Saturday, April 18, 2009

Restoration by remote control

This article was originally published in the winter 2008 edition of The Dispatch, the official newsletter of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation. It contains many of the thoughts of our current president, Keith Berry

Volunteers are a very special type of individual, and are fast becoming a rare resource in our "me first--it’s all about me" society. Discovering--and then nourishing such an individual, who gives of their time, talent and resources--is the challenge of any volunteer driven project.

Our Diamond and Caldor No. 4 restoration project enters its 14th year! That is a lifetime in terms of volunteerism. Some volunteers work awhile and then move on. Others stay longer, committed to the end, determined to overcome the challenges, just to reach the point of saying, "We did it!"

However, the longer the project, the chances increase that some members of the team experience life and family changes that take them out of the local community, even though they remain committed to the endeavor. That’s when Restoration by Remote Control becomes a viable alternative for these individuals to remain connected to the project.

Within our project, several team members support the local team in very special ways.

Richard Wright, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, has been on the team for years. Richard grew up in Placerville, has family here and played on the No. 4 as a child when it sat at the fairgrounds.

Richard excels at pattern making, casting coordination and technical consultation. Richard has re-created patterns for locomotive number plates, builder’s plates, axle bearings and now is working on brake system patterns. We look forward to Richard’s future return to the local area, so he can enjoy seeing the No. 4 return to operation.

Doug Youngberg recently relocated to Oregon, so he can enjoy being covered over in blowing rain and snow. Also a long standing team member, Doug is instrumental in all phases of the restoration, and is our boiler project leader.

Doug refers to his new shop as the El Dorado Western Oregon Division. His new shop will serve to restore locomotive components and special one of a kind projects such as the Michigan California Lumber "Bobbie Car" reconstruction. Doug falsely thinks he is going to rest in retirement.

Ken and Scott Romine, father and son team from Manteca, continue to serve long distance, executing mechanical work and providing heavy-haul trucking resources for movements of track. Movement of special narrow gauge size equipment calls for special people like the Romine family.

The eventual success of our volunteer driven projects is through overcoming the logistical changes in our members lives. Given electronic communication, projects can be pursued from de-centralized locations, engineering drawing copied and transmitted and visual relationship maintained through website, blog site and cell phone photography.

We maximize our project success through the following:

  • Matching the skills of the remote volunteer to projects that don’t require their presence in Placerville.
  • Provide resources, like drawings, parts, pictures, and funds to complete the project.
  • Stay in touch with the understanding that the remote volunteer does have a life elsewhere; let time be a flexible resource rather than a constraint.
  • Acknowledge each contribution with sincere thanks and appreciation.
  • Enjoy the ride! Every part counts and every completed project is a step toward the overall accomplishment. All projects have contributing value, and share equally toward completion.
  • Upon completion of one remote project, find new projects that may interest the remote volunteer. Projects should be fun!
Restoration by remote control is a great way to retain special people who have been a vital part of the project. Coordinating them with on-site volunteer efforts is the key to reaching the status of "A special project, well done, by special people, voluntarily."

Thanks to all of our remote volunteers. Your efforts are most appreciated.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Keith Berry in the news

The crew, originally uploaded by SeabeeCook.

"(Steam) is a big deal for anyone into trains because it brings back an understanding of what life was like in Roseville," said El Dorado Western Railway President Keith Berry in a Roseville Press-Tribune article this afternoon.

"You're looking at active history in this area right now."

This afternoon a Keith and I drove over to Roseville to view the Union Pacific No. 844 roll into town for the weekend. It was the last steam locomotive built and delivered to the Union Pacific Railroad.

With a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement, the locomotive was used in fast passenger train service until the 1957. The 844 spent its last days in active service pulling freight trains.

The Union Pacific saved the engine from the scrapper's torch in 1960. It now tours the country as a living legacy to the days of steam. The locomotive was built by the American Locomotive Company (construction no. 72791).

A visit from an out-of-town volunteer

Doug Youngberg and wife drove down from their home in Oregon the last two weekends. They're moving the last of their belongings from storage to their home along the Sprague River in southeastern Oregon.

When long-distant volunteers come to Placerville, it gives the crew a chance to catch up on what's happening in their lives. These volunteers, like Doug and Richard Wright in Kentucky, get to interact with the crew on a more personal level. And the visit helps to validate their involvement with the project.

In the photograph, Doug shows me how a ball governor works. The governor currently sits in from of one of the stamp mills at the El Dorado County Historical Museum.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Raising the crankshaft

Last Saturday, Sam Thompson and Mark Bruto mounted the middle eccentric onto the crankshaft of the Diamond and Caldor No. 4 Shay locomotive. The project took most of the morning. The crankshaft was lifted in place. Sam is now ready to re-assemble