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.
Rockhill Furnace restorations sessions for 2021 are:
- January 8, 9, 10
- February 20, 21
- March 13, 14
- April 10, 11
- May 1, 2
- May 22, 23
- May 24-28 work week
- June 12, 13
- July 10, 11
- July 31, August 1
- August 21, 22
- September 4, 5
- September 20-24 work week
- November 6, 7
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.
The Robertsdale crew works to further restoration of the Rockhill Iron and Coal Company Post Office and the EBT Station, both of which are owned by FEBT. Work session times are 9:30-4 each day.
2021 Robertsdale restoration session dates:
- May 15
- Robertsdale restoration session are currently schedule on an as-needed basis until the reopening of the museum. Watch our News page for announcements of upcoming sessions.
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.