05 July 2008

I Hate a Thief

For those of you who have been paying attention, you are aware of my particular fondness for a little railroad in south-central Pennsylvania.

For those of you who have not been paying attention, I have a particular fondness for a little railroad in south-central Pennsylvania.

The short story; the East Broad Top is a narrow gauge railroad 33 miles in length that mostly made a living hauling coal from the east side of the Broad Top mountain (there was a standard gauge railroad that took care of the west side, called the Huntingdon and Broad Top).

The railroad closed down in 1956 but the new owners didn't scrap it. In 1960 they brought 5 of the 33 miles back on-line as a tourist attraction. The rest of the road has sunk into 60 years of decay and negligence - but lest you think I'm saying something against the present owners, nothing could be further from the truth.

The railroad is still there, all of it (that hasn't fallen or been torn down), against all odds, and at great personal cost to the family. They are to be commended for their sacrifice, and my undying thanks go to them.

Apparently last week some sub-human miscreants made off with a quarter mile of the hundred year old rail, likely to cut it up for scrap.

This was no casual in-and-out lift a few rails into the back of a truck common thievery. Oh no, this was carefully planned and executed, complete with official looking fake contracts complete with forged signatures.

Several locals checked on the work in progress to see what was going on, and were convinced by the falsified paperwork that all was in order. The thieves made a clean getaway.

Since the East Broad Top is a National Historic Landmark the act of thievery may itself be a felony, added with the fraud and forgery charges.

One can hope that this slime is apprehended and has a lot of time to regret what they have done.

Unfortunately there are others who have similar, although worse, problems. Over in Merry Olde, five plaques were stolen or damaged from Naval monuments.

One can hope that those punks are found and hung from the yardarms of HMS Victory.

If, by rare chance, anyone stumbles upon this story and has anything to add please contact the Huntingdon County PA authorities and/or the East Broad Top Railroad.

Photo by Larry

UPDATE: The thieves have been found, and the rail has been recovered. Unfortunately the recovered rail had already been cut up into 3 foot sections, so cannot be re-installed.

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