The East Broad Top Railroad & Coal Company was chartered April of 1856 to
transport coal from the mines of Broad Top Mountain in Pennsylvania. It
actually began Operations fifteen years later when the Rockhill Iron & Coal
Company was incorporated. The line, a three-foot narrow gauge road, was opened
from Mt. Union, PA to Rockhill Furnace, PA in August of 1873, and later it was
run to Rockhill Mine No 1 near Robertsdale, PA. In 1891, the tracks were
extended to a new mine at Woodvale, PA. Trains ran daily to Mt. Union where
coal was transferred to the standard gauge cars of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
At Rockhill, PA, the company built its shops and engine house. As the railroad
prospered, passenger service was expanded to include public excursions as well
as transport of miners. A new office building and a passenger station, which
bears the name of the neighboring town of Orbisonia, PA was constructed.
In 1919, the EBT was purchased by Madeira, Hill & Company. At Mt. Union, it
established a coal cleaning plant and a timber transfer. The timber transfer
was used to transfer wood from narrow to standard gauge cars. Later they
changed the trucks under standard gauge cars and moved these modified cars over
the EBT rails and after returning to Mt. Union the standard gauge trucks were
After World War II the need for coal diminished and the EBT began to experience
financial difficulty and it closed down in April of 1956.
Soon after closing, the Kovalchick Salvage Company of Indiana, PA bought the
railroad and all its assets. In 1960, it restored passenger service. Today, EBT
is open to tourists on Saturdays and Sundays from the first weekend in June
through the last weekend in October. Steam trains depart Orbisonia, Station at
11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm.
The EBT bought a total of six "Mikado" type locomotive during it time as an
operating railroad. All six came from the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The first
was received in 1911 and was assigned road number 12. It had 48" diameter
drivers, 17" x 24" cylinders, a 180 psi boiler pressure, it exerted 22,100
pounds of tractive effort and weighed 112,000 pounds. Number 12 was the
smallest 2-8-2 on the EBT and it was given the name Millie in 1960.
In 1912, number 14 came from Baldwin. It had 48" diameter drivers, 19" x 24"
cylinders, a 180 psi boiler pressure, it exerted 27,600 pounds of tractive
effort and weighed 147,150 pounds. There was no number 13 on the EBT. Number
15 was delivered in 1914and was very similar to number 14. It had 48" diameter
drivers, 19" x 24" cylinders, a 180 psi boiler pressure, it exerted 27,600
pounds of tractive effort and weighed 150,150 pounds.
Baldwin delivered three more locomotives, one each in 1916, 1918 and 1920.
Number 16, delivered in 1916, had 48" diameter drivers, 20" x 24" cylinders, a
180 psi boiler pressure, it exerted 30,600 pounds of tractive effort and weighed
163,000 pounds. Number 17, delivered in 1918 was identical to number 16. The
last came in 1920 the last "Mikado" arrived and the locomotive was very similar
to numbers 16 and 17 and it was given road number 18. It had 48" diameter
drivers, 20" x 24" cylinders, a 180 psi boiler pressure, it exerted 30,600
pounds of tractive effort and weighed 164,200 pounds.
All six of the EBT 2-8-2 "Mikado" type locomotives survive today and are located
at Rockhill Furnace, PA.
Class 12 (Locobase 13812)
Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 39, p.39. Works number was 37325 in December 1911.
The EBT website (http://www.ebtrr.com/equip/steam.html, last accessed 2 February 2012) tells us that this engine set the standard for the EBT Mikados that would follow. It was rated to pull 15 loaded coal cars from the mines.
Class 14 (Locobase 13813)
Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volumes 43, p.303 and 45, p. 222. Works number was 38625 in October 1912 and 41196 in February 1914.
Baldwin's spec says that parts were to be interchangeable between the 14 and the slightly earlier #12 shown in Locobase 13812. It's not clear how extensive this interchange might have proven to be as virtually every major element of the design--from the size of the boiler to the size of the tender--grew in size or weight.
On the other hand, the 14's younger sister #15 was very similar to the 14, so interchangeability was clearly feasible. The specs called for the engines to negotiate 16-degree curves on the main line and 23 degrees on the Ys as well as handling the ruling 2% grade. Rail weights were 60 lb/yard (30-kg/metre). Both were rated to haul 18 loaded cars from the mines.
The EBT website (http://www.ebtrr.com/equip/steam.html, last accessed 2 February 2012) notes that the 15 did in fact have some differences. A comparison of the two specs shows some of the details: The 14 put a ton more weight on the front truck, 1,300 more pounds on the drivers, but 450 fewer pounds on the rear truck. The 14's tender trucks were Diamond arch bar while 15 used Vulcan trucks with cast-steel bolsters. The 15 had 200 Tate flexible staybolts on the sides of the firebox and at the throat.
Both engines have been active in the EBT's later incarnation as a tourist railroad in the 21st century
Class 16 (Locobase 13814)
Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Vol 53, pp. 404+, Vol 62, pp. 41+, Vol 65, pp. 101+. Works number was 43562 in June 1916, 48075 in March 1918 and 53541 in July 1920.
This was the Baldwin-built superheated version of the saturated-boiler pair shown in Locobase 13813. The new engines were about the same size, but had even more combined heating surface area of which a good amount was superheated; 9 1/2" (241 mm) piston valves supplied the hotter steam to the cylinders. So the power they exerted at the drawbar must have been considerably greater and indeed they were rated to pull 22 loaded coal hoppers vs the 18 of the earlier pair. The valve gear change was unusual, but the Southern gear did have its coterie of fans. The 18's tender held 4,500 US gallons (17,033 litres), 6 1/2 short tons (5.9 metric tons), and weighed 90,000 lb (40,823 kg).
The EBT site notes that the 16 is reported to have pulled 60 empty coal hoppers in one train to clear congestion at Mt Union.
17 is the only of the three to have operated in the 21st century on the EBT's tourist operation. It's been stored since 2001. 16 and 18 also lay in storage from the time they last ran in 1955-1956.