Sunday, July 13, 2008

Puttin' engines together

"You gotta remember how it all goes together," said Sam Thompson to Bill Rodgers. Sam and Bill disconnected the bearing at the "big end" of the connecting rod before as they prepared to put the engine no. 1 back together.

"You can't slip it over the end of the crankshaft," explained Sam. To assemble the piston-crosshead-connecting rod group, Sam and Bill had to work one part at a time. First the bearing was attached to the crankshaft. They next lowered the piston into the top of the cylinder and slipped the crosshead just under the piston rod. The last step was to insert the pins and test it.

It took the engine team about three hours to put the no. 1 together. Now that Bill and Sam have re-learned the process, they should be able to put engines no. 2 and 3 together next weekend.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We're puttin' things together ...

It's taken 14 years to disassemble and re-build the numerous parts on the Diamond and Caldor No. 4. Lead machinist Sam Thomson took almost two years to design, build and operate his "Rube Goldberg" valve resurfacing tool. He finished shaping the valve surfaces on the locomotive's three vertical engines last month.

Then two weeks ago, the crew reinstalled the crankshaft while I was on vacation. Sam's next project will be to complete the middle eccentric.

As Keith Berry says, the Shay is going together "one piece at a time." We're all happy to see her going together.

History of the California Door Company and its logging railroads #3

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.

The railroad was to be a three-foot, narrow gauge and would be 34.69 miles long. Construction progressed rapidly as the D&C was financed by a sound and prosperous company. Ties and bridge timbers were sawn out at the Caldor Mill and the track work advanced westward from Caldor to Diamond Springs.

A total of 63 trestles with a combined length of 10,992 feet were required to traverse the difficult terrain. A steel bridge structure 97 feet long was built to cross the North Fork of the Comsumnes River and was one of the longest ever built for a logging railroad up to the time.

Ties and trestle timbers were delivered to the work crews with the steam tractor and the work progressed rapidly. The Diamond and Caldor Railway line was completed in October 1904 after 18 months of construction and a cost of $388,788.00.

The first locomotive to see service was a Baldwin saddle tank 2-4-2T built in 1887 and purchased used from the Ferries and Cliff House Railway (their #3). At the same time locomotive #2, a Lima two-truck Shay #863 was purchased new and put into service.

Rolling stock was equipped with link and pin couplings standard for the times and which would eventually be the deciding factor in the termination of the railroad some 50 years later.

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

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New board member and officers

I'd like to take time to welcome our officers:

  • Keith Berry -- president
  • Steve Karoly -- vice-president
  • Bill Rodgers -- treasurer
  • Mary Cory -- secretary
Keith and I would like to thank outgoing president Eric Stohl. Eric has served as president for the past four or five years. Eric continues on the board as a director.

We'd also like to welcome Mary Cory to the board. In the past, she's always served as de facto member while serving as secretary. The board honored her tonight by electing her to a three-year term as a director.

Directors Shelly Tilly, Keith and I were re-elected as directors. According to the bylaws, directors serve three-year terms while the officers are reconfirmed each July.