EBT Herald East Broad Top Railroad Timeline

This is a timeline of various events significant in the history of the EBT. If you have information to add to this timeline please mail it to me.

Last Updated: 11/21/2008

The EBT in Narrow Gauge History

1832Festiniog Railway Incorporated
1856East Broad Top Chartered
1863Festiniog Railway converts to Steam (23.5")
1865Talyllyn Railway Incorporated
1865 - 1866Talyllyn Railway Consructed (2'3")
1872 - 1874East Broad Top Railroad built
1875 - 1886South Pacific Coast Railroad built
1881Colorado Central completes what is now the Georgetown Loop
1881D&RG San Juan Extention (part later the Cumbres and Toltec) completed
1882D&RG Silverton Branch (later the Durango and Silverton) completed
1882Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina completed
1889 - 1891Rio Grande Southern Railway built
1890 - 1896Sumpter Valley completed to Sumpter
1900White Pass and Yukon Route completed
1922Imperial Company line (later US Gypsum Railroad) completed
1923Welsh Highland opens (23.5")
Puffing Billy Railway opens (2'6")
1932US Potash Railroad opens
1937Welsh Highland closes
1941Welsh Highland scrapped
1946Festiniog Railway closes
1947Sumpter Valley Railway scrapped
1950Talyllyn Railway closes
1951Rio Grande Southern Railway closes
1954Puffing Billy Railway closes
1956East Broad Top ends common carrier service
1968D&RG San Juan Extention service ends
1973US Potash Railroad abandoned
1982White Pass and Yukon suspends service
1951Talyllyn Railway reopens
1955Festiniog Railway reopens
1960East Broad Top begins excursion service
1961Welsh Highland reconstruction begins
1962Puffing Billy Railway reopens
1973 - 1984Georgetown Loop reconstruction
1971Cumbres and Toltec begins excursion service
1971Sumpter Valley Railway reconstruction begins
1981D&RG Silverton Branch purchased for excursion service
1987Welsh Highland reopens
1988White Pass and Yukon begins excursion service

