Community State Bank is a Member of PACB.
Rockhill Furnace, PA — Thanks to a generous donation from Community State Bank and Brown and Walter’s Insurance Agency, passengers this summer at the East Broad Top Railroad will be able to enjoy a layover and picnic at Colgate Grove, the longtime turnaround for the National Historic Landmark’s steam-powered train rides, for the first time in over a decade. Their contribution allowed the railroad to build two new pavilions and a boarding platform in conjunction with the EBT’s 2023 season. The picnic grounds are expected to open early summer. Construction of a new restroom facility is also scheduled to begin this summer.
“Our excitement to partner with the East Broad Top Railroad to build picnic grounds at Colgate Grove reflects the passion both Community State Bank and Brown and Walter’s have to support and elevate local communities. The picnic grounds will provide visitors a space to disembark from the newly restored Locomotive No. 16 and enjoy Huntingdon County’s beautiful landscape while encouraging increased visitors and rail fans,” said Jessica Tice, Chairman of the Board of Community State Bank. “We applaud Brad Esposito and all who tirelessly work to improve and create economic growth in our community.”
Located 4.5 miles away by rail from the EBT’s headquarters in Rockhill Furnace, Colgate Grove was chosen in 1961 to serve as the halfway point for train rides and a location for visitors to alight to take photos or enjoy a layover before returning to the station on a later train. The picnic grounds quickly became a favorite of visitors and a beloved part of the railroad’s experience. When the EBT closed in 2011, the original pavilions rapidly fell into disrepair. After the EBT Foundation acquired the line in 2020, the old facilities were demolished. While regular train service to the Grove resumed in 2021, the picnic grounds remained closed while plans were made for the new structures.
“Generations of visitors, including my family and I, have fond memories of enjoying a picnic at Colgate Grove. We can’t thank Community State Bank and Brown and Walter’s enough for helping us bring this unique aspect of the EBT back for a new generation to experience,” said the railroad’s General Manager, Brad Esposito. “With the return of steam, and the return of Colgate Grove, among the many other restoration and improvement projects that are coming to a close this year, we’re excited to say that the East Broad Top is back!”
The East Broad Top Railroad is the only original narrow-gauge line (rails 3′ apart instead of the standard 4′ 8.5″) east of the Rocky Mountains. It was completed in 1874 to service the iron and coal industry along a 33-mile corridor in Central Pennsylvania. The railroad closed in 1956 and was sold to the Kovalchick family of Indiana, Pa., who reopened the line in 1960 as a steam-powered tourist railroad until its closure in 2011. The non-profit EBT Foundation acquired the railroad in February 2020 and undertook an unprecedented restoration effort to bring the line back to life. The railroad’s 2023 season begins May 5. Tickets are available at eastbroadtop.com.