Monday, April 30, 2007

Diamond & Caldor No. 4 Shay 100th Birthday

I've been so busy with the birth of my grandson that I forgot that Friday marked the 100th birthday of the Shay. It's only fitting that Ernesto David was born on the day that we at the El Dorado Western Railway count as the locomotive's 100th.

Saturday, April 27th, 1907 is the day that the Diamond & Caldor Railway No. 4 Shay locomotive was shipped from the Lima, Ohio factory to the foothills of California.

Although we don't know how long the trip took, the No. 4 was immediately put work on the mainline between Caldor and Diamond Springs. A typical consist in the early days of the logging line was made up of eight to 10 Russell lumber service cars and combine car 1002. The Shay hauled lumber to the mill for the next 20 years or so.

The No. 4 ended her days as a steaming locomotive in 1953 working the switching standard gauge lumber cars between the drying yards and the interchange with the Southern Pacific to the north. She spent most of the next 40 years on display at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

It wasn't until around 1993 that a dedicated group of railroad enthusiasts started the restoration process for the locomotive.

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