Events at the EBT

ca. 1786Bedford Furnace built
ca. 1800First Broad Top coal marketed
early 1831Rockhill furnace no. 1 opened (charcoal powered)
6/6/1850First Pennsylvania Railroad run into Mount Union
2/1850Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad opened
4/16/1856East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Co. incorporated
1867Orbisonia house built (later became the EBT shops office)
ca. 1870Rockhill Iron & Coal Co. formed
7/31/1871East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Co. incorporated
1871East Broad Top Coal and Iron Co. Established
6/6/1872Decision to build East Broad Top Railroad to gauge 36"
9/10/1872Rockhill Iron and Coal Co. Incorporated (3/1872?)
9/16/1872East Broad Top Railroad construction begun at Mount Union
early 1873First locomotives arrive: nos. 1, "E.D. Roberts," and 2, "R.D. Wood"
8/30/1873Mount Union-Rockhill Furnace section of line opened - 11 miles
1873Robertsdale founded by Rockhill Iron and Coal Co. Named after Allerton and Edward Roberts
9/23/1874First East Broad Top Railroad train from Mount Union to Robertsdale - 30 miles
10/15/1874 - 10/18/1874Official East Broad Top Railroad opening celebrations
11/4/1874First regular East Broad Top Railroad train
1/1876Rockhill Furnace no. 2 opens (coke powered)
6/9/1876First fatality on East Broad Top Railroad
6/17/1879First fatal East Broad Top accident
1882Construction begun on Rockhill Furnace roundhouse
2/23/1884Shade Gap Railroad incorporated
1885East Broad Top Railroad and Rockhill Iron and Coal Co. default on bond payments
1/1/1885Shade Gap Railroad opened
1890EBT Locomotive no. 1 transferred to RI&C
1891Woodvale founded by Rockhill Iron and Coal Co. Named after Richard Wood
ca. 1895Locomotives nos. 4 and 5 taken out of service
2/1900First silica brick factory, W.H. Haws Fire Brick Co. (later Harbison Walker) opens in Mount Union
8/1900Locomotives no. 6 "Addie" and "??? Thomas" disposed of
11/27/1901Mount Union Silica Brick Co. opens in Mount Union
12/1901Locomotive 2nd no. 4, "Cromwell," acquired
1902Locomotive 2nd no. 6 acquired
10/27/1903R.S. Seibert elected President of both East Broad Top Railroad and Rockhill Iron and Coal companies
late 1906Orbisonia station completed
1907Pennsylvania bypass around Mount Union opened
9/1907Car no. 20, "Orbisonia," acquired from Big Level & Kinzua Railroad
3/1908Famous runaway caboose incident
9/11/1908Fire destroyes paint and boiler shops
ca. 1909Shed roof over platform added to Orbisonia depot
11/8/1909Shade Gap Branch opened to Neelyton
ca. 1909Rockhill iron furnaces close for last time
12/1911Locomotive #12, first EBT 2-8-2, built by Baldwin
1912Mount Union Refractories (later NARCo) opens: East Broad Top Railroad begins hauling ganister in commercial quantities
10/1912Locomotive #14 built by Baldwin
1913EBT orders first narrow gauge steel hoppers
5/23/1913R.S. Seibert dies
12/22/1913Shade Gap and Rocky Ridge railroads combine with East Broad Top Railroad
2/1914Locomotive #15 built by Baldwin
1914Robertsdale depot constructed
1915Aetna powder plant construction started
1916Coles Valley Branch opened
1916United States enters World War I
1916Locomotive #16 built by Baldwin
1916Peak East Broad Top Railroad mileage: 53 miles of main and branch lines. Railroad extended to Alvan
1916Six ex-Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad passenger cars acquired by East Broad Top Railroad - nos. 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15
1/1/1918 - 6/22/1918East Broad Top Railroad under United States Railway Administration control
3/1918Locomotive #17 built by Baldwin
11/1/1919Rockhill Iron and Coal purchased by Madeira, Hill
1920Rockhill Iron and Coal Co. combined with Shantung Coal Co. to create Rockhill Coal and Iron Co.
1920Cabooses nos. 27 and 28 built
8/1920Locomotive #18 built by Baldwin
1922Locomotive 2nd no. 3 disposed of
1923East Broad Top Railroad acquires last new steam locomotive: 3rd #3
1924Timber Transfer completed at Mount Union
10/1/1925Rockhill Coal and Iron opens sand floatation coal cleaning plant at Mount Union
1/6/1927Motorcar no. M-1 put into service. Passenger car no. 8 equipped with roller bearings to serve as trailer
7/1927Motorcar no. M-2 put into service
1928Rockhill Coal and Iron Co. bankrupt
ca. 1928Motorcar no. M-3 put into service
mid 1928East Broad Top Transit Co. organized
12/1929M-2 retired
4/10/1933Operation of standard-gauge freight cars in interchange on narrow-gauge trucks formally begun
7/1933East Broad Top Transit Co. Orbisonia garage burned
12/31/1934Locomotive 2nd #4, "Cromwell," retired
mid 1935Regular train service on Shade Gap Branch discontinued
5/3/1936First organized railfan trip over East Broad Top Railroad
8/24/1938Rockhill Coal Co. formed as successor to R. C. &I. Co.
8/30/1938Rockhill Coal & Iron Co. assets foreclosed and sold at auction
9/1/1938Rockhill Coal Co. incorporated
1940Evanston (Rocky Ridge) Branch abandoned
1940Stanton Spur abandoned
5/9/1940Second organized railfan trip over East Broad Top Railroad
12/8/1941United States enters World War II
early 1942Narco Branch constructed
8/1942Passenger car no. 11 sold to U.S. Navy
1/24/1943Shade Gap - Branch to Neelyton abandoned and subsequently dismantled
4/30/1943Locomotives nos. 2nd #5 and #11 retired and sold
12/22/1943Shade Gap Railroad consolidated into East Broad Top Railroad
10/6/1946First postwar railfan trip
early 1948Shade Gap Branch cut back to Black Log
6/24/1951Seventh, and final, East Broad Top Railroad Railfan trip of common carrier era
1953Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad abandoned
1954Passenger car no.24 sold to ALCOA
8/15/1954Passenger service discontinued
1955Coles Valley Branch dismantled
11/30/1955East Broad Top Railroad files for abandonment
2/16/1956Authority to abandon East Broad Top Railroad granted by ICC
3/23/1956Last day of two-train operation
4/2/1956Federal Public Utilities Commission grants authorization to abandon East Broad Top Railroad
4/6/1956Last revenue East Broad Top Railroad freight train: locomotive no. 17 to Saltillo and Mt. Union
4/13/1956Locomotive no. 3 operated for last time
5/1/1956Rockhill Coal Co. assets including East Broad Top Railroad sold to Kovalchick Salvage Co.
ca. 1957Narco and Shade Gap branches dismantled
1/10/1958Rockhill Coal Co. fully consolidated into Kovalchick Salvage Co.
1959Two flat cars sold to "Tweetsie" - East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad
6/6/1960Locomotive #12 reoperated
1960Locomotive #15 reoperated
8/13/1960East Broad Top Railroad reopened for tourist service
1961EBT begins regular tourist service, operation extended to new wye at Colegate Grove
7/6/1963Railways to Yesterday's Rockhill Trolley Museum opens
1963Proposal to locate Pennsylvania State Railroad Museum at Mount Union
8/15/1964East Broad Top Railroad designated as National Historic Landmark
1968Fifteen hopper cars from Mount Union Yard sold to White Pass and Yukon Railroad
1972Hurricane Agnes causes several washouts on the EBT
1977Nick Kovalchick dies, Joseph Kovalchick assumes presidency
1979Mount Union coal processing plant and Timber Transfer scrapped
2/1981Final Winter Spectacular
early 1982Four Hopper cars sold to Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
1982Friends of the East Broad Top organized
1986Robertsdale depot leased to FEBT, FEBT purchases Robertsdale Old Post Office
1987Saltillo tankhouse burned
6/1987 - 8/1987Locomotive #14 rebuilt and returned to service
1988Americas Industrial Heritage Project created
1988East Broad Top Railroad operating schedule reduced
6/1989NPS task directive authorizes East Broad Top Railroad Study of Alternatives
1989C. Roy Wilburn retires as operating VP, succeeded by Stanley Hall
8/31/1991C. Roy Wilburn dies
9/1994EBT announces it will not operate in 1995 without additional funds
9/1995Full Steam Ahead restoration outline released
4/1996Floods cause moderate damage to operating railroad
10/1997Announced that Nathan Kovalchick will begin assuming operations of Kovalchick Salvage
1998Kovalchick Salvage purchases the Conrail spur in Mount Union, Mount Union Connecting Railroad formed
3/1999EBT owners propose donating Rockill Shop to a nonprofit as part of a Transportation Enhancement Act 21 funds application
5/1999TEA21 application approved, EBT added to Allegheny Ridge State Historic Park
5/2000Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad purchases five hoppers and removes them from the Mount Union yard
8/12/2000EBT celebrates 40 years of excursion service
3/2001Pine Creek Railroad purchases two hoppers and removes only their trucks and brake gear form Mount Union
3/8/2001Railways to Yesterday announces plans to extend the Shade Gap Electric Railway by October
3/2001Mount Union Connecting begins track rebuilding in Mount Union

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