EBT: Steam Along the Aughwick

 

1. Tuscarora Morning 6. Climbing McMullins Summit
2. A Walk Through the Yards 7. Across the Deep Fill
3. At the Roundhouse 8. Colgate Grove
4. Coaling Up 9. Afternoon Run
5. Readying the Consist

 

Five: Readying the Consist

 

ebt38.jpg (10480 bytes)
Her crew returned,
#14 fetches the
excursion consist
from its storage
track.

 

The eclectic array of rolling stock which makes up EBT's fair-weather excursion train stood waiting on a long connecting track leading off the north throat of the yard. In the lead were three open bench cars-- actually workaday flat cars converted for passenger service by the frugal expedient of bolting park benches to their decks. Behind this trio came yet another open car, this one created by cutting away the upper sides of one of the railroad's outside-ribbed steel boxcars. The result was a kind of Dolly Varden with more permanent sides and a flat canopy roof.

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The handsome
interior of Coach
#8 shows to good
advantage in this
William Adams
photograph.

 

 

 

 

At the end of the consist came three cars of a more distinguished lineage. The first was Coach #8, a handsome clerestory-roofed wooden car of BRB&L ancestry. A rare survivor under any circumstances, #8 was made unique by being possessed of a pair of roller-bearing trucks-- a technology so far above her station as to make her almost certainly one of a kind in the annals of narrow-gauge carbuilding. Behind the coach came a classic wooden freight caboose, #28, a 1920 product of the EBT's own Rockhill Furnace shops. For a supplemental tariff, passengers can ride in the cupola and enjoy the spectacular view usually afforded only to brakemen, conductors, and other hard-bitten railroad types.

 

ebt33.jpg (7185 bytes)
Caboose #28. For
an extra tariff, two
lucky patrons can
ride in the cupola
of this wooden
classic.
Bringing up the markers was #20, the Orbisonia. Originally a simple coach, #20 was built by the Billmeyer and Small Car Works of York, Pa for the Bradford, Bordell and Kinzua Railroad, a 3'-gauge line running through the oil patch of northwestern Pennsylvania. At some point, the coach was taken in hand by the BB&K shop forces and converted into a sumptuous parlor car. Long picture windows and brass-railed platforms gave the rebuilt car a distinguished profile; beveled mirrors and wicker armchairs and settees adorned her interior. In 1907 she came to the EBT, where she entered service as the private car of railroad President Robert S. Seibert. Truly one of the gems of American railroad preservation, she's the pride of the EBT to this very day.

 

ebt37.jpg (7163 bytes)
Her train complete,
#14 pulls across
the highway into
the Orbisonia
depot.

 

 

With the consist already coupled together and cleaned for service, the train crew's work was limited to lining the turnout for the siding and coupling up. Drifting forward from the foundry, #14 pulled across the highway crossing at the north yard throat, and then backed through the turnouts and up against the lead flatcar. The brakeman linked the glad hands to complete the train line, and then led the engineer through the requisite leak and application tests. Once this final chore was out of the way, the engineer released the train brakes and set #14 into motion toward the station. The little Mikado steamed bravely across the highway, pulling her train into the depot's #2 track. As the cars rolled into the platform, Conductor David Brightbill emerged from the station clad in the traditional blue broadcloth coat and brass buttons. The instant the cars drifted to a stop he busied himself setting out step boxes, opening gates and preparing to board the first service of the day.

 

ebt26.jpg (6396 bytes)
EBT #14 and train
positioned and
ready for boarding
at the Orbisonia
platform.
While David was readying the consist, a cheerful crowd of holidaymakers assembled on the platform. At a quarter to 11:00 he gave the time-honored bellow of "All Aboard" and the crowd surged toward the cars. Positioning himself by #8's open platform, David gave a hand to older passengers and parents with children in tow; in no time at all he had all his passengers seated and squared away. After checking the time against his watch and giving one last glance for latecomers, David gave the engine crew his highball. The engineer acknowledged with the required two blasts of #14's steam whistle and then pushed open his throttle. It was 11:00AM sharp by the station clock, and we were on our way to Colgate Grove.

 


 

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All materials, images, text and presentation copyright 1999 Erik Gray Ledbetter.  See Terms of Use.