Railroads and their development have played a significant role in our region’s history and development.
In Huntingdon County, the restoration and revitalization of the East Broad Top Railroad remains on track.
The East Broad Top in its earliest day in the 1800’s directly tied to the foundation of Pennsylvania’s industrial history it was a coal hauling rail line.
Over the years, there was transformation.
In the 1960’s it became a tourist railroad, with an eye on restoration to preserve the national historic landmark.
At the East Broad Top headquarters at Rockhill furnace, it’s more than just a few rail cars, and track, there’s an entire railroad community with the original maintenance shops and more.
Work continues on bringing back the history.
“We are currently working on restoring one of our 1916 Baldwin locomotives, which we hope to have in service later this year,” Brad Esposito said. “We’re also working on a second locomotive which we hope to have in service in 2022.”
Last year, the East Broad Top foundation bought the railroad, a huge boost on the revitalization effort.
It was back in 1982 when friends of the East Broad Top organization were formed initially for model railroaders. But their role expands with volunteers directly involved in numerous restoration efforts.
“They’re an organization that has membership all over the world,” said Esposito. “We have volunteers that drive from Virginia, Ohio and elsewhere and volunteer their time.”
The East Broad Top revitalization also on another track: Tourism, to tie in with other Huntingdon County attractions, such as Raystown Lake.
“Which we’re very excited to be a part of, to bring this railroad back and the tourist that will come and visit the shops and the Rockhill trolleys. To bring that development to the area and hopefully the economic growth that will come with it.”
That economic growth will continue this month.
July is a busy one at the East Broad Top railroad with several days of train excursions, and the railroad shop tours scheduled in Huntingdon County.