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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:21 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi,

I wonder if anyone has approached the Kovlachicks about leasing the operational section of the EBT. As revenue is generated, maybe more of the line could be reopened and another lease for the new section taken out.

A lease to buy option maybe?

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:05 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:16 pm
Posts: 30
I live just a few minutes from Nick Kovalchick's office in Indiana, PA, grew up riding the EBT and am a FEBT member who formerly volunteered on the work crews (until my ankle & hip became troublesome). Here are a few ideas I've formulated regarding how to resurrect the EBT.

First, to garner interest from far more people outside the hardcore railroad fan and preservation community Mr. Kovalchick could loan the 0-6-0 at Mr. Union to the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum for display in their roundhouse. Such a display, with information about operational trains and tours of the fantastic EBT shop complex less than an hour away would help drive traffic to the EBT.

Second, rebuild the line out to the concrete bridge at Aughwick with a passing track for the locomotive. The longer ride over "new" track would attract new and former patrons, plus give an opportunity to ask for donations to found rebuilding the historic viaduct. On the return to Orbisonia the train would continue out to the end of the tract restored for the motor cars with another passing track for the diesel. The entire train would no longer need to be wyed at each end and people on the outbound end car would be next to the power inbound. Also, this would decrease wheel wear and the chance for a derailment. The M-7 would be the power until funds a steam locomotive could be rebuilt for operation. Tourists will ride diesel powered trains!

Third, paid shop and roundhouse tours every operating day.

Fourth, and this one is very important-Mr. Kovalchick please sell just the portion of the railroad from the end of the restored track below Orbisonia to the Mt. Union Connecting RR to a new operator. No group or individual wants to purchase the coal rights, the mountain portions of the line and all the ancillary properties. There is no realistic way to return the mountain sections of the EBT to operation. The tunnels have collapsed, the right of way eroded, the bridges deteriorated and the capital needed to correct these issues would not bring in enough revenue to justify the cost. The Orbisonia to Mt. Union EBT is the only viable section.

Fifth, a new operator MUST learn how to use every means available to publicize the EBT. I'm in advertising and have watched the very limited marketing of the EBT over the years with horror. No signs at the Rt 22/522 intersection. No signs on Rt 522 at the Turnpike. No planned social media, internet or search engine marketing. No billboards. No ads in regional travel guides. Just poor visibility in general. As a National Historic Landmark and an Industrial Heritage site, the EBT can get the blue informational signs at the major highway junctions. "East Broad Top Railroad Historic Site 11 Miles" would be the sign at Mt Union. Similar ones after you get off the turnpike- not a big investment either.

Sixth, once the railroad is running bring one of the non-operational Mikados up to Mt. Union for display in the engine house, possibly #16 or 17 and have an occasional photo shoot etc with the engine pulled partway out. Use these to publicize the rebuilding of the line from Orbisonia.

Finally, rebuild either #16 or 17 to operation instead of the two engines which have been in service since on the EBT since the 1960's. Different power will help attract more people.


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:59 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:27 pm
Posts: 40
That sounds like a very well thought out plan!

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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:26 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 46
The multiple "tourists will ride diesel" or "don't care what's pulling" is true in certain markets but doesn't apply to the East Broad Top in my opinion. East Broad Top is not in a tourist area, it needs to be a destination for people interested in history and railroads. That doesn't mean I'm suggesting it needs to be marketed only to serious railfans, but the history needs to be the primary reason. If it's just to "ride a train" there are many more easy to get to train rides much easier to access than the East Broad Top.

With a few unique exceptions, steam operations attract more annual ridership than diesel operations.

Can the EBT start out without steam? Of course, and I would be happy to see it operate in any capacity. But to suggest it won't matter to their customer base is VERY off in my opinion.

Even with a diesel pulling the train, the EBT has much to offer historically speaking. The roundhouse, the dual gauge, the history of the line....


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5251
Location: southeastern USA
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
Even with a diesel pulling the train, the EBT has much to offer historically speaking. The roundhouse, the dual gauge, the history of the line....


All of which is preaching to the choir.

