Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pressure washing

Keith Berry pressure washes the No. 3 cylinder. Sam Thomson finished his 15-long long project to resurface the valve facings on the Diamond and Caldor No. 4 two weeks ago. The crew pulled the engine out of the engine house today so Keith could clean dirt and metal shavings from around the valve surfaces.

History of the California Door Company and its logging railroads #2

This history was prepared by Robert Niles for the Eldorado National Forest in 1979. The El Dorado Western Railway blog will reprint serialized portions of Mr. Nile’s report in the coming months.

A new, modern sawmill was constructed and the locale was renamed “Caldor.” Mr. Anton Hassler, Sr., was designated as the new mills superintendent. He had emigrated from Germany and was working for the California Door Company, which at that time had a contract to manufacture and install sash and doors during an expansion and remodeling project at San Quentin Prison at San Rafael. He moved to Caldor as superintendent in 1902 when the new sawmill was completed.

The new mill was unique in that the log pond, supplied by water from Dogtown Creek, was elevated above the operating floor of the mill, allowing the floated logs to be lowered by gravity down the log chute to the mill floor for placing on the log carriage. The sawn lumber was then transported to Diamond Springs where a new planing mill has been constructed. Rail service from the Diamond Springs mill was available via the Central Pacific (Southern Pacific) Railroad to the Oakland sash and door plant.

The sawn lumber from Caldor Mill was first transported to Diamond Springs on lumber wagons drawn by mule teams. This was a slow and difficult task. Oxen were then tried for a time to see if they could improve on the situation, but they provided no appreciable advantage. The progressive company then brought in chain driven steam tractors to do the hauling job in 1901. A review of the situation made it apparent, however, that a railroad would be the only reasonable solution to the transportation problem.

A railroad route was surveyed in 1901 and a wholly owned subsidiary of the California Door Company, the Diamond and Caldor Railway, was incorporated as a common carrier in 1902. Officers of the railroad were W.Y Kellog, President; C.W. Doe, Vice President; F.A. Merquire, Secretary; E.H. Kitteredge, Treasurer; and W.I. Wilson, General Manager.

I'll post the next installment in two weeks ...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pulling No. 4 out of the barn

Pulling No. 4 out of the barn, originally uploaded by SeabeeCook.

The Diamond and Caldor Railway No. 4 gets some fresh air after seven months in the engine house. Lead machinist Sam Thompson watches to keep the engineer's side track clear. We pulled the engine for the El Dorado County Fair in Placerville, California, yesterday.

Although fair attendance is down significantly from last year, about 200 fair goers stopped by and viewed the engine. The locomotive is in its fifteenth year of restoration.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Come out to the fair

I'm getting ready to head out to the El Dorado County Fair and pull the No. 4 out of the engine house with the crew. This has been a slow year so far, so we need you to come out. The museum, railroad and fair have each experienced low turnout.

We would love to meet our fans today. All it costs you is a nominal fee at the entrance gate. The Diamond and Caldor No. 4 will be on the trail track from 10 a.m. until around 5 p.m.

See you then ...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

No. 4 to be displyed at the county fair

The No. 4, originally uploaded by SeabeeCook.

From Eric Stohl, president of the El Dorado Western Railway:

Every June is marked by the El Dorado County Fair in Placerville, and each year we look forward to putting the Diamond and Caldor No. 4 Shay on display. Volunteers will be available each day of the fair from June 12 to 15 to answer questions about the engine.

This year we will pull the engine out of its barn on Saturday, June 14. Besides the excitement of seeing the old girl in the sun, this year we are going to allow visitors into the cab for pictures. This is a fund raising activity so we will charge for this privilege.

So mark you calendar for June 14 and come on by the fair and say hi. You’ll have pay admission to get in, but it’s worth the nominal charge. El Dorado County Fair is located at 100 Placerville Road, Placerville, Calif.

We look forward to seeing you.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The crew

Here's the crew of the El Dorado Western Railway:

From left: Harold Tilton, Bill Rodgers, Keith Berry (vice-president), Sam Thompson, Alberto Weiss, Dale Mace, Steve Karoly and Eric Stohl (president)
Not present: Ed Cuhna, Doug Youngberg (in Oregon) and Richard Wright (Kentucky)