Crew Works on Rockhill Shops Buildings
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Railways to Yesterday, the owners and operators of Rockhill Trolley Museum, has crews that regularly assist the East Broad Top's paid employees with a variety of tasks around the property. RTY volunteers act as volunteer brakemen on EBT trains during the Fall Spectacular and maintain and operate the EBT's internal combustion engines, M-1, M-4, M-6 and M-7. In 1999 a crew from RTY rebuilt the turntable escape track (the second lead to the EBT turntable) to assist with the operation of M-1 and M-7. Other EBT track projects taken on by RTY include rebuilding over a hundred feet of track for displaying EBT locomotive #16 and a six car hopper train prior to the 2000 Fall Spectacular and the parking of EBT diesel M-7.
RTY leases a portion of the EBT Rockhill Yard, mainly consisting of the area inside the wye and around the old Shade Gap Branch. As part of a cleanup program one of the RTY crews started working on leveling and repairing the historic EBT buildings inside the leased area. Included in the initial salvo of work, a small EBT tool shed along the wye track which was close to falling over, was leveled, repaired and repainted. Work progressed to other buildings including the EBT Freight Station which received new loading and track platforms and was painted.
Over the winter of 2001-2002 these efforts have moved out of the wye and into the EBT shops complex. The crew, primarily consisting of Dave Brightbill, Frank Shoop and Mark Gutshall, have begun jacking up, leveling, straightening certain parts of the complex. The crew performed repairs to the Shops three hole privey wing and leveling and repairing the gangway between the privey and the shops. Next the crew began work on the Machine Shop tool room wing. The work involved jacking the wing back into level, replacing damaged flooring, repairing windows, repairing siding and painting.
Left: Rockhill Car Shed before work
Right: Rockhill Section House before work
At the completion of the tool room wing, the RTY/EBT crew began work on the Maintenance Car Shed at the south end of the yard. The crew started by removing all the brush and trees around the building and the adjacent Section House so that work could be performed on them. The crew removed the badly deteriorated south wall of the building, replaced it with new 2x4 framing and rebuilt the deteriorated south roof gable. They repaired the deck of the building and jacked it back closer to level.
At that point, at the invitation of East Broad Top management, the nonprofit group, Friends of the East Broad Top continued the repairs to the building. Starting with a two day work session in June and continuing with a July, two August and two September work sessions, the FEBT is nearing completion of the reconstruction of the shed to its common carrier appearance. This includes tongue and groove siding, reconstructed or rebuilt window sashes, interior details, accurate roofing, period doors and other details.
Also starting at their June session, FEBT began work on the EBT Car Shop, a part of the main shops complex where freight and passenger cars were built and maintained. The work started with the repair, cleaning, priming, reglazing, puddying, painting and protection of the windows on the east side of the building. Seven of the twenty-two windows had been worked on by an FEBT crew in the early 1980's and were presentable, but in need of repainting. The remaining fifteen windows were generally in poor condition, with no paint remaining, very little intact glass and severly deteriorated sashes, especially toward the south end of the building. These were the initial emphasis of the FEBT work. The northern windows were generally intact, minus glass, and needed no structural work. Further south, sashes were damaged, warped, skewed and missing pieces. At the south end many sashes were missing altogether.
Work has progressed steadily through 2002 and into 2003 and as of this writing, the windows on the east side of the building are nearing completion. As that work has proceeded, the scope of the work has also broadened. Members of the work crew have begun working on the track doors at the north end of the building. As of this writing, both pairs of doors have received truss rods and structural repairs that allow them to swing freely again. A new concrete threshold has been poured under the track zero doors to reinforce the footings for the two door posts. Jacking and repair of one of the door posts and siding and window repair for the two door pairs is upcoming. Once the two north door pairs are completed, work will begin on the three south door pairs. Window work will similarly proceed to other portions of the shops complex.
Details on the progress and process of the restoration work can be found at the Rockhill Furnace Restoration Projects page at the Friends of the East Broad Top site.