EBT will either need to be purchased and operated as a nonprofit historic site by a public or institutional buyer, or developed into a venue for tourism - which will bring in a broader range of people but dilute the "speciality" of the time capsule nature of the whole valley.

People interested in historic railways and industrial history already haven't proven enough to sustain it as a private operation that has to pay its own way.

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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 46
Dave wrote:
People interested in historic railways and industrial history already haven't proven enough to sustain it as a private operation that has to pay its own way.


If only it were that simple....


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:07 pm
Posts: 640
As to the alleged value of the remaining coal reserves:

Is the sulfur content such that it is legally sellable today?

Are the seams difficult and discontinuous, making mining expensive without resorting to strip mining?

That little if any of it has been mined since 1956 would suggest negative answers to these questions.

Are there sources for knowledgeable answers?


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi,

According to East Broad Top by Rainey & Kyper, "However, the company saw no way to mechanize the sprawling mines due to the broken nature of the Broad Top coal seams, and thus it became increasingly difficult for the company to match the efficiency of the larger collieries.

"Since large scale mechanization was possible in the strip mines, they began to provide a larger share of RC Co. output. In 1949, an immense power dragline shovel was put into operation ..."

"Aided by the huge dragline and other power equipment, 70 men working the stripping operations in 1949 produced more coal than the 383 miners still assigned to the deep mines.

"Shortly thereafter, the deep mines began to be phased out."

From page 174.

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:37 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:16 pm
Posts: 30
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
The multiple "tourists will ride diesel" or "don't care what's pulling" is true in certain markets but doesn't apply to the East Broad Top in my opinion. East Broad Top is not in a tourist area, it needs to be a destination for people interested in history and railroads. That doesn't mean I'm suggesting it needs to be marketed only to serious railfans, but the history needs to be the primary reason. If it's just to "ride a train" there are many more easy to get to train rides much easier to access than the East Broad Top.

With a few unique exceptions, steam operations attract more annual ridership than diesel operations.

Can the EBT start out without steam? Of course, and I would be happy to see it operate in any capacity. But to suggest it won't matter to their customer base is VERY off in my opinion.

Even with a diesel pulling the train, the EBT has much to offer historically speaking. The roundhouse, the dual gauge, the history of the line....


I wasn’t saying that tourists don’t care about steam, the Everett RR and Western Maryland Scenic definitely draw more riders when they run steam. My point was to use the diesel to get the EBT running by a new operator while they work on the physical plant and additional financing. Unfortunately, as long as the sale of the EBT must include all its “assets” no individual or group is going to buy it.


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:19 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2073
The D&RGW narrow gauge seems to do fine, people will spend for vacations, if you can make it a decent vacation spot and ride, thats your cue. Don't sell to any political arena where opinions can push it around. Is there a map of the line with details of tunnels and conditions, etc of the line?


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 950
No one has mentioned the fact that there is virtually no infrastructure in the Orbisonia area to support tourism. No motels, no fast food franchises, etc. I know, I know -- there is none of that around Cass, either.


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:27 pm
Posts: 40
I agree there is no tourist infrastructure in Orbisonia but it is 75 minutes from both Harrisburg and Hagerstown. Cass has changed in that it has the company houses, the restaurant, plus there is the Snowshoe ski resort nearby so it's not as remote as it used to be.

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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:52 pm
Posts: 103
Location: Pittsburgh
"Is there a map of the line with details of tunnels and conditions, etc of the line?"

https://archive.org/download/studyofalt ... 00btop.pdf

/s/ Larry
Lawrence G. Lovejoy, P.E.


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:30 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 1:24 pm
Posts: 348
meixel wrote:
I agree there is no tourist infrastructure in Orbisonia but it is 75 minutes from both Harrisburg and Hagerstown. Cass has changed in that it has the company houses, the restaurant, plus there is the Snowshoe ski resort nearby so it's not as remote as it used to be.


....and there is a Dollar General in the Cass vicinity. Civilization!


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top owner trying to sell railroad in one piec
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 9:27 pm
Posts: 67
Orbisonia is also about an hour's drive from Altoona, and even less than that from State College, both of which have all of the amenities.


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