FEBT is an all-volunteer organization. We depend on our volunteers for most activities of the organization, including restoration, events, governance, and outreach.
While volunteering means many different things to our members, this is what we hear most:
1. We are a welcoming organization that serves as a great starting point for anyone looking to get started in rail preservation or be connected to industrial history.
2. We provide hands-on experience with tools for learning invaluable construction and DIY techniques.
3. We provide the feeling of satisfaction knowing that you are helping to preserve a beloved piece of American history.
How to Start Volunteering
New to volunteering with us? Wondering where your talents can be most helpful? Tell us about yourself by completing our skills inventory and sending it back to us. If you wish to speak with one of us directly about volunteering, please include your phone number and the best time to call.
The skills Inventory can be filled out on right on your computer and emailed to FEBT, but it must be opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader, not in your web browser.
FEBT restoration volunteers provide hands-on work to preserve and restore the historic assets of the East Broad Top. This includes structures, equipment, track, and site maintenance. Great strides have been made in the condition of the railroad’s physical plant due to the efforts of our restoration crews. Crews work primarily out of Rockhill Furnace and Robertsdale.
Rockhill Furnace is the heart of the railroad, containing its headquarters, second largest yard, roundhouse and maintenance shops complex. It is where the tourist trains originate since 1960.
The volunteer crews in Rockhill Furnace work to restore various facets of the railroad located there and along the line, including buildings, track, rolling stock, and grounds. Tasks include woodworking, sanding, grinding, metalworking, welding, demolition, construction, glazing, roof work, window work, cleaning, brush cutting, masonry, painting, cleaning, structural repairs, cosmetic carpentry and jacking. Specific tasks vary from session to session depending on need, with details on each session’s announcement.
You need not bring tools, but you may if you wish. Dress for work and be prepared to get dirty, this is a railroad. Durable shoes and long pants are recommended. The weather can change quickly in the mountains, so be ready for anything, especially wide swings in temperature.
Restoration sessions at Rockhill Furnace meet about one weekend each month, Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 9-4. Occasionally there is work on Friday and we hold two full work weeks per year. Special sessions are also sometimes announced on short notice.
You must be 18 and a member of FEBT (or join FEBT at the work site.) These are insurance requirements. We are guests of the railroad and need to behave accordingly.
Watch our News page for announcements and signups for each session which are sent out about one week prior. We request attendees sign up so that there is the appropriate number of volunteers for each task.
When arriving, Rockhill Restoration volunteers should check in at the EBT Paint Shop, the long brick building southwest of the roundhouse. Orientation takes place at the beginning of each work day. All volunteers must sign in at the Paint Shop before starting work, and sign out before departing for the day.
2023 Rockhill Furnace Restorations Sessions
- January 7-8
- February 4-5
- March 4-5
- April 1-2
- April 22-23
- May 20-21
- May 22-26 – Spring Work Week
- June 10-11
- July 1-2
- July 29-30
- August 19-20
- September 9-10
- September 18-22 – Fall Work Week
- November 4-5
Robertsdale was the heart of the coal mining operations that supported the railroad. At least 10 mines operated in the area and all coal was shipped out on the EBT.
If it can be said that Rockhill Furnace needs workers, then perhaps the best way to describe Robertsdale is to say that we need project managers. As I write this in January 2022, we hope to make progress on the following projects, but need volunteers to step up to manage them.
- The HVAC system in the Old Post Office needs to be repaired, or more likely, replaced. We need someone to manage this project. You don’t have to be an HVAC technician, just be willing to get price quotes. Most of this can be done from home. If a contractor needs to enter the building, you can ask Pete Clarke to arrange it.
- We need informational signs that will be along our mine tour walking path. We need someone to manage this project. You don’t have to design the signs (but you could), you just need to be willing to learn about existing sign designs and get some price quotes.
- We could use help with the gift shop. If you want to manage that portion of the museum (tracking inventory, ordering stock, coming up with new items to sell), we’d be happy to hear from you.
We have project managers in place for these projects: Station roof soffit, Old Post Office roof leak repair, mine tour walking path design and construction, and hopper car cosmetic restoration.
What we need most of all in Robertsdale are FEBT members to volunteer to be hosts at the museum. In 2021 we had 9 volunteers who managed to have the museum open every Saturday that the railroad ran trains. The railroad has announced their schedule for 2022 and they plan to be open more than twice as many Saturdays than last year. So, we need at least twice as many volunteer hosts for this year. See the February 2022 issue of the newsletter for a detailed description of the host jobs. Here, we’ll just remind you that we train you and that you do not have to be an expert on all things EBT. The museum is in Robertsdale PA and it’s open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. What days? Depends on how many volunteers we get!
FEBT Fall Reunion
The FEBT is looking for an individual to help with planning our yearly Fall Reunion. This typically takes place on
Columbus Day weekend at the railroad. It is hoped that this will be a shared duty with the volunteer to be responsible to plan the event only every other year. If you are organized, like planning, scheduling, and coordinating with vendors,
please reach out to us at this email address: email@example.com. – Randy Lehrian
Other FEBT Events
All FEBT events are coordinated and run by volunteers. A variety of roles are needed for each event, many of which only require a willingness to volunteer.
For any questions, feel free to contact us.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
To remain successful and grow, FEBT has many other facets that require volunteers. At any given moment, opportunities for interested and skilled volunteers are available in one of the following areas;
- Company Store Operations – new product development, and website maintenance may be needed. Contact the Company Store manager for further information.
- Collections Digitization – Volunteers to help digitize the FEBT photograph collection are needed. Contact Bill Adams for more information.
- Robertsdale Museum – Staffing the Robertsdale museum when work sessions are not scheduled is needed. Contact the Robertsdale Museum and Restoration coordinator to volunteer.
- Web and Social Media – Developing communications and gathering relevant news, compiling it and coordinating with the leadership for review and distribution via our website, Facebook and Twitter presence. Contact our Webmaster for more info.
- Awareness – You can also volunteer to represent the FEBT at train shows and other community events to raise awareness and spread news about us.
- Operations – If you have special skills that support FEBT operations, including legal, financial, investment, tax and grant writing skills, please contact Lawrence Biemiller to volunteer your services.