Thursday, January 18, 2007

Trestles on the Steely Fork Branch Line

Once the rails of the Diamond & Caldor Railway reached Caldor, some 34 rail miles east of Diamond Springs, three main feeder lines fanned to the north, east and south of the mill. The California Door Company used these lines to haul the freshly cut logs to its mill each day during the six to seven month logging season.

One of these feeder lines is still viable in the Eldorado National Forest several miles east of Grizzly Flat. The Steely Fork line ran northwest from the mill. At its northern most limit, it reached Bear Meadow.

The narrow-gauge expansion began in 1907. The line encompassed some 50 miles of logging spurs. The line allowed the company to log along North and South Steely creeks to Capps Crossing on the North Fork of the Consumnes River. The line reached Long Canyon and Bear Meadow to the west.

The Steely Fork line heads to the west as it climbs out of the Steely Fork canyon. This cut is found a hundred feet west of the ruins of the river trestle. The Steely Fork trestle crossed the river just west of the confluence of the North and South Steely creeks.

One of the few trestle bents that's remains upright. All four trestles collapsed years ago. Today the heavy timbers are slowly rotting.

The first trestle can be reached after a 10 minute hike from the Trestle Trail trail head. It's still possible to see some organization to the heavy bridge timbers on the ground. I was able to count a dozen or more bents at this trestle site. Most of the timbers (10x10 or larger) are in very good condition considering it's been 54 years since abandonment.

Bridge timbers are lined up on the ground between the eastern and western landings. This picture looks to the east.

Cross-posted at 'Round the Chuckbox blog.

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