News Release – February 5th, 2021

News Release | February 5th, 2021

Discovery of Antique Explosives Prompts Cautious Disposal at Historic Railroad 

During stabilization work this week on a historic East Broad Top Railroad building, EBT Foundation employees discovered five cases of an undetermined material labeled explosives. Work stopped immediately, and company officials conducted an initial investigation, which led to an in-depth analysis by Specialty Professional Services Incorporated (SPSI) of Washington, PA. It was determined that the material in question was probably decayed dynamite, estimated to be 100 years old. This evaluation also concluded that there was no imminent danger to employees or the surrounding community while further planning for its disposal commenced.  

Special Professional Services Inc. then developed a safety plan for disposal, which was reviewed by multiple county and state emergency management officials including Huntingdon County Commissioners, Huntingdon County Emergency Management Authority, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Authority, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Orbisonia Volunteer Fire Department, and SPSI. The EBT Foundation, along with all of these agencies, has coordinated efforts to ensure the safest course of action concerning the community, employees, and our historic structures. 

Remediation and disposal processes are being performed today, February 5th, 2021. The evaluation of our experts is that these processes have a very low risk of any potential hazard. The EBT Foundation would like to thank the various agencies and organization which have assisted us in this effort. 

The East Broad Top Railroad, a National Historic Landmark, is the only original narrow-gauge railroad to survive east of the Rocky Mountains. It was completed in 1874 to service the iron furnaces and coal mines along a 33-mile corridor. The railroad closed in 1956 and was sold to the Kovalchick family, which reopened the line as a steam-powered tourist railroad. The EBT Foundation acquired the railroad in February of 2020 and has begun an extensive restoration effort with the goal of returning to regular service in 2021. 

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