Saturday, December 16, 2006

Blog Endorsement

It's always exciting to learn that another railroad blog has picked up our cause and provided a link back to the El Dorado Western Railway Blog.

FRN, a blog dedicated "trains in all their forms -- historical and modern, freight and passenger, real and model -- and the people who are crazy about them," posted a short article on our blog Thanksgiving evening. The blog title comes from a not-so-polite reference to foamers ("railroad groupies") who clutter the right-of-way.

We'd like to welcome FRN host Jonathan Crowe into that special band of EDWRF foamers. We know he's watching the blog. He picked up my recent post about John West's narrowow gauge on-line photo album.

Dale's Pipe Rack

Volunteer welder Dale Mace finished the rack for pipe and scrap steel two weeks ago. At this point, Dale's rack has to be one of the costliest racks in modern railroad history. He used the old boiler tubes from the 1997 steam up of Diamond & Caldor No. 4 Shay locomotive. Unfortunately, the tubes were no longer of any value to us.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Life Wasted Chasing Trains

I discovered a new website devoted to the photographic wanderings of John West. John begins his story with a nice picture of a 4-6-4 steaming through Niles Canyon in the S.F. Bay Aea.

Here's his story:
I took my first train picture in 1958, at age eighteen. Railways have always ascinated me, and trains, especially steam engines, can be dramatic photographic subjects. So photographing trains came naturally to me. And I'm still at it. This site is a rotating sample of my pix. The current version is focused on logging railroads, including Westside Lumber, a Chinese logging line, and what may be the last steam (and wood burning) logger... in Romania (pictured above--SCK).
View John's pictures by clicking here.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Extra Board

The Extra Board is a regular feature in The Dispatcher. We featured retired welder and volunteer Dale Mace in the summer 2006 issue ...

How many welders work with exposed forearms? Not many once the sparks start flying. But we know one who's fond of saying, "I don't own any short-sleeve shirts!" What does this have to do with the restoration of a 99-year old Shay, you ask? Lots.

Even when the thermometer tips the century mark, you’ll find Dale Mace, a retired welder who once fabricated armored cars for a living, sporting welder's hood, leather gloves and long-sleeve shirt. We've put him to work, long-sleeves and all.

Since coming on board in January, Dale has built three new corner braces for the Shay, installed corner supports and truss rods on the Railbus trailer and added multiple layers of metal to the original drive shaft slip joints.

So if you see a sparks flying in the hot Placerville sun, look for a long-sleeve shirt. That'll be Dale with torch in hand.

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Annual Christmas Dinner and Recognition

The Foundation held its El Dorado Western Railway's annual Christmas dinner and volunteer recognition last night at the Diamond Springs firehouse. Some 34 railroaders and family enjoyed three hours of good food, friendly railroad talk and recognition of five new volunteers.

For the second year, we've held the party in one of the cozy training rooms of Station 49, which is the headquarters for the Diamond Springs-El Dorado Fire Protection District. We'd like to publicly thank district board member Ed Cuhna for facilitating the use of the facilities. Ed also serves as a director on the EDWRF board.

The highpoint of the evening came when president Eric Stohl recognized the five new volunteers who've stuck around for most of the past year. I projected a photo of each new volunteer as Eric said a few words.

Coming aboard last January was retired welder Dale Mace. It was nice to get a glimpse of Dale in slacks and a leather jacket. We rarely see him in anything but longsleeve shirts and welder's helmet.

I've said in the past that Garrett Augusta and Ken and Scott Romine came to the railway as a team. It's only fitting that we recognize our Sacramento County crew in the same photograph.

Young Logan Tiley was recognized as the caboose. At eight, he may not be the volunteer with the longest association with the El Dorado Western. But we have confidence that he'll work his was to the engineer's seat someday.

I'll post a few pictures this evening.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Working in the Railroad

This blog comes to you in real time ...

Much of the work in the railroad is dusty, tedious and time consuming. Here, Ken Romine cleans rust off of the journal boxes to Arnold Z, our Plymouth locomotive. Ken and his son, Scott, will paint the boxes today.

Eight-year old Logan paints the topside of one of the Railbus trailer trucks.

Weldin' an A-Frame

This blog come to you in real time ...

This week is devoted to support projects and other work. Welder Dale Mace and El Dorado Western Railway president Eric Stohl are building a large A-frame steel storage rack. Lead machinist Sam Thomson and Bill Rodgers are working on the "Rube Goldberg" while Ken and Scott Romine continue cleaning the journal boxes to Arnold. And young Logan is helping where needed.