With the completion of a mini-work session in October and a full session in November, FEBT wrapped up their work sessions at Rockhill for the season and began planning the 2003 work sessions.
With the mini work session in October, the track shed was completed with a coat of boxcar red paint. Within a week the railroad had already started using the building for storage of a motorcar trailer.
At the Car Shop, all fifteen windows that were tackeled had been unboarded, cleaned up, repaired or replaced, primed, reglazed, puddied, and screened over. Only the finish coat of paint remained to be applied on five windows. On the north end of the shop, the posts that had rotted out were jacked up by EBT employees. FEBT volunteers cut off the rot and poured the concrete footer up to the good wood. The broken header on the track zero door was removed along with the siding that was holding it up. The doors were extended up to the position of the new header such that the doors would allow the cabooses to pass through. In preparation for work in the Boiler House Generator Room in 2003, two window sashes were removed from the leanto structure and repaired.
Hundreds of pounds of glass was removed from donated windows, storm windows and other sources, cleaned and stored for installation in the shops windows. At the last work session several volunteers worked to cover windows in the Machine Shop and Boiler Shop with plastic for the winter to protect the antique machines inside. Some cleanup and evaluation was done on the Rockhill Section House, but it was decided to concentrate on the Maintenance Car Shed in 2002 and tackle the Section House's extensive problems in 2003.
Additionally, crews performed an extensive cleanup of the interior of the Car Shop removing old debris and trash. This made it possible to hold an open house in the shop for FEBT members to see the newly acquired EBT passenger cars #18 and #29. Also, during the first August session, FEBT volunteers worked with Rockhill Trolley Museum volunteers to replace ties and repair guide rails in a switch in front of Orbisonia Station.
In 2003 the scope of work continues to widen. Continuing work from 2002, the remaining windows on the east side of the Car Shop will be repaired and painted, with the work moving to the north side, the Electrical Shop and the Machine Shop. The north end of the Car Shop will receive siding and trim repairs and a coat of paint. The generator room will receive an entire new roof and ceiling and a complete cleanup and restoration. Surveys for roof repairs on the Boiler House will be performed. If possible, repairs of the brick east wall of the Boiler House will be performed. Roof repairs on the low roof between the Car Shop and Locomotive Shop will be started. The rotted sections of flooring in the shops will be removed, excavated and replaced. Track 3, the siding just east of the yard main will receive a replacement tie every third, be gauged, leveled and returned to operation. The Rockhill Section House, which was started in 2002, will be restored including door and siding repairs, and a new deck frame for the front section.
Left: Rockhill Car Shed before and after work.
Center: Car Shop before and after work
Right: Rockhill Section House before work
Left: Machine Shop floor during and after work.
Center: Generator Room before and after work
Right: Boiler House brickwork before and after work
Left: Electrical Shop during and after work.
Center: North side of the Car Shop before and after work
Right: before and after work
Friends of the East Broad Top's Rockhill restoration work continues in its fourth year. Over the time since the last report numerous projects have been started and completed and a long string of projects await the crew.
One of the first projects tacked was the reconstruction of a section of the Machine Shop floor. After years of leaking roof pannels above it, this section of floor near the Boiler House had deteriorated to such a state that it had to be roped off from tours. The project consisted of removing all the rotted floor boards, hauling away a large amount of debris under the floor, and installing a new floor. FEBT volunteers completed the first two steps and the EBT crew installed the floor.
A large project in 2003 was the restoration of the Generator Room, a lean-to on the side of the Machine Shop. The roof of the room had deteriorated and was letting most of the rain in and onto the antique Westinghouse turbine and generator. The project included the removall of the ceiling of the room, removal of the roof and roof joists, reconstruction of a new roof and installation of new roofing material. External work on this project os mostly completed, but internal restoraiton is still pending.
The work on rehabilitating the windows on the east side of the Car Shop was completed early in 2003. Also, an enormous amount of glass was alvaged from old donated window sashes for future use on ths shops buildings.
The north side of the Car Shop received extensive siding and door repair, was power washed, primed and painted. This wall served as an example as to how the rest of the shops will look when finished.
