By Justin Franz
The East Broad Top crew was still trying to catch its breath a week after its wildly-successful Winter Spectacular last month, said Director of Sales and Marketing Jonathan Smith. The event, held on February 18 and 19, was a coming-out party of sorts for the railroad’s newly restored steam locomotive, 2-8-2 16, the first to run on the Pennsylvania narrow gauge since the effort to revive the railroad began in 2020.
Smith said while the non-profit EBT has accomplished a lot in the last three years — rehabilitating buildings, reopening bridges and rebuilding track — getting a steam locomotive running was by far the most significant part of “Phase I” of the railroad’s reopening. And Smith said they’re not done yet, with locomotive 15, a 2-8-2 built in 1914 that last ran in 2011, heading into the restoration shop next. Officials hope to begin that work this year. Smith said the goal is to eventually get all six surviving 2-8-2 locomotives in operating condition.
Having another operating steamer will be a good thing for EBT, because Smith said the railroad wants to have steam leading as many excursions as possible. The railroad will be offering regular trips from May until October three days a week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and five days a week (Wednesday to Sunday) between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Each day will feature three round-trip excursions behind steam when possible.
“Steam is king on the EBT and we want the question to be ‘When is steam not running at the EBT, not when is it running,’” Smith said.
For more information and to buy tickets, visit eastbroadtop.com.
Editor’s Note: This story and headline have been updated to clarify that work will begin on 15 this year.