Dale use a 14-inch chop saw to cut old boiler tubes into section for the A-frame. The tubes were used in the Diamond & Caldor No. 4 Shay last time it was steamed in 1997. We are using them to build the A-frame because they can no longer be used in the boiler.

Dale and Eric use the first frame as the template for the second. They're welding in the engine house, close to the generator.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Color D&C Photos are Back on eBay

The two color photos of the Diamond & Caldor engine house and water tank have returned to They were snapped by J.C. Hammond on February 23, 1953.

The first, shows the D&C No. 4 Shay locomotive taking on water from the engine house water tank. At the time, the No. 4 had been the main yard switcher in Diamond Springs for about 20 years.

The second photo was taken a few feet to the north of the first. The No. 4 is in the barn in its usual spot, in the southern most stall. The Railbus No. 10 is also visible.

Both photographs are reprints and can be purchased for $14.99 each (with $2.50 for shipping). The seller's eBay store can be accessed here. "aRRts aRRchives" specializes in railroad reproductions.

According to the seller, the pictures are "8.5 x 11-inch digital color prints on Hewlett Packard premium plus glossy paper 35mm Kodachrome transparency scanned at high resolution with Nikon Coolscan V."

My copies of the photos arrived the other day. Three copies of each photograph are available for purchase this time.

Monday, November 06, 2006

How Fast Can a Shay Go?

There are two informative conversations occurring over at the Narrow Gauge Discussion Form.

The first answers this comment posed by El Coke last Saturday:

I enjoy all the great photos here of geared engines, especially the rare Climax. I have heard that Climax engines were the slowest, with a top speed of around 10 mph. Shays generally are estimated to have a top speed of 12 mph, but that depends on how they were geared. I was given a ride on WSL#14 on the Loop and the crew demonstrated a top speed of 15 mph to me, and said it had a higher gear ratio than most other Shays. Heislers were supposedly the fastest with a top speed of 20 mph. Any additions or corrections?
A few hours later, asked a question to clarify a rumor he had heard:

Just heard that Ron Trottier and company are doing a study to build new 40-80 ton Shays. Anyone else heard this? Guess we know what the long range power goals of the Loop are now.
These are interesting questions. I've got to go to work for now. Unfortunately, rebuilding a Shay doesn't pay the bills!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Foothill Rails Website Updated

John Barnhill has updated his Foothill Rails website at He has included a photograph of the Diamond & Caldor engine house and water tank from my personal collection.

I've dated this picture circa 1951 based in the Willies station wagon.

Four Shay locomotives are visible. The No. 4 sits tucked away in its usual stall. I've never seen a photo from the 1940s and 1950s that shows the No. 4 in any stall but the southern one.

The No. 10 is spotted just before the water tank. Two other Shays (likely a combination of Nos. 6, 7 and 8) sit inside the engine house. The Shay to the north of the No. 4 is missing its number plate.

The three Shays inside the engine house are served by the three-way stub switch between the No. 10 and water tank. The road in front of the Willies is an early dirt version of the current Missouri Flat Road. A fifth Shay may be located in stall no. 3 behind the No. 10.

When I purchased this photo, it didn't come with a date or the name of the photographer. The slightly yellowed original picture is a 2-3/8 by 3-1/4-inch snapshot. The photo was glued into an album.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Whole Lot of Hammerin' Going On

There was a whole lot of hammerin' going on today at the El Dorado Western Railway engine house.

"We called them fittin' tools," said retired welder Dale Mace. The sledge hammer was used at each of his jobs to make things fit.

Dale's career that spanned more than four decades where he worked as a ranch mechanic, armored car fabricator and all-around welder.

Locomotive engineer Garrett Augustus uses a large sledge hammer to forcibly remove a spring hander from Arnold Z, our Plymouth locomotive.

EDWRF President Eric Stohl (not visible) used the forklift to flip this truck. Treasurer Bill Rodgers hammers the chains off of the forks.

J.C. Hammond Color Photos of D&C Shops

I've located two color photos of the Diamond & Caldor engine house and water tank for sale on They were snapped by J.C. Hammond on February 23, 1953 (the day this writer was six months old!).

The first, shows the D&C No. 4 Shay locomotive taking on water from the engine house water tank. At the time, the No. 4 had been the main yard switcher in Diamond Springs for about 20 years.