As planned, the Rockhill Section House was restored. The work included jacking the rear of the building back into level, supporting the roof with temporary braces, removing all siding and floor from the front section, reconstructing the floor joists, reapplying the flooring, installing stucs for stiffening, reinstalling the siding, repairing and reinstalling the doors, and painting the building. Some work yet to be done include roof and chimney repairs and installation of jigger tracks.
At the request of the railroad, an FEBT crew began working on Rockhill yard track 3, the track just east of the main. The initial object was the rehabilitate the track so that equipment could be stored on the entire siding, rather than just the few car lengths near Meadow Strees. The goal was later enahnced to make the track passable by the EBT's diesel locomotives and trains. The work involved diggin out trenches for about 200 new ties (there was virtually nothing left of the ole ties), transporting and inserting ties, starting spikes, gauging the rails, setting the spikes, tamping the ties, and lining the track.
A related project was a joing project with the Rockhill Trolley Museum to rebuild the switches and track leading into the EBT/RTM track barn so that M-1 could be moved in for repairs. FEBT repaired the two switches by inserting several switch ties and leveling the switches. RTM volunteers repaired the remainder of the track to the barn. As a result M-1 was able to be repaired and operated during the EBT 2003 Fall Event.
Another big project for 2003 was the Electrical Shop. A relatiely small building it was also restored as a demonstration of a completed project. Work on this procject included repairs of all the windows, jacking and residing the northwest corner, general siding repairs, door repair and replacement, power washing, priming and painting windows and siding and application of restored signage. Work yet to be done includes reconstruction of the east platform.
A multi-year project that started in 2003 was the rehabilitation of the Boiler House. In 2003 work performed included temporary repair and patching of the roof, repair of the brickwork inside and outside the east wall and in the boiler and cleaning and removal of debris piles inside the building,
Repairs on windows and siding was begun on the Machine Shop near the main shops entrance. Work was started on four windows and the doors themselves.
Other miscelaneous tasks in 2003 include repair of window trip on Coach #8, roof patching on Coach #8, trash pick-up along the line, repairs to the Locomotive Shop roof, moving of locomotive tires off the side of the Carpentry Shop, and cleaning and lubricating of machines in the shops.
Left: Machine Shop northeast wass before and during work.
Center: Work in progress on Caboose 28.
Right: Completed Caboose 28.
Left: Paint Shop before and during work.
Center: Work on Boiler House east wall.
Right: Roof canyon nconstruction.
Left: Installing ties in Track 3.
Center: Brush clearing at the wye.
Right: Looking along the newly cleared main.
The big project of 2004 was the restoration of Caboose 28. The caboose had been deteriorating from the weather and the siding and platforms were deteriorated. The initial intent was to reside the car and put new wood on the platform decks. As with many projects, once the wood was removed, other problems were found and the project expanded to include steelwork on the platforms, a new roof, new trim, cuapala work, rebuilding all the window sashes and frames and ironwork repair. The work required over 1,000 hours of volunteer labor.
The big Boiler House project continued into 2004. Lumber was procured to rebuild the timber portion of the east wall and to build scaffolding. Scaffolding was erected in the boiler room to enable the repair of the upper masonry sections of the east wall. Cribbing was then erected to take the load of the roof while the upper section of the wall was rebuilt. 2/3rds of the wall, which had rotted members, was completely remove and reconstructed with new lumber.
Also continuing into 2004, work on the north wall of the Machine Shop. Four additional windows received work, siding was repared and parts of the wall were primed and painted.
Another sizable project was the reconstruction of the "roof canyon", a low area between the Car and Locomotive Shops. The design of the roof here had lead to failure and huge amounts of water gushed into the shops during rain. Jacking was done to bring the Locomotive Shop posts back into line. A new roof was then constructed over the existing roof in the valley. The new roof diverted all the water to the outside of the shops rather than to an internal drain pipe (the source of the original problem. The roof was sealed with rolled rubber roofing material and the windows along the canyon were sealed.
