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NRHS 2018 Convention Everett Railroad

by Chris Guenzler

I woke up at 5:00 AM and realized that this was my final day of the 2018 NRHS convention. To me, it is always a sad day when this day comes because I will miss all my NHRS friends and family. So I worked on the Potomac Eagle story until 6:00 AM then awoke Robin before going to McDonald's for hot cakes and sausage. I came back and half-finished the story until it was time to take my luggage down to the storage room which we would reclaim later before the Amtrak train arrived.

With that done, I officially checked out of the hotel then went out in front of the hotel to Bus No. 2 which was already being loaded. I took over and my bus had forty-five people for the one-hour bus ride. The buses arrived in Hollidaysburg and all of my passengers, including myself, walked over to the gift shop.

The former Pennsylvania Railroad Hollidaysburg station built in 1871, now the Everett Railroad gift shop. I went into the gift shop where I bought the first of two Everett Railroad T-shirts today. I returned outside when I heard the steam engine beginning to head to the front of the train.

Everett Railroad History

The Everett Railroad is a short line railroad that operates on former Pennsylvania Railroad trackage in the Hollidaysburg area of Pennsylvania. It runs freight trains over two separate lines, one from Brooks Mill and Sproul, and the other, owned by the Morrison's Cove Railroad, from Roaring Spring to Curryville and Martinsburg. The affiliated Hollidaysburg and Roaring Spring Railroad, which the Everett Railroad operates both under contract and via trackage rights, connects the two segments to each other and to the Norfolk Southern Railway in Hollidaysburg. The Everett Railroad name refers to its former location near Everett, abandoned in 1982.

The Everett Railroad was incorporated in April 1954 to take over a portion of the Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad and Coal Company near Everett, which was abandoned in May. The line, which extended north from the end of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Mt. Dallas Branch at Mount Dallas to a point near Tatesville, parallel to PA Route 26, had been constructed from 1859 to 1863 by the Bedford Railroad, which was merged into the H&BT in 1864. Conrail discontinued service on the then-Mt. Dallas Secondary in October 1982, severing the Everett Railroad's ties to the outside world and forcing its abandonment.

The company was revived in May 1984, when it acquired a part of Conrail's Bedford Secondary between Brooks Mill and Sproul. Completed in 1910 by the Bedford and Hollidaysburg Railroad, a predecessor of the Pennsylvania Railroad, this line had connected to the Mt. Dallas Secondary near Bedford until 1982. A second line, the Morrison's Cove Secondary from Roaring Spring to Curryville, along with a short branch into Martinsburg, was acquired by the Morrison's Cove Railroad, organized by local shippers, in mid-1982. The shippers initially contracted with the Allegheny Southern Railway, which operated the line from September 1982 to the end of 1984, but on January 1, 1985 the Everett Railroad took over operations. This line had been constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad itself in 1871. Conrail continued to operate the remainder of the Morrison's Cove Secondary, from Roaring Spring through Brooks Mill to Hollidaysburg, until Alan W. Maples, owner of the Everett Railroad, organized the Hollidaysburg and Roaring Spring Railroad and bought the line in March 1995. Simultaneously, the Everett Railroad acquired trackage rights to Hollidaysburg, and began operating the H&RS under contract.

Everett Railroad 2-6-0 11


Steam locomotive number 11 was constructed in 1920 by the Cooke Works of the American Locomotive Company in Paterson, New Jersey. It is a "2-6-0" or "Mogul" type and was one of 54 engines of four different wheel arrangements built between 1920 and 1925 intended for export to Cuba and use in that country's sugar cane fields. Building locomotives for stock was not common practice and fluctuations in world sugar markets post World War I unexpectedly reduced demand for these engines, leaving a number of them unsold on the factory floor. Alco turned to the domestic short line railroad market but it was not until 1923 that the tiny Narragansett Pier Railroad in Peace Dale, Rhode Island, purchased the engine, assigned it number "11", and put it to work on their eight and a half mile railroad.

Revenue Service

Through its working career at both the NP Railroad and the B&H Railroad, engine 11 was a living symbol of the great American tradition of small independent railroads connecting local communities with the national rail network. Weighing a mere 55 1/2 tons, its modest proportions were typical of light short line locomotives all across the country in the age of steam power.

Preservation and Restoration

The Bath & Hammondsport Railroad retired number 11 in 1949 in favor of diesel power and the engine, an object of some sentimental attachment, was carefully stored in the railroad's enginehouse until sold in 1955 to Dr. Stanley A. Groman for his "Rail City" museum in Sandy Pond, New York. Dr. Groman was a pioneer railroad preservationist and for many years the locomotive operated on his mile long circle of track near the shore of Lake Ontario. But the eventual construction of interstate highways siphoned visitors away and Rail City, like many roadside attractions of the 1950s, withered and eventually closed. Around 1977, engine 11 was sold to another collector, Dr. John P. Miller, who had earlier purchased the Narragansett Pier Railroad. Thus it was that the locomotive returned to the enginehouse at Peace Dale, Rhode Island. Some disassembly and inspection work was done but Dr. Miller never completed the overhaul and number 11 was sold again, in 1981, to the Middletown & New Jersey Railroad of Middletown, New York. Pierre Rasmussen, president of the M&NJ, was a fan of steam engines and thought number 11 would be an ideal addition to his short line. The locomotive was stored inside the M&NJ enginehouse, protected from the weather, but no further repairs were ever done. With sale of the railroad pending following Pierre Rasmussen's death in 2004, ownership of number 11 transferred to James Wright, a business partner in the M&NJ. Wright, in turn, sold the engine to Alan Maples, president of the Everett Railroad, in 2006.