The second photo was taken a few feet to the north of the first. The No. 4 is in the barn in its usual spot, in the southern most stall. The Railbus No. 10 is also visible.

Both photographs are reprints and can be purchased for $14.99 each (with $2.50 for shipping). The seller's eBay store can be accessed here. "aRRts aRRchives" specializes in railroad reproductions.

According to the seller, the pictures are "8.5 x 11-inch digital color prints on Hewlett Packard premium plus glossy paper 35mm Kodachrome transparency scanned at high resolution with Nikon Coolscan V."

I plan on purchasing the photos shortly after I post this blog. Not to worry. Two copies of each photograph are available for purchase.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Busting Off J-Box Wear Plates

Ken Romine drilled out the hexagon-head bolts to day on all four journal boxes to Arnold Z today. Ths was a last resort attempt to remove the left- and right-hand wear plates on the boxes.

Ken is going to use the wear plates in the best condition as a pattern for new plates. He will use one plate from each side.

What made this tricky was that there was only one good left-hand wear plate. By late morning, Ken has successfully removed all wear plates from the j-boxes.

Most Beautiful Shay?

Loggerhogger on the Narrow Gauge Discussion Board asked this question last Wednesday. He posted a historic picture of the West Side Lumber Co. No. 9 Shay with this comment:
This is my vote for the most beautiful Shay built. Yes, she is narrow gauge and not the one I run on a regular basis. But I must say, I have always admired the clean lines and powerful look to West Side Lumber #9.
Most beautiful? I'm couldn't say with any accuracy. But I doubt any Diamond & Caldor Shays fall into that category.

The photo of the D&C No. 7 is from my collection. It's the No. 7 Shay spotted in the wye in front of the Diamond Springs engine house. The date is August 21, 1938.

And let me add that the No. 4 is in better condition today as we're restoring it in Placerville than it was in its last years of service.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Just a quick note -- picked up the Shay Station Coffee Co. blog from last Saturday. Visit for the latest news and information on the Placerville area.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Shay Station Coffee Co. in Michigan

I just saw a post from last September over at Robert Harrington's Controlled Chaos blog. There's a coffee shop in Cadillac, Michigan named after the venerable Shay locomotive.

The Shay Station Coffee Co. menu includes "special beverages from cream fruit drinks to double chocolate mochas." A fajita chicken wrap and spicy bacon turkey salads are waiting to be discovered by 1920s-style soda fountain and eatery. The ciabatta bread paninis sounds good!

Cadillac is a former logging town up on the Michigan peninsula. Logging in the region began with the opening of the Pioneer Mill in 1871, with the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad reaching Cadillac in 1872.

The Michigan Iron Works Company of Cadillac manufactured the Shay locomotive for a short time before designer Ephraim Shay licensed the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio to manufacture the geared locomotive from 1880. Production continued until 1945.

A Placerville Shay Station?
We could franchise the Shay Station Coffee Shop out Placerville way. After all, we have plenty of coffee lovers in El Dorado County. And we have the most important accoutrement -- a 99-1/2-year old Shay locomotive.

It would be much more romantic than walking into a Starbucks each day!

What more can you ask for? A Shay geared loco and good coffee. And it might be a good way to raise cash for the old No. 4!

Cross-posted at 'Round the Chuckbox.

Fall Newsletter at the Printers this Week

The fall issue of The Dispatcher, the official newsletter of El Dorado Western Railway Foundation, is now on museum director Mary Cory's desk. Mary will had it off to the printer Monday or Tuesday.

The third issue for 2006 should be in the mail by the end of the week.

The Dispatcher is a benefit of membership in the railway foundation. A copy of the quarterly is mailed to each member's house each January, April, July and October.

To join our effort to renovate the Diamond & Caldor No. 4 Shay locomotive and to build and operate an El Dorado County Logging and Railroad Museum, send $35 (check or money order) for individual membership to:

PO Box 3517
Diamond Springs, CA 95619

Family membership costs $60, corporate $100 and life membership is $500 for individual or family and $1,000 for a business. Annual membership runs from January to December.

Won't you please join our effort for the 2007 renovation season and help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of the D&C No. 4 Shay?

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Truck Assembly to Railbus Trailer

Another blog is real time ...

The first truck assembly to the Railbus trailer is now completely disassembled. Welder Dale Mace and president Eric Stohl removed both wheel sets this morning.

Over the past month, Dale and Eric have taken the truck apart piece by piece. Like so much of our work at the engine house, each Saturday sees another component or two removed.

