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The U.S. state of Pennsylvania is known as the state where the United States of America began with the drafting and the signing of the Declaration of Independence at the Pennsylvania State House in the city of Philadelphia. (It is Independence Hall today.) The state is also known for its coal mines and factories in small towns. In the central part of the state, the East Broad Top Railroad was a narrow gauge railroad constructed in the 1870’s to connect the mines and factories to the main line in the top of Mount Union, Pennsylvania. This continued until the 1950’s where the rail service began to decline. The line was abandoned.
In 1960, the East Broad Top Railroad began running excursions trains, and the excursions trains continued until 2011. The line was abandoned for good.
Or was it?
The Friends of the East Broad Top Railroad purchased the property, and railroad excursions returned in 2020. The trains are running again.
The East Broad Top Railroad is the only narrow gauge railroad in the eastern United States and one of only a few east of the Mississippi. Along with the train rides, you can also take a shop tour to see the old round house and the repair shops.
The East Broad Top Railroad is located at 421 East Meadow Street (Pennsylvania Route 994) in Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania just west of U.S. Route 552. Parking is on site. You can read more into the railroad at https://eastbroadtop.com/.
The East Broad Top has returned. Come and take a ride on America’s most authentic narrow gauge railroad.
The Hocking Hills in the U.S. state of Ohio is a region southeast of the state capital of Columbus that is full of forests, waterfalls, and other natural wonders. People come here to hike and to camp and to be in nature. With all these natural wonders, there is also a mechanical wonder in this region.
All aboard the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville, Ohio. It runs on a line that originally was built to connect the city of Columbus and the town of Athens, and it was once part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Today, the line only runs between Nelsonville to Haydenville and does not connect to any other line. The journey begins at the Nelsonville Depot which also houses a small museum. You enjoy the museum, but you came here to ride the train.
You step outside, and you watch the train pulling into the station. You feel transported back in time. As you watch the train arrive. You board one of the vintage passenger cars being pulled by a steam locomotive, and you take a seat. The time comes when the train pulls out of the station. You watch as you pull out of the town of Nelsonville. You cross over a creek. You pass by open land and houses and an old run-down depot. They you see a quarry filled with water. You then arrive in Haydenville. Sadly, this is the end of the line, but you are not down on your luck because you watch the locomotive go by to reattach to the other end to pull the train back to Nelsonville. As you are enjoying the ride back, you notice an old kiln. It was here where bricks were made, and they were shipped by train to locations across the country, but you just see ruins. The next thing you know is that you are back in Nelsonville and at the Nelsonville depot. You get off the train, and you are back to normal life.
Along with excursion trips to Haydenville, the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway is in the process of clearing old trackage south of the Nelsonville Depot to Robbins Crossing, a living history village operated by Hocking College. A ride on the train to here will really bring your time travel experience to life.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway is operated completely by volunteers. There is no paid staff. Their real payment is seeing the operation of vintage equipment and the joy of the passengers.
The Nelsonville Depot is located at 33 West Canal Street in Nelsonville, Ohio. It is minutes from U.S. Route 33 and Ohio Route 278 and a short walk from the town center. Parking is on site, and the train is handicap accessible. You can get more information at https://www.hvsry.org/. If you have a little time, you can take a short drive to the Robbins Crossing living history village. Admission to the village is free.
The next time you are in southeastern Ohio, make your way to Nelsonville. Climb aboard the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway where the history of the Hocking Hills still rolls on.