Sunday, March 30, 2008

Machining brake pins

Two new volunteers, Alberto and John, started machining brake rigging pins from a large piece of tool steel yesterday. Alberto is a retired machinist. He's a welcome addition to the machine shop. John, who's the son of board member Bill Rodgers, is a local contractor.

The first step was to cut the bar stock into workable lengths on the Racine power hack saw.

The blade and stock are cooled with a mixture of water and oil. Typical of any operation, Sam and Alberto had to unplug the cooling line before operating the saw yesterday.

Machining the tool steel into a pin.

All that needs to be done now is to cut the pin off of the excess stock. To save stock, Alberto is going to turn the piece around and mill a second pin on the stock.

Railway Volunteers Form the Backbone of EDWRF

Volunteers drive the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation—always have, and they always will.

Many volunteer trainmen, including several who've been involved since the project's 1993 launch, have patiently stuck with the project despite many setbacks. These men and women laid the foundation and set the vision for EDWRF and the proposed El Dorado County Logging and Railway Museum.

Historically, the railway didn't seek any kind of membership. As a volunteer of the El Dorado County Historical Museum, you just showed up and went to work. Once EDWRF was formed in 1997, volunteers have served both the railway and the museum.

In many respects, museum volunteers have carried the burden of giving new life the No. 4. Many supplemented "official" funding sources through generous donation of frequent shopping trips to Lowes and Home Depot in Folsom.

The EDWRF board chartered a new mode of operation two years ago with the inception of the Associate Membership program. It was time to take EDWRF to the next level. The railway recognized that it needed a consistent, growing base of support to meet its ambitious goals.

The railway needs volunteers who're committed to its long-term goal of building and operating a demonstration railroad along the old Southern Pacific right-of-way. This has been a major component of EDWRF’s mission statement since its inception.

As the day approaches when the Diamond & Caldor No. 4 and the Tally-Ho Railbus No. 10 will ramble down the old Espee right-of-way, the railway will need a cadre of committed volunteers to operate the museum and railroad.

Train crews, under the watchful eye of the train master, will form the frontline echelon of the railroad. Behind the scenes, workers like the machinists, mechanics, welders and hostlers will keep the railroad on the tracks. And let's not forget the section gang.

And don't forget that many will assume dual roles as trainmen and maintenance workers.

Docents, who can articulate the difference between the Shay and Heisler geared locomotives, will guide tours through the museum. Sales clerks will sell books and memorabilia in the gift shop. And of course, the bookkeeper and accountant will keep taxman happy.

My point is this: Volunteers drive the EDWRF. We must never forget that we serve both EDWRF and the El Dorado County Historical Museum.

As we celebrate the No. 4's 100th birthday, the railway must continue to recruit and develop volunteers at all levels.

As a representative of the board, I encourage all members to sell the benefits of the railway to El Dorado County citizens. And invite them to view the locomotive at the next Saturday workday.

The railway can only function through the generous donation of your time, energy and recourses.

This article was printed in the Spring 2007 issue of The Dispatch, the newsletter of the El Dorado Western Railway.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Through the eyes of a steam dome

The engine house and museum yard reflect back into the polished steam dome cover from the Diamond and Caldor No. 4 as I take the picture. The Shay geared locomotive is being restored to full operation by the El Dorado Western Railway. It's located at the El Dorado County Historical Museum in Placerville, California.

Yard cleanup day

Saturday the crew of the El Dorado Western Railway cleaned the engine house yard. Our main purpose was to help the museum get ready for its sale of excess museum property, which is being help on Saturday, March 29, 2008 (see the link for more information on the sale).

Like many short lines, including the Diamond and Caldor Railway, we have collected an odd assortment of scrap iron and old parts in 15 years of existence. To facilitate the sale, the crew had to move railway property to a secure area. Since railway property is not for sale, we wanted to ensure that museum staff and volunteers only tag appropriate items for the sale.

All went well until about 11 a.m. when the transmission in the forklift became extremely hot. Eric Stohl, EDWRF president and forklift driver parked it and shut her down for the day.

Keith Berry, left, Steve Karoly and Bill Rodgers wrestled the three rusted drive chains to Arnold Z, the Plymouth locomotive, into a steel barrel. Keith plans to give the chains a Diesel-fuel bath. This will help break the rusted links to the point where we can clean and lubricate.

Eric prepares to move a pallet of parts for the Michigan-California Lumber Co. bobbie car. We believe the bobbie car, which the Mich-Cal once used to transport rough cut lumber across the American River gorge is the only one remaining.

Doug Youngberg, left, and Bill catch up on news on the railroad front while Eric loads the bobbie car parks on Doug's trailer. Since Doug's move to Oregon last year, he had become one of a handful of long distance volunteers. Doug plans to rebuild the bobbie car in his new machine shop.

Keith, left, and Doug discuss possible problems with the forklift. At first they though it may be a hydraulic leak. They later determined that the cause of excessive smoking and fluid loss could be a transmission seal.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

One museum's junk is another man's treasure

On March 29, 2008, the El Dorado County Historical Museum will be holding a walk-through of surplus items on sale. Offers can be made by sealed bid due by 4:00 PM that day. Photographs and descriptions of the items to be sold are posted on the county's Purchasing Department website.

All items on sale have been reviewed by the Museum Commission and do not fit into the museum mission because of condition or history. Items will be, for the most part, sold in lots. Individual items on sale of note are the 1954 Willys, an upright George Steck and Co. piano, antique oil dispensers, an antique lathe, and antique washing machines. Please see the website for the complete listing.

Rain date for the sale will be April 5, 2008. Please call Mary at (530) 621-5828 for more information.

Mary Cory
El Dorado County Historical Museum

Ed. note: The lumber wagon is not for sale.