A piece here, a piece there. Two - three - four Saturdays pass and the project is done.

It's like the Bill Murray and Richard Dryfuss movie, What About Bob.

"Baby steps, get on the elevator ... baby steps get on the elevator ... Ah, I'm on the elevator," said Bob Wiley, Bill Murray's character in the movie.

That's how things operate at the engine house -- with baby steps.

Designing the Valve Shaper "On the Fly"

This blog comes in real time ...

Bill Rodgers (left) and Sam Thompson discuss the drive mechanism for the shaper head to Sam's "Rube Goldburg" valve shaping tool. This morning they cut the handle off of a ratchet gear wrench. They'll use the wrench to turn the screw that'll advance one of the shaping mechanisms. The discussion around the piece that will advance the wrench head.

About 10:30 this morning I asked Sam how the piece would work. He said he could best show me in the machine shop. As we walked, Sam asked, "You know how a shaper works?" I struggled for words. I have a basic idea, but am always afraid that I'll get it wrong.

"It's the same idea in the machine shop," Sam responded. He explained how how a ram travels back and forth, shaving a thin layer of metal off with each pass. I understood. You can see the wrench head that Sam placed on the nut in the lower right corner of the photo (red arrow). Sam and Bill are now designing the mechanism that will advance the nut and screw to the right.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Update on D&C No. 4 Shay Model

The Shay model is currently selling for $366 with two days remaining on the auction. Eight bidders have left 15 total bids so far. I'm not certain that the locomotive will top the $700 opening bid from last June.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wood Burning Late Model D&C No. 4 on eBay

Another Diamond & Caldor No. 4 Shay locomotive has appeared on The wood-burning Shay sports Sunbeam headlight just forward of a diamond stack.

The last time this model surfaced on eBay, it didn't sell. The starting bid in June was $700.

It's currently running at $280. Eight bidders have already tried. The auction runs through October 22. It closes at 6:47 p.m. Pacific Time.

Read my comments from last spring here. As I noted in my June 9 blog, this model locomotive isn't the piece for you if you're looking for authenticity.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rube Goldberg Update

Real time from inside the machine shop ...

Lead machinist Sam Thompson continued working on his "Rube Goldberg" valve shaping machine all morning after the boiler meeting.

A few minutes ago I asked him how the project was going. "Oh, I'm scratching my head," responded Sam. I didn't ask the nature of his dilemma. I'm confident he'll work it out.

Treasure and board member Bill Rodgers was helping Sam earlier this today. Bill has since left for a retirement job with one of the Apple Hill growers.

Railbus Trailer J-Box Guides

Another blog as the crew works ...

EDWRF welder Dale Mace welds angle iron guides adjacent to one of the Railbus trailer journal boxes. Railway president Eric Stohl said the guides prevent the journal boxes from twisting the wrong way.

The guides only allow up and down motion, according to Eric. Eric and Dale are the primary crew members on the trailer project. EDWRF vice president Keith Berry has been priming and preparing metal surfaces for paining. He is going to use an oil-based pain from Ace Hardware. The color closest to the original is named Royal Red by Ace.

The journal box before Dale installed guides. You can see the damage to the slots as the original journal boxes were allowed to twist from side to side and side up and down. The damage is visible at the base of the rusted spacers.

Back to Work

The work must continue ...

Garrett Augustus returns to the dirty work of running a railroad. After the boiler committee meeting this morning, Agustus returned to his main project, which is cleaning our Plymouth locomotive, Arnold Z.

EDWRF Website Note

While the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation website is being reworked you can still view the old file through the "backdoor." Webmaster George Potter said the old files would remain in place for the time being.

George cautioned, however, that the different pages would be removed as he updates each section of the original EDWRF website.

During reconstruction, the best place to start is the About Us page at Navigation links to the right continue to work. A click on the Home button will take you to the new front page, which currently has no navigation links. Use your back button to return to the version 1 website.

Water Tank Brace Pictures

This blog comes to you in real time ...

Here's the promised photograph of the rear water tank brace to the Diamond & Caldor No. 4 Shay locomotive. You can find Tuesday's blog on the water tank braces here.

Boiler project manager Doug Youngberg said Tuesday that the spacer will be removed once the rivets are installed. He said the appropriate sized spacer may be installed once the water tank settles into the wood deck planks.

The bottom photo shows the bolt as it comes through the frame to the locomotive.

Boiler Committee

This blog comes to you in real time ...

