Larry Salone, president of the East Broad Top Railroad Preservation Association, explained that the new 501(c)3 corporation had been organized to purchase the East Broad Top Railroad from the Kovalchick family of Indiana, Pennsylvania.
The goal of the Preservation Association
is the long-term preservation of the EBT; short-term goals include maintaining operations, improving visitor amenities, and developing a plan for rehabilitating and restoring the railroad's historic equipment and shop complex.
When completed, the purchase will incorporate the EBT right of way from Mount Union to Robertsdale; all locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment; and other EBT assets like the railroad's herald.
While in his
public remarks Mr. Salone
underscored the importance of the EBT
to the economic future of southern Huntingdon County, he
noted that a childhood visit to the EBT
in 1964 had led to his
lifetime interest as a railfan in both the EBT
and railroading in general.
noted that one of his
tasks is to increase operating revenue to support the railroad's operations and development, since income from the surrounding property-retained by the Kovalchick family-will no longer be available to offset deficits from railroad operations.
Improvements to the EBT gift shop and its inventory are now under way, and plans to improve other aspects of the visitor experience are in the works.
stressed that he
immediate job as generating more publicity for the railroad, both to stimulate more visitors to the EBT
and to enhance public support for the railroad's preservation.
also stated that he
hoped to secure the funds needed to complete the purchase of the railroad as soon as possible, and he
planned to seek grants and other private and public financial support for critical work-like returning a second steam locomotive to operation-required to sustain operating and preservation efforts.
Mr. Salone, a member of FEBT since the early 1990s, is businessman and entrepreneur active in central Pennsylvania.
A mechanical engineering graduate of Pennsylvania State University, he is an owner or investor in several engineering/fabrication companies and several restaurants.
In 2007 he
assumed management of the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum
and Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site.
Mr. Salone indicated that he will draw no compensation for his work at the EBT.
has already met with FEBT
restoration volunteers at Rockhill Furnace, where he
emphasized the importance he
placed on working constructively with FEBT to support both train operations and restoration efforts focused on historic equipment and structures.