Monday, January 26, 2009

Now that spring's over ...

Outdoor work on the Diamond and Caldor Railbus No. 10 came to an abrupt halt Friday. A series of winter storms that slammed into the engine house made outdoor welding unsafe. The crew turned to other projects.

So, after two weeks of productive spring-like weather, all work moved indoors. Outside of some shop cleanup and design work, the two machinists were the most productive crewmen.

Sam Thompson steadily carves the middle eccentric for the Diamond and Caldor Shay No. 4 out of a large piece of cast iron. This photo, taken on Saturday, January 10, 2009, shows Sam's early progress. As of this past Saturday, the eccentric was starting to take shape. I'll post a photograph next week.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Grinding away

Grinding away, originally uploaded by SeabeeCook.

By my account, Keith Berry, Wayne Thorley and Steve Karoly have put in about 72 man-hours into the restoration of the Diamond and Caldor Railbus No. 10 since the first of the year. We have worked each Friday and Saturday since January 3.

Since Wayne took today off, Keith and I are working on other projects this morning.

As of this morning, we have completed the frame for the railbus and have completely re-built the rear coupler pocket. The rear wall to the body was completely framed in over the past four work sessions.

Yesterday, Keith and Wayne fabricated the pocket for the backup light and installed five cross-braces under the front deck on either side of the engine housing. One brace on the engineer's side will support the battery box. The two braces on the fireman's side will support the airtank.

Although Keith, Wayne and Steve currently make up the railbus team, other volunteers have contributed toward the railbus. They include:

  • Bill Rodgers and Mark Bruto repaired the MIG welder last Saturday. After mentioning about the welder 's demise on Friday, January 9, Keith and I though that we were going to have to transport it to Sacramento for repair. Bill and Mark stepped in Saturday and discovered the problem was a stuck relay switch.
  • Marcus Hodge is currently fabricating the battery box in his shop at home. When he completes that project, Marcus will take another project home to work on.
  • Jacob Karoly has served in a key role as Keith's helper for two Saturdays now. He will continue to work every other Saturday.
  • Dale Mace did the original design work on the coupler pocket. Dale has not been able to attend recent Saturday work sessions.
  • Ed Cuhna researched the make and model of the Wakasha engine. This is significant because two years ago we though it was a Stewart.
  • Now that we know the origin of the engine, we will be able to locate parts, etc., when Doug Youngberg re-builds it in his home in Oregon this spring and summer.
  • Keith Berry located and purchased a diesel locomotive ditch light for use as the backup light.
  • Keith Berry and Alterto Weiss built the brakeman's footboards last summer.

In the top photograph, volunteer Steve levels a piece of steel tubing with the power grinder inside the engine house. Keith fits the battery box brace in the second photograph.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Copy of El Dorado Narrow Gauge for sale on eBay

If you've followed this blog for any time, you know that we post several eBay auctions each year of our favorite book: Mallory Hope Farrell's El Dorado Narrow Gauge: The Diamond & Caldor Railway, which was published in 1990 (Pacific Fast Mail, Edmonds, Washington).

The latest auction of El Dorado Narrow Gauge was posted to eBay last night. The seller has listed a $75 opening bid price.

You immediately purchase the book with eBay's Buy It Now feature. The asking price is $225.

Before you pay $225, read my comments of the high price these sellers are asking for Ferrell's book. It looks like the copy I refer to sold for $175 in December.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Measure twice, cut once

At the moment Jacob is our only apprentice volunteer. He comes to the engine house every other Saturday to help the crew restore the Diamond and Caldor No. 4 Shay locomotive and other El Dorado County railroad artifacts.

Since I don't work in the trades, Jacob's visits to the engine house give him an opportunity to acquire essential skills. This’ll give him a head start when he takes an ROP class at his high school next school year. Unlike earlier generations (myself included), boys today don’t take as many shop classes in junior and senior high school.

"You check it again because it's easier to check than fix," said Keith Berry. Jacob has spent the morning assisting Keith to measure and cut the pieces for the battery box to the Diamond and Caldor Railbus No. 10. Once cut, Marcus Hodge will fabricate the box at his home shop.

Keith shows Jacob how much pressure to apply to the chop saw as he cuts a piece for the coupler pocket on the railbus.

Jacob cleans the edges on the piece of tubing for the coupler pocket. This ensures a clean surface when Wayne Thorley welds the piece in. And it gives Jacob a chance to learn how to control and use the grinder.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Body work on the Diamond and Caldor Railbus No. 10

As I said earlier this week, the crew made a significant amount of progress on the railbus last Saturday. These pictures show the work on the frame and body to the motor car.

We continue working as long as our equipment holds up. Welding stopped today just before noon when the wire feed to the MIG welder malfunctioned. Since a backup welder has been located, we should continue work in the morning.

These pictures show volunteer Wayne Thorley doing the bulk of the work on the railbus, which was built by master mechanic Arle Smith in the Diamond and Caldor shops, circa 1930. Keith Berry provided design and engineering backup to while Steve Karoly helped where needed.

Wayne sets up his next weld. We lifted the Millermatic MIG welder onto the deck of the railbus so Wayne could reach everything.

Wayne welds a piece of angle iron to the coupler pocket. Keith cut the pieces on the chop saw as Wayne prepared the surface for welding.

Wayne cuts a piece of the old window support away from the left side of the railbus. We're returning its configuration back to its 1953 design.

After watching Wayne weld for a day, I'm impressed by his talent.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Progress on the Diamond and Caldor Railbus No. 10

Saturday, three volunteers continued the reconstruction of the Diamond and Caldor Railbus No. 10. Steve Karoly, Keith Berry and Wayne Thorley, put in a full day. Steve and Keith supported Wayne as he welded new roof supports into the frame.

Our goal is to return the motorcar back to its 1953 configuration.

The Tally Ho -- its affectionate name from its glory days in the 1930s and 40s -- was reconfigured sometime between 1953 and the mid-1960s by then owner Hal Wilmunder. He added the outside walls and reconfigured the windows on the cab/housing.

The railbus was lettered as the Camino, Cable and Northern No. 10 and worked on Wilmunder's tourist railroad from 1964 to 1974. Richard Wright, pictured in the "fireman's seat," recently shared this picture of the railbus and two Shay locomotives in Camino. It was taken in May 1970.

The Shay on the right is the Diamond and Caldor No. 4. Wilmunder moved it from the fairgrounds to Camino in the fall of 1966.

"Friday morning (September 30, 1966) the old Caldor Shay engine at the fairgrounds was moved to the Camino, Cable and Northern railroad yards at Caimno, where it will be put back in operating condition and used on the narrow gauge line," said the October 6, 1966 issue of the Mountain Democrat.

In the end, the Shay was not renovated and was returned to the fairgrounds placed back on display.