Our Visit

I got back across the tracks just in time to watch the engine getting put on the front of our train.

Everett Railroad 2-6-0 11 pulls down to the switch.

The engine backed to the front of the train.

A view of our train which consisted of Everett Railroad 2-6-0 11, combine 23, coaches 103, 105 and 104. All coaches are former Erie-Lackawanna.

Another view of Everett Railroad 11.

Everett Railroad caboose 91517.

Everett Railroad D8-32B 561. We all boarded the train and I took a seat in the back of coach 104 and I was ready for an interesting trip on a piece of track I have never ridden. We left right on time and started down my new mileage. Bob Alkire was the winner of the first cab ride aboard Everett 11 today and really enjoyed his ride between Hollidaysburg and Kladder.

We said goodbye to Hollidaysburg station area.

Saying goodbye to our buses that have transported us each day.

Locomotive cab shells at the GBW Railcar Serices.

Everett Railroad GP7 1712 built as Clinchfield 911.

Steam engine cab 4358.

The Beaver Dam Branch Juanita Bridge.

The train through Loop.

Heading down a piece of straight track.

Frankstown Branch Juniata River.

Travelling through the forest to the location of our first runby.

We detrained at Kladder for the NRHS photo runby.

The photo line.

Back-up move number one.

NRHS photo runby number one. After that we all reboarded the train and continued east down the Everett Railroad.

Leaving Kladder behind.

Rolling down the rails east toward Brook.

Brook is the division with Claysburg to the left and Martinsburg to the right where we are headed.

There is a large junkyard just to the east of Brook with a large variety of car models.

The Halter Creek and bridge.

Railroad ties have been replaced on this line.

Rolling east toward Rodman where we detrained for another runby.

The photo line at Rodman.

Combine 23.

The back-up move number two.

NRHS photo runby number two.

Back-up move number three.

The photo line.

NRHS photo runby number three.

Leaving Rodman.

Appvion paper plant.

We left the Taylor Township.

More of the Appvion paper plant.

Coming into Roaring Springs.

Roaring Springs Pennsylvania Railroad station.

Pennsylvania Railroad caboose 477908 built 1942 by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Leaving Roaring Springs behind.

We came to the east end of the Roaring Spring siding.

The train ran by the Smith Transport complex.

Young NRHS members are chasing our train today.

Interesting grade stabilizing devices built along our route.

We went by Milepost 18.

The Everett Railroad almost seems like it has been transported to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The only thing that would be missing was Amish buggies. But there is a large Mennonite population so buggies were a possibility to see although we did not see any. This area is completely rural and was almost like being on the Strasburg Railroad. However, we were on the Everett Railroad.

The Renaissance Nutrition Feedmill known as "Ren Nut" at Peck.

Rolling through the central Pennsylvania countryside of Blair County.

The Cargill plant.

More young railfans out chasing our steam train.

We came to Martinsburg junction which is a wye which will allow the engine to be turned for the trip back to Hollidaysburg. This is as far as our train went.

The old and new high school at Martinsburg Junction.

The engine comes off the northwest leg of the wye and will couple on to the train and we will head back to Roaring Spring for a photo runby and lunch. I visited the combine car and bought three items for three dollars to have for lunch. Only the photographers were allowed to detrain for the photo runby at Roaring Spring.

Everett Railroad 2-6-0 11 at Roaring Springs.

Backup move number four.

NRHS Photo Runby number four at Roaring Springs. After the runby I got everybody to line up for lunch and we were joined by the other coach passengers. We spent a good thirty minutes having them go through the food lines which included their boxed lunch, ice cream for dessert and a bottled water from the combine car. I gave a ten minute countdown and only to four minutes when everyone was back on the train and when I said three, we closed up the train and left at 1:00 PM. Elizabeth and I took the pictures out of the camera for this story and converted them to the correct size. We proofed the Potomac Eagle story and then we returned to Hollidaysburg and I was first off and back to my bus, where my fifty-four passengers all followed directions and we returned safely to Cumberland.

I would like to thank all my bus riders for the last three trips who followed directions expertly and efficiently. In addition, I would like to thank the NRHS for the excellent convention here in Cumberland including John Goodman, Chairman, Skip Waters, Dan Meyer and Dawn Holmberg, Steve Siegrist, Steve Barry and Bob and Elizabeth for their excellent service and for making this convention a major success. Back at the hotel, my duties ended and I turned in my vest, radio and clipboard and took in the the bottled water from the bottom of the bus. Elizabeth and I sat on the floor and wrote this story before we went to the Crabby Pig for dinner because we refused to eat the salt-filled food that Amtrak was providing passengers on the Capital Limited, and we could not stay for the banquet.