East Broad Top shuts down – again

It’s like it’s 1956 again:

It is with great remorse that the East Broad Top Railroad officially announces that we will not be operating steam powered excursions for the 2012 season. On April 1st, 2012, the East Broad Top Preservation Association’s 3-year lease to operate the East Broad Top Railroad with an option to buy has ended. After painstaking talks and options were evaluated and discussed, no arrangement could be made between the East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company and the East Broad Top Preservation Association.

At this time there are no certainties beyond 2012. We can’t say this is the end of the line, nor can we say this is just temporary. Should any type of operations or events be planned in the future, we will announce them here. Until then there are no further details.

More information when we get it.

Stanley Hall, 1942 – 2012

(Excerpts from the Huntingdon, Pa., “Daily News,” via the East Broad Top‘s Facebook page)

Stanley G. Hall, 69, of Hall Road, Three Springs, died at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, January 26, 2012, at his home.

As a child, Mr. Hall lived on a farm beside the East Broad Top Railroad, and he liked to tell the story of how his father refused to believe a newspaper report that the coal-hauling line’s imminent closing in early 1956. When the EBT reopened, in 1960, Mr. Hall was hired as a painter just three days after graduating from high school, and he worked there for the next 50 years.

He was fond of saying that he had done every imaginable job on the historic railroad—from “swamping the commodes” to maintaining and running steam engines, planning major events, negotiating with federal railroad authorities, overseeing preservation of the machine-shop complex, and greeting visitors of all ages. He was the railroad’s general manager from 1987 to 2010, and until recently he continued managing local properties for the line’s owners, Joe and Judy Kovalchick.

IMr. Hall was honored at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg in June 2010 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Keystone Society for Tourism, which celebrates “outstanding contributions to tourism in Pennsylvania.”

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 4, at the Sugar Run Church of the Brethren, 17193 Hill Valley Road, Shirleysburg, with the Rev. James Hullihen officiating. Friends may call at the church one hour prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Home Nursing Agency, Hospice, 9492 William Penn Highway, Suite 1, Huntingdon, Pa., 16652.

New Operator for the East Broad Top

As reported in Trains NewsWire:

The newly-formed East Broad Top Railroad Preservation Association has signed an agreement to operate the East Broad Top Railroad for three years, and the organization hopes to attract enough grant money during that time to buy the Pennsylvania narrow gauge from its longtime owners, Joe and Judy Kovalchick.

The new organization was put together by Larry Salone, who took over as executive director of the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum in 2007.

We wish Mr. Salone all the best as he starts this new venture in a troubling economy.