The historic East Broad Top Railroad went to war last month with over 800 people turning out to honor those who served their country from the American Civil War to present.

A “living history” portrayal of America’s major wars and the personnel who served in them was one of the highlights of the two-day “EBT Goes to War” event which was staged by the nonprofit EBT Foundation Inc. Train rides up and down Aughwick Valley, pulled by the narrow-gauge railroad’s M-7 diesel engine, and tours of the railroad repair complex also highlighted the well-attended event.

“Folks arriving at Orbisonia/Rockhill over the weekend were actually stepping back in time, in the most literal sense,” explained Jonathan Smith, director of sales and marketing for the EBT. “One of the ways that we wanted to honor our American heroes was by showcasing America’s war history as much as possible.”

The weekend observance, a first for the new foundation, featured a one-hour train ride on the EBT’s restored main line as well as reenactments of life during war time.

Talented reenactors from numerous base camps in Pennsylvania and other states, attired in period clothing, conducted demonstrations, recreated military encampments, demonstrated heavy artillery and small arms weapons, offered free band concerts and much more.

In addition to rides on the railroad and nearby Rockhill Trolley Museum vehicles, the public had the opportunity to view numerous other exhibits including the Huntingdon County History & Heritage Roundtable’s information booth which highlighted Huntingdon County’s many historical attractions.

While most of the participants in the event attained their tickets via the EBT’s website, there were several others who enjoyed train rides, subject to the availability of seats not already reserved, noted Smith.

The “EBT Goes to War” event is one of many activities scheduled throughout the year as the foundation continues the restoration of two original steam locomotives—numbers 14 and 16--taking place in the railroad shops at Rockhill. In the meantime, rail excursions will be pulled by EBT diesel engine M-7.

To keep tabs on the railroad’s upcoming activities, log onto eastbroadtop.com.

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