Mount Union to Alvan

The East Broad Top Railroad


GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Chartered in 1856, The East Broad Top Railroad & Coal Company was intended to mine and ship coal from Broad Top Mountain. However, the first completed section of 3-foot narrow gauge track was not complete until August 30, 1873, and ran from Mount Union to Rockhill Furnace. The line was extended the following year to Robertsdale, and in 1891, the line was extended again to Woodvale. The northern terminus of the line at Mount Union was the site of a connection with the standard gauge Pennsylvania Railroad.

Rockhill served as the location for the EBT's engine shops and terminals. This complex was responsible for creating and maintaining EBT's freight cars, making the EBT a self-sufficient operation. In order to transport miners to the coal mines, the EBT setup passenger service; this also allowed EBT to provide public excursions, which helped finances.

Rising labor costs, diminishing coal deposits and employee strikes led to the downfall on EBT, which officially shut down after the last revenue run in April 1956. One historical note: the EBT was the last operating narrow guage railroad east of the Rocky Mountains.

Despite the abandonment, the tracks remained, and were restored in 1960 to celebrate the bicentennial of towns along the line. Passengers on a public excursion along the newly-refurbished route rode once again from Mount Union to Rockhill. The EBT was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, and a short segment of the original right-of-way (near Orbisonia) still sees service today as the main attraction of the East Broad Top tourist railroad.

The Shade Gap Branch seem to be missing.

Adam Wright
southeastern, MI


@Adam, perhaps that's because, technically, it is not abandoned, for it is now used in tourist operations.

Jacob Boslet
Altoona, PA


@Jacob, The Shade Gap BR is abandoned as far as the EBT goes. The Rockhill Trolley Museum uses part of the ROW as far as US 522. East of there, thru Shade Gap to Neelyton, as well as the Shade Valley Br. have been long ago abandoned.

Shawn S.
Strasburg, PA


Unfortunately the EBT is OOS for now, although the Friends of the EBT RR are slowly working to restore service along the portion last used by the EBT.

Kevin W. Brownlie
Princeton, NJ


Shortened Link:

Do you have any pictures or information about The East Broad Top Railroad? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.