Rust and Dust #14221

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The Story

With special permission, I was able to photograph the old steam locomotives inside the roundhouse at the East Broad Top Railroad. There are six narrow gauge steam locomotives stored in the vintage building. They date from the early 1900s and were the workhorses of the daily railroad operations hauling coal, gannister, iron, timber, and people. Those are all the things that built America through the prime time of Pennsylvania’s industrial heyday of resource extraction.

Using just natural window light and a wide-angle lens set for long exposure, I was able to get a pretty good portrait of this very dusty steam locomotive. It sits with its exhaust stack under the smokejack roof vent above as do all the locomotives there. A piece of plywood covers the stack to keep any rainwater out. New roofing boards can be seen above, evidence of the preservation work done by the caretaking group Friends of the East Broad Top. One of #18’s five sisters sits behind at the next window with the smokebox door open.

As of this writing, these old steam locomotives have been housed inactive under roof for some years since the last short summer tourist trips were run. Now under the management of a new preservation group in 2020, the railroad is being refurbished to run again in tourist operations.  A true throwback in time, the East Broad Top Railroad is a strong tie directly back to Pennsylvania’s industrial past. The thirty-some miles of this little narrow gauge railroad is still in place and the operational state charter still stands. All the maintenance and shop facilities are still there at Rockhill and intact too. Soon the standstill will be over and these narrow gauge engines will have fires lit that will power them to life once again.

To see the other end of things in the roundhouse, see the locomotive tender picture In The Roundhouse #14109. It’s an interesting view taken through the man door leading into the building from the outside.

On the same visit, I made an outdoor panorama of this roundhouse called Stillness In The Roundhouse #14193. The big doors were rolled open and I shot from the weathered wooden deck of the creaky manual turntable. That image shows the tops of the aforementioned smokejacks just above the roofline and the back end of the tenders with their red numbers.

For more information about all things about this little railroad, see the East Broad Top RR’s official website.

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

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