Empties Southbound #15289

Matted, canvas, & high gloss metal prints available. Questions? Questions?

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The Story

On a sunny Fall day in 1954, a steam engine pulls a train of empty coal hoppers heads south to the Robertsdale mines to be filled again. This narrow gauge freight train is pulled by the East Broad Top Railroad’s #16 steam engine making black smoke. A few cars are parked just before the Runk Road bridge; they must be railfans enjoying the old steam train going by on the long fill heading into Orbisonia.

Over the years, the railroad hauled a lot of coal north on this line followed by the inevitable trip of empties southbound to be refilled at Robertsdale. Those trips added up to well over a million tons of coal hauled by the East Broad Top, one train at a time.

In this 1950s recreation, it’s easy to imagine this train picture as things were back in the East Broad Top’s final years hauling coal before it shut down as a common carrier in 1956. Today, the railroad is a tourist line offering rides behind steam engines on a short section of the refurbished line. On special occasions for photo charters, the railroad will assemble an old freight train like this one for reenactments.

Location: near Orbisonia, Pennsylvania, in Huntingdon County.

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