1967 - 1969: One of the old boxcab's departs the Mack plant.
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One of the rare old Mack Truck Company - Allentown, PA boxcab locomotives will preform one of the 'rarest railroad job's in north america' shifting the East Broad Top railroad dual gauge yard tracks at Mount Union.
In March of 1967 a Trolley Museum located in central, Pennsylvania acquired Mack #4, but it was seldom operated at the Rockhill Furnace, PA location.
Then during November and December of 1968, a historical event occured at the East Broad Top railroad Mount Union yards and it included Mack #4. The dormant rails in Mount Union would once again be in service by the EBT. It had been 12 years since the 1956 abandonment of the EBT and no trains had operated on this portion of the line since then. However the EBT was now obligated to operate a locomotive here for a short period of time and Mack #4 was called to fulfill this duty. Although the EBT had two 0-6-0 standard gauge steam locomotives stored here, it was not practical to put them back into service for this work. This is when trolley museum offered to loaned #4 to the EBT for this Mount Union rail yard venture and it was loaded onto a tractor trailer and hauled there and unloaded onto the dual gauge rails.
Once Mack #4 was ready for train service in Mount Union, a few trolley members briefly showed the EBT crews how to operate #4. While here #4 shifted the dual gauge sidings for approximately a two month period moving dozens of empty 3 foot narrow gauge hopper cars. The duties for #4 was to locate and spot 20 cars for possible sale to the White Pass & Yukon railroad of Alaska. During the inspection by the W.P.& Y. RR, they rejected 5 cars and accepted 15 cars. The sales transaction included that the cars also be loaded into standard gauge gondola cars and ready for rail shipment.The EBT considered using the old “Timber Transfer” overhead crane for this project to lift narrow gauge hoppers up in the air and then push a standard gauge gondola under it. However after inspection of the “Timber Transfer” it was determined that the repairs to make it operational again far outweighed the benefits of using it for this short term project, and a more cost effective alternate method was devised.
To complete this project the EBT cleverly cut one of the dual gauge sidings in half. At one end they built a dual gauge loading ramp with the other end of the siding remaining at ground level. This allowed a standard gauge gondola car to be pushed up to the end of the ground level side of the ramp. Then the narrow gauge hopper cars were pushed up the loading ramp into the inside of the standard gauge "drop end" gondola cars. Once a EBT hopper car was secured Mack #4 would move each loaded PRR car to a siding next to the ramp track.
These 15 loaded PRR gondola cars would be put into 3 car consist and these were the last official EBT trains to operate in Mount Union by the "East Broad Top" railroad and Mack #4 was the locomotive to have this honor.
During the 2008 Fall sepctacular EBT general manager Stanley Hall recounted his days of working with Mack #4 while it was at Mount Union. The late Todd Prowell member #2 of the RTY Trolley Museum who owned #4 while it was being used at Mount Union, previosly had stated that the inexperience of EBT engineer Stanley Hall had caused the failure of the #3 traction motor. When Mack #4 was finished at Mount Union, it was then hauled by truck back to Rockhill Furnace were #4 was placed into storage until the day before it was going on another highway adventure to a new railroad location. The EBT never repaired the #3 traction motor that was damaged by engineer Stanley Hall, and it would later be repaired by Jimmy McHugh at his sole expense in 1970.
Photographs are the property of JC McHugh collection.
Mack #4, with the 3 foot narrow gage EBT hopper cars placed into the standard gage PRR drop end gondola cars.
Mack #4, photo taken at the then end of the trolley museum line on the old EBT Shade Gap branch.