In The Roundhouse #14109

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The Story

Here is a line of old fashioned steam locomotive tenders parked in the roundhouse behind their engines. The large rail doors were open to let light in, and I swung open a man door on the side to let the camera in. These are the backends of narrow gauge steam locomotive tenders that ran on three-foot gauge track. Daily, the engine hostler coming to work very early in the morning would have had this view. It was his roundhouse job to get these steam engines fired up and ready for another workday, then turn them over to the train crews to run.

The roundhouse is on the truly unique East Broad Top Railroad. The building is part of the main shops for the railroad at Rockhill Furnace, PA, which lies next to Orbisonia. I was able to be here by special permission to photograph throughout this original building and others on the property. It’s was fascinating being inside this building where these old machines stay and full of interesting photography to do.

Photographically, shooting inside here is all tripod work with longer than average exposure times too. Everything on the interior is very dark and either some variation of black, rust, or gray. You have to expose carefully to retain enough detail by not choking the darks down to total black.

All the associated railroad maintenance facilities including this roundhouse are still here too. They went relatively unimproved as time went on and eventually the railroad closed, so the place is just as it was used decades ago. Nowadays, these historical trains and shops represent old fashioned railroading in the age of steam and the way things were done in the old days. It’s all still there frozen in time, just as it was.

The East Broad Top ceased commercial operations in 1956. In recent times, a small section of it ran as a summer tourist line but it’s been dormant for several years now. Bonafide ail fans everywhere know of this place and are waiting for yet another miraculous revival to see it run again.

To see what the roundhouse interior looks like at the other end, have a look at Rust And Dust #14221. That image is also a very nice portrait of a steam locomotive to be enjoyed by any railfan.

To see what the roundhouse looks like on the outside, here’s an image called East Broad Top Roundhouse Panorama #14193 showing it with the rail doors open as shot from the EBT’s creaky old turntable.

Would you like to know more about this fallen flag railroad? To visit the organization that has been maintaining this little historical gem through thick and thin, and to find out all things currently concerning this narrow gauge railroad, follow this link to the Friends of the East Broad Top.

Location: Rockhill Furnace, Orbisonia, EBT Shops, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks

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