Monday, October 01, 2012

Random Ramblings -- Unspectacular

Photo 0254 East Broad Top; Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania October 2002
East Broad Top; Rockhill Furnace, Penn.; October 2002
We're entering October, and traditionally that would be a time for a staple of heritage railroading -- the East Broad Top Fall Spectacular in Rockhill Furnace, Penn. The Fall Spectacular replaced the Winter Spectacular in the 1980s when winter operations became too hard on the machines and men needed to run the railroad. Since the change, hundreds of the narrow gauge faithful would descend on Rockhill Furnace (a suburb of Orbisonia) each Columbus Day weekend.

Over the years the number of locomotives in service for the Spectacular dwindled. From four in the 1980s heyday down to three, then down to two. Finally, for the last few years, only 2-8-2 No. 15 has answered the call. This year, no steam will operate. Nonetheless, the Friends of the East Broad Top will still be around and the folks across the street at the Rockhill Trolley Museum will still be running almost everything that runs. Even though there is no steam in the Aughwick Valley, if your travels take you near the area during the holiday weekend stop in and take a trolley ride and see the improvements being made to the EBT by the Friends. It'll still be worth your time.

In the meantime, let's go back to the days of yore (actually October 2002, and in full disclosure mode I'll tell you that this was actually shot shortly after the 2002 Spectacular during a charter organized by Carl Franz). EBT 2-8-2 No. 14 works its way through the shop complex at Rockhill Furnace, with the sand tower on the left. What's spectacular about the Spectacular is its absolutely unspectacular scenes -- this was just a plain ol' everyday occurrence in the 1940s and 1950s. Sometimes a steam engine going to work in the morning is spectacular in its own little way.

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