FEBT Restoration – Coles Tank

Coles tank was one of several water tanks along the East Broad Top Railroad. Coles was strategically placed near the halfway mark of the grade up to Broad Top Mountain, and also near the start of the Coles Valley Branch. The current tank was built in the 1910s to replace the previous tank. Coles is the last remaining tank of at least six that once served the railroad. All the EBT’s tanks were unusual in that the actual water tank was enclosed in a heated building to help keep the water from freezing in the winter. Coles tank has been largely abandoned since the end of EBT common carrier service in 1956.


Coles Tank HABS/HAER drawing
Coles Tank HABS/HAER drawing

In 2006 a professional survey of the building contracted by FEBT was completed. This detailed survey generated photos, plans and drawings that were entered into the Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Record program with the national Park Service.


In the late 1990s and early 2000s the main front beam and front center post of the building began to deteriorate due to water penetration from the spout opening. An FEBT crew jacked the front of the building back into position and erected cribbing inside the building to take the load off the front beam. The failed post was removed and posts installed to keep the beam from dropping further.