Shortly after 9 a.m. this morning, Garrett Augustus, Doug Youngberg, Sam Thompson and George Potter (left to right in top photo) met as the boiler committee to discuss future repairs to the boiler of the Diamond & Caldor No. 4 Shay locomotive. The oiler tank to the Shay serves as the conference room.

Doug and George also serve as members of the board of directors for the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation. Sam is our lead machinist while Garret brings years experience as a locomotive engineer. Garret periodically fires for the one of the steam locomotives on the Skunk Train. The Skunk runs between Willits, California and Fort Brag on the Pacific Coast.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

El Dorado Western Railway Website

George Potter, EDWRF webmaster and board member, has started working on an updated website for the railway. The website hasn't moved -- it can still be found at

The extensive database of photos and articles will temporarily be unavailable while George develops new links and layout. Check back frequently, please. For now, we will continue to place up-to-date news items on the blog.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Water Tank Braces

I stopped by the engine house this afternoon after I spotted Doug's truck in the parking lot. Doug and Keith are meeting tonight for a few hours to discuss the placement and riveting of the braces. They plan to do it in the next few months.

Doug showed me the location of each of the four braces. Two are installed on back end of the water tank. The other two braces, which secure the water tank to the locomotive frame, are located inside the cab.

In the photo, the lefthand brace is visible above the grinder. Unfortunately, this is the only photo that I've taken of the water tank. I'll take a few shots of the brace detail this weekend.

The bottom of the "L" on the brace sits about two inches above the deck, just above the rivet line on the tank. Doug said the water tank will settle once the locomotive starts operation. Approximately 20,000 pounds of water and oil (the oil tank sets on top of water tank) and the motion of the Shay will encourage the underside rivets to dig into the wood deck.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Adjourn to Pie

The El Dorado Western Railway Foundation has a tradition.

Regardless of the scope of discussion or extent of disagreement, the board meeting always adjourns to pie. A slice of pie and cup of juice has a way of placing us at ease. It allows us to relax and turn our attention away from the business of running a railroad.

Last Thursday's meeting was my first turn to bring pie. Each board member is scheduled to bring pie once each year. My next scheduled turn is September 7, 2007.

It gave me a rare opportunity to bake a chocolate cream pie for the meeting. Baking the pie brought bake fond memories of baking in the Navy. I first worked as a night-shift baker at Naval Air Station Lemore, California while assigned to Attack Squadron 127. Each night the crew baked about 200 single-and double-crust pies.

The recipe is posted at 'Round the Chuckbox, my personal blog.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pelton Wheel for the Sunbeam Generator

At the board meeting two weeks ago, Keith Berry and Doug Youngberg announced that the railway had successfully purchased an original Pelton wheel for the Sunbeam generator.

"All for 32-volts," Keith commented when he learned of the $835 price tag.

"We could've bought lantern batteries for years!"
Kidding aside, the generator is now ready to test after it's first rebuild in better than 50 years.

Keith and Doug have been working on the dynamo in Doug's shot for six months. The coils were recently re-wound and new bearings have been installed. They are ready to test the unit with compressed air.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Removing the Hitch to Railbus No. 10

Another blog as the crew works ...

Late this morning, Dale cut two angle braces away on the Diamond & Caldor Railbus No. 10.

Removal of the hitch is necessary. Our plan is to restore the Railbus to its original configuration.

The extended hitch arrangement was added to the end of the Railbus when it was owned by Hal Wilmunder's Camino, Cable & Northern Railway.

The CC&N was a tourist line that opened in August 1964. Wilmunder rescued the Railbus from the scrapper's torch when the D&C ceased operation in 1953.

CC&N railroad closed in 1974.

Steps hung from both sides of the hitch during the CC&N days in Camino. The hitch has weakened after years of neglect.

EDWRF President Eric Stohl pours water through the rail planks to douse any fires. Junior railroader Logan manned the bucket brigade after Dale completed his cutting.

Journal Boxes to Arnold Z

This blog comes to you in real time ...

At our last work day two weeks ago, Garrett Augustus, Ken Romine and Scott Romine finished removing the last two journal boxes from Arnold Z.

Ken and Scott took the four boxes to Performance Machines (1348 Yosemite Ave., Mantica, CA, 209.239.2000) for service.

Owner Walt charged $40 boil the bearings in acid and steam clean the boxes. The job normally costs $100.

It's the generous donation time and labor by local business that helps the El Dorado Western Railway accomplish its goal of restoring locomotives like Arnold to service.

