Welcome to the East Broad Top Virtual Shops Tour! This is a online tour of the one-of-a-kind shops complex of the East Broad Top Railroad. It is a complete, intact 19th and early 20th century railroad support complex that has no equal in North America.
Unlike modern machine shops that have an electric motor built into each machine, the EBT shops, as with others of the time, was entirely based on steam power. A single large steam engine provided power to the extensive overhead system of shafts, belts and pulleys. The wood pulleys on the shafts carried flat leather belts, which in turn transferred power to another pulley on addition shafts or down to machines all over the shops. All of the belt, steam and air driven machinery and tools are still in the complex. Two large boilers povided the steam to power the entire complex as well as much of the town. Cars were built from scratch and locomotives completely rebuilt. Nearly everything could be done here short of building a locomotive from the ground up.
The Shops provided all the capacity needed to keep the entire railroad and coal company operating. Smaller shops were located at the mines, but the railroad shops were the largest and most complete shops in the area. Local industries, such as the brick plants in Mount Union, also relied on the Shops to build precition parts needed in their operations. Adjoining lumber lines would send their locomotives to the Shops for heavy repairs. Even members of the community relied on the shops to provide anything from a coal stove grate to a plow share. All the power availlable in the town was generated there as well. They relied on the Shops and they were the cetner of live in the community.
Although the machinery is no longer run due to the vibration stress on the buildings and the misalignments caused by settling, all could be made operate again with time and effort. All the machines are in good to excelent condition and were cleaned, lubricated and oiled down in the early 1980's to keep them in good working order. A few are still used from electric motors. In 2003 more cleaning and lubrication of the machines began to return them to prime condition.
Beginning in June of 2002, the Friends of the East Broad Top have begun restoration work to return the shops to their historic state. Already dozens of windows have been reparied as well as roofs, walls, doors and structural elements.
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|Click on any part of the map to see more detail of that part of the EBT Shops, or see each with the Forward button|
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|As you pass through the tour, you can return to the higher levels using the links here.|
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