is investigating the possibility of putting together a work crew to perform basic preventative work on #6 such as rust abatement, priming, painting and general cleanup. If you or someone you know is interested in taking part in such work or providing funding please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this point such work is only being proposed and is not affiliated with the EBT or FEBT (although that could change if successful).
Rumors around EBT circles have been rising since Spring 2002 of an impending change of address for #6. The Whitewater Valley has been looking for a good home for the locomotive in exchange for needed capital or equipment. The rumor tells that #6 is to be traded to the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum in Hagerstown, MD, for a restorable diesel locomotive. The logic of such a trade is rather perplexing on Whitewater's side as they already have several diesels on site. However they have a 2-8-2 steam locomotive that is possible to operate again, which is more than can be said for #6. The Hagerstown group formed in 1997 in an attempt to save the CSX owned 25-stall Western Maryland Railway Hagerstown roundhouse. The roundhouse was demolished in 1999 when wrangling over environmental liability hampered an agreement. The group has moved on with new goals and has four diesel locomotives, a trolley and nine pieces of rolling stock in their collection.
Mail to WWV on the subject was promptly responded to. There is not a trade with the Hagerstown group in the works, however WWV has been in very preliminary talks with the HRM about #6. There was no talk of a trade for diesels. The locomotives at the HRM are an EMD model 40, 2 Alco MRS1ís, and a WM Baldwin VO 1000 diesel. The MRS1's are both operable and apparently the subject of a lease to a third party unrelated to the WWV. With no steam locomotives in their collection and the opportunity to acquire one from a line less than 100 miles from Hagerstown, such a deal makes sense for the Hagerstown group. As of this writing there is no indication of whether the talk over this transfer has reached a more advanced stage or not.
As for this webmasters attemps to get together a group to perform some work on the locomotive, not much has come of that either. Responses to this page offering volunteer work has amounted to only one. Additionally with the beginning of Friends of the East Broad Top volunteer work in Rockhill Furnace, in which I and other EBT supporters have become deeply involved, there has been neither the time or the manpower to mount a serious effort on #6. Still I am hopefull that the resources will become available. If you or someone you know is interested in taking part in such work or providing funding please contact me at email@example.com.