The EBT Winter Spectacular with my Dad

What is happening on the East Broad Top is nothing short of a miracle. I wanted to take my dad to see it in person, and the first weekend with steam was the perfect opportunity. It didn’t disappoint.

If you’re not familiar with what’s going on on the EBT right now, do yourself a favor and go get a copy of Frank Kyper’s book.

Now, onto the trip.

I started off by getting my dad “qualified on the middle division” on the trip out. He’s a life long Pennsy fan and had never been to some of these well known spots like Duncannon, Newport, and Lewistown.

A good bit of the trip was teaching him about using an SLR so I had backup on the following day.

We caught a little action along the way though, and found a surprising number of local coffee shops along the way (a personal favorite).

A westbound stack train passing the MOW tracks in Duncannon.


We caught the Juniata Valley just as they put the power away for the day.


Our EBT experience started once we got to Mount Union. We wanted to check out the majority of the line ahead of the spectacular, and there’s no place like this to start.

The Aughwick arch bridge looking worse for the wear. Not for long, I’m sure.


The calm before the storm in Orbisonia.
Pogue Trestle, which will soon be hosting trains again.


Saltillo. This is where the water tank was (and will likely be again).


From Saltillo we tracked the right-of-way through the mountains and saw some really cool spots, but then lost the tracks. We pulled into a parking lot to try and reconnoiter things. Then we looked up “Oh! There they are.”

And eventually we got to Robertsdale.

We tried tracking this the rest of the way but there wasn’t a lot of access to the line. We did find it though!

That was it for our EBT time that day, but since we were staying in Huntingdon, we spent a few minutes at the station.

But now… onto the main event: the Winter Spectacular.

I knew that Orbisonia would be nuts for the morning’s opening photo freight, so we hung out at the bridge at the north end of town. That’s where I got the photo that appears on the cover of the book.

I also realized why I need to start carrying brush cutting equipment in the car.

From there, the chase was on. As soon as I could get my dad in the car…

It was moments like this that I got my car for. However, in this traffic, the 300+HP weren’t going to do much good.

I’ll admit, it was all a bit hit or miss, especially shooting over my shoulder.

We beat him out to Runk Road where we joined the significant photo line.

Then there was plenty of time waiting around for them to wye the train at Colgate Grove, so, to appease the family back home, selfies.

Eventually the smoke plume started getting closer, and it was time.


The chase was back on.

We were far from alone in this venture, though.

Orbisonia was, as predicted, a zoo. But all the animals seemed to be behaving, at least.


After the train arrived they put the freight consist again and got ready to make some money hauling meat.


After the departure of the first steam powered passenger train M-1 pulled into the station for its trip.

They did a fantastic job of managing traffic on the line and alternating between it and the steam trains.

Our ride was in the afternoon.

Which was then followed by a ride on the ridiculous Liberty Liner across the street at the Rockhill Trolley Museum.

It was worth risking falling through the floor for the chance to ride such a rare and historic piece that also used to run around Philly.

The ride also yielded this very cool view of EBT #16 coming around the wye.

Our last trip of the day was a ride on M-3, the inspection car made by the EBT’s shops in the 20s.

This trip took us to the southern end of restored track, giving a sneak peek at the future of the operation. I could not be more excited for it.