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By Lynn Rosen, Images courtesy of EBT
  East Broad Top Railroad station   East Broad Top Railroad people boarding  
Newly restored locomotive No. 16 pulls into historic Orbisonia Station in central Pennsylvania.

This 150 year-old narrow gauge railway, the East Broad Top Railway or EBT, located in central Pennsylvania, is the oldest and the only American treasure of its kind East of the Mississippi. This National Historic Landmark is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century American narrow gauge railroads and industrial complexes in the country. ‘Narrow gauge’ signifies tracks that are fewer than four feet apart, a narrower track than “standard” railroads. They were originally built in this configuration to minimize construction costs.

  East Broad Top Railway station stop   East Broad Top Railway train leaving station  
The East Broad Top Railroad that once carried coal and freight, now carries tourists.

According to a Wikipedia entry, the East Broad Top Railroad operated commercially from 1873 to 1956, supplying coal and freight to towns across central Pennsylvania. Purchased for scrap by the Kovalchick Corporation in 1956, it reopened as a tourist railroad in 1960. Still owned by the Kovalchick family, trains now operate over five miles on the original 33-mile mainline, which is the oldest stretch of narrow-gauge track in the United States.

  East Broad Top Railway interior   East Broad Top Railway passengers  
Tourists enjoy a nine-mile round-trip in enclosed and open-air cars and a vintage caboose.

The EBT tourist season begins every May for a nine-mile round-trip ride from the historic station in Orbisonia, PA, to a picnic grove and then back through the nearby classic Pennsylvania Valley, which is seemingly untouched by the rushing, modern and worried world.

  East Broad Top Railway tour   East Broad Top Railway tour  
Visitors tour the machine shop complex with local guides
before or following their EBT excursions.

Prices begin at $20 for adults and $18 for children. Guided tours of the railroad’s intact 19th/early 20th century machine shop complex are available every day that trains operate. Reservations are strongly suggested as this railroad continues to draw national and international attention. For information and reservations visit www.eastbroadtop.com or call 814-447-3285.

East Broad Top Railway in countryside

About the Author

  Lynn Rosen is an Emmy award-winning TV broadcaster, producer and director, and has been on the Journalism and Theatre faculties at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. She’s also a theater critic, travel writer, published author, fearless skier and belongs to the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).   Lynn Rosen