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.