State Grant Supports Public Safety for East Broad Top Railroad

HARRISBURG – A $100,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) will help add a critical fire suppression system in the East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) machine-shop complex, according to Senator Judy Ward (R-30) and Representative Rich Irvin (R-81).

The grant will also help the EBT overhaul its historic water network to ensure adequate supply. The upgrades will make it possible to use the shops both for public demonstrations and for essential repairs so the railroad can resume operations.

“Fire suppression is a critical component of our stabilization and preservation effort at the East Broad Top. And this decision by the PHMC represents a tremendous vote of confidence in the EBT Foundation’s efforts to preserve and operate this National Historic Landmark for future generations. We’re deeply grateful,” said Bradley Esposito, General Manager of the East Broad Top Foundation.

The EBT, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last month, has been purchased by a new nonprofit foundation, which has strong backing from three important rail-industry figures, volunteers of the Friends of the EBT, and the Rockhill Trolley Museum. After eight years of inactivity, the group plans to return the railroad’s steam locomotives to operating condition and to stabilize its historic buildings.

“This PHMC funding will help with the ongoing efforts to revive the East Broad Top Railroad and restore its steam locomotives to operation,” Ward said. “The enthusiasm and commitment of the new ownership group, along with the tremendous support of community groups and volunteers, has generated great excitement for the future of this historic asset representing our area’s rich railroad heritage. It is a heartwarming to know that, through hard work, commitment, and collaboration, this national treasure will be preserved for future generations.”

“Senator Ward and I recently had the opportunity to visit the EBT railroad as it celebrated 60 years as a tourist attraction, so news of this award is particularly timely.  Awards such as this will allow the EBT railroad to continue to be a culturally significant landmark and tourist attraction in Huntingdon County,” Irvin said.  “Senator Ward and I hope that we can continue to support this new ownership groups efforts to revitalize the EBT Railroad. Their efforts and vision for the future of the railroad are already paying off.”

The grants were awarded through PHMC’s Keystone Historic Preservation Grant program, which provides funding to nonprofit organizations and local governments for the planning and development for publicly accessible historic resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

CONTACT:  Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490

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