Track work continued in 2004 to futher upgrade track 3 from diesel capable to steam capable. Dozens more ties were installed and the track was better lined and leveled. This gives the railroad a true passing siding for the firs time in many years. A crew also worked to rehabilitate the two north track to the Car Shop so that they can accomodate trains.
New in 2004, a crew started working around the property to clear brush that was taking over sections of the property. The first project was learing out Jordan Creek which runs along the west side of the yard. In the the 60's photos of the yard show the west side clear but after four decades the brush had grown up terribly. The crew worked to clear out the brush prepratory to future erosion abatement work on the creek. The crew also worked along the south leg of the wye clearing out brush that had also grown out of control. A long string of hopper on the coach house track had become all but obscured by the brush, an crew visibilty on the wye was becoming difficult. The crew cleared out a large amout of this brush and trees as well. Later in the season, part of the crew cleared the main track south of the coal docks almost to the first road crossing so that speeder rides could take place during the Fall Event.
In 2004 FEBT negotiated a lease with the EBT fot the EBT Paint Shop, a historic one track brick structure in the Rockhill Yard. The building will be used as FEBT's car restoration shop once the building is repaired and nedded services are installed. During 2004 the building was cleaned up, the deteriorated sashes on the west wall removed for restoration and the windows covered, and an independent power feed installed.
2005 (so far)
Left: Boiler House before and during work.
Center: Machine Shop before and during work.
Right: Progress on Hopper 802.
Left: Work on the Machine Shop.
Center: Progress on Flatcar 119.
Right: Work in the Paint Shop.
A number of new and continued projects are in progress in 2005.
Started in late 2004, FEBT is working on rehabilitating a steel EBT hopper and return it to service. Hopper 802 is an unusual side dump design, of which only two still exist at the EBT. After a recent hurricane in 2004, the EBT desired to have a side dump car in service to contend with washouts and fills. Work so far has included removal of rivets, steek sheets, doors, latches, sandblasting, rebuilding latches, procuring custom cut sheets, installing sheets, drilling steel angle, rebuilding brake components, installing new brake lines, installing new sheet metal, priming and painting. The car is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2005.
Started in 2005, FEBT will also be rehabilitating flatcar 119. This flat is the one used in the regular excursion train. The deck and parts of the railing had begun to rot and had to be replaced. So far, all the railing, seats and deck have been removed from the car. A new deck is nearly complete. The car is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2004.
At the shops, the spring project for 2005 was the west end of the Machine Shop. Inaccesible during the operating season due to trains passing, this end is best accessed in the spring. In March, April and May, the entire end of the building was power washed, primed, painted and all fire windows repaired and primed. Finish painting on the windows and some trim repair still need to be done. During June and July the crew worked on the northwest side of the building, continuing around the corner from the spring work. Seven windows there are nearing completion and priming and painting of the wall is in progress.
The Boiler House project continues into its third year. The work on the east wall is finishing up with some final mortar repair, painting, and window repair. The main focus for 2005 is the north wall and the attached coal bin. The bin was in such bad shape every post in it was rotted off at the bottom, necessitating taking it down and rebuilding it. As of this writing demolition of the bin in complete, and the reconsruction has proceeded through the foundation and framing stages.
The brush crew worked on a new area, clearing brush away from the track along the line from Rockhill to McMullins Summit. This will help protect the newly restored Caboose 28 from being marred up. Also the crew has completed the brush clearing along Jordan Creek up to Meadow Street and is now working along along the south leg of the wye to completed that area.
Work to prepare the Paint Shop for restoration work is starting to rev up. Electrical outlets have been installed throughout the building, storage shelving is now on hand, and preparations are being made to repour the concrete floor.
Crews have also helped the regular EBT staff with special projects like the installation of boiler lagging during the summer of 2005.
Planned upcoming projects include a multiyear restoration project for Combine #14, several seasons of work on the shop buildings, and others yet to be made public.
For more information or how to volunteer visit FEBT's Restoration Pages