The story of a railroad extends beyond its locomotives and cars. It includes the buildings, facilities, machines, tools, and people that maintained it and kept it operational. Because the East Broad Top Railroad is narrow-gauge, it required its own facilities to maintain its equipment, and thanks to extensive restoration and preservation efforts, it all still remains intact today.
You’ll see a demonstration of the stationary steam engine that powers the shop machinery through an overhead system of lineshafts and belts, and learn how the shop crews built hopper cars and rebuilt locomotives. You’ll also see work underway now on two of the railroad’s six Baldwin steam locomotives, as well as repairs to 19th-century passenger equipment.
Any trip to the EBT is not complete without the context and history that the machine shops can provide.
Stop #1 – The Freight Office
Shop tours will begin at the original Freight Office for the East Broad Top Railroad. Arrive a bit early and enjoy a selection of displays and artifacts from the railroad’s past. Your tour guide will then give you an overview of the railroad’s history, setting up context for the buildings you will see and the stories you will hear over the next hour.
Stop #2 – The Roundhouse
The heart of any steam-powered railroad is the roundhouse. This building is the oldest railroad constructed facility on property, with portions of it dating back to 1874. As the railroad expanded, the roundhouse grew in size. The roundhouse is where locomotives were stored, prepared for their days’ work, and where minor maintenance and inspections were performed. Today, it is the hub of our locomotive restoration efforts, and still houses all six of our steam locomotives, among several other antique pieces of equipment.
Stop #3 – The Stone House
The stone house is our oldest building. Indeed, there is much evidence that it is considerably older than the railroad itself. It was apparently already in place when the Rockhill Iron and Coal Co. acquired all the property that is now the yard and the trolley museum to construct the new furnaces and the EBT facilities.
The railroad used the stone house as the office for the master mechanic – the official in charge of all the work in the shops. A portion of the building and the adjacent storehouses were used for what is essentially an enormous hardware store – bin after bin of rivets, bolts, nuts, and all the other parts needed to maintain a narrow-gauge railroad. Part of the fun of working or volunteering here is that we often recondition cars in the shops where they were built a century ago, using original spare parts from the stone house that are still in stock!
Stop #4 – The Machine Shop
In its working life, the machine shop complex kept the railroad rolling. Skilled machinists repaired locomotives and rolling stock, they even fabricated a large portion of the EBT’s freight cars on site. Every machine was powered by a stationary steam engine through an elaborate working of overhead belts and line shafts. In preservation, this intact facility is one of the few remaining sites like it anywhere in the country.
Tours will run every day that trains are operating
Duration – One Hour
Enhance Your Trip
Enjoy a one-hour excursion through the scenic Aughwick Valley pulled by our vintage M-7 diesel locomotive. Relive the East Broad Top Railroad’s humble “tourist era” beginnings.
Enjoy a nostalgic tour aboard an antique electric streetcar past historic industrial ruins and steep mountain narrows alongside the picturesque Blacklog Creek at the Rockhill Trolley Museum.