As I write, Ken is blasting rust away with a pneumatic needle gun in the museum yard. Ken, Garrett and Scott will prime, paint and repack the bearings at future work days.

Here's a few shots of the interior of a journal box:

Teaching the Young

This blog comes to you in real time ...

El Dorado Western Railway Vice President Keith Berry (the guy with the big forearms) help eight-year old Logan steady the power sanding disk.

Keith and Logan are preparing recently welded surfaces on the Railbus trailer for priming and painting. They are preserving the wrought iron surfaces for coming winter rains.

In recent months, welder Dale Mace fabricated and installed corner braces and truss rods to the trailer.

Monday, August 28, 2006

More on Removing Arnold's Journal Boxes

On Saturday, August 19, Garrett Augustus and Ken and Scott Romine removed the two remaining journal boxes to Arnold Z. The process is fairly straightforward. Here how they do it:
  1. First, wipe the grease off the end of the axel.
  2. Remove the cotter pin (see first picture). The easiest way is to slip an old screwdriver through the loop and prey it out.
  3. Loosen the large nut at the end of the axel. If channel locks don't work, tap the nut with a pall pean hammer.
  4. Screw in six 5/8-inch studs.
  5. Get a chair. A 5-gallon bucket works well.
  6. Slip the journal box puller over the six studs and secure it in place with nuts.
  7. Screw the large center threaded rod in. This the rod that will pull the journal box off the axel. The center rod keeps things centered.
  8. Now you're ready to pull the journal box off.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

El Dorado Narrow Gauge Book Tops $70

Remember the copy Ferrell's El Dorado Narrow Gauge that sold for an impressive $35 last week?

The latest copy of the book went for $70.99 this evening. That's about $10 less than the $80 average.

Keith had told me at lunch today that we should secure a copy of the book for the railway's library.

My concern was that the bidder, who appears to live in Diamond Springs, had placed several large bids after he had placed himself on top Friday evening . My fear was that this gentleman (I assuming he's a man) had placed a very high proxy bid into the eBay auction system.

I was right. Had Keith or bid today, we certainly won the book at a hefty price -- over $80, I suspect.

Since the book surfaces once or twice each month, we'll wait to get a copy for the railway.

Removing Arnold Z's Journal Boxes

I only had a few minutes to stop by the engine house yesterday. An adult daughter is in town and I spent the day with her.

When I walked in around 9:30 a.m., Garrett was attacking the Arnold Z with a needle gun. Sam and Bill were working on a few items in the machine shop. And Eric and Logan stripped threaded bolts from one of the trucks to the Railbus trailer.

Last weekend, nine volunteers labored on the No. 4 Shay, the Plymouth and the trailer. It was the best turnout the El Dorado Western Railway has had this summer.

Garrett, Ken and Scott removed the last two journal boxes to the Plymouth. Dale, Eric and Logan, our newest and youngest trainman, were removing the brake shoes and tumbler bar from the Railbus truck. And Sam and Bill continued in the machine shop with Sam's valve shaping tool. Keith helped where needed.

(In case you're interested, I take keep historical notes for the newsletter and the blog, in addition to being the photographer.)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pulling the Pistons

Saturday, I arrived at the engine house around 8:45 a.m. I took my time. Biscuits and gravy at the Diamond Springs Hotel sounded good that morning.

As I walked up to the machine shop, Sam Thompson approached me and said, "Hey, you missed all the fun!"

The crew had removed the pistons from engines no. 1 and 2 in short order.

"I need to take them out anyway," Sam said. Dirt and shavings would fall into the cylinders when he shapes the valves this fall.

Sam left the no. 3 piston installed for the moment

An inside view of engine no. 1.

The pistons inside the machine shop.

Sam is getting ready to fit another piece to his valve shaper.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

El Dorado Narrow Gauge Sold for Less Than $40!

Earlier this week I made note of a copy of El Dorado Narrow Gauge by Ferrell for sale by auction on I said that this book often sells for over $80.

The book sold for an impressive $35.05 earlier this afternoon.

The nice thing about an on-line action like is that you find occasional deals. To find these deals, you have to stay on top of eBay and watch.

Set your personal top bid and wait. Unless the item is extremely rare (or you want it today), you'll be rewarded with patience.

It may take time, but in the end, you'll have the item that you searching for.

Cylinders and the Backhead

I left my notebook at the engine house. Until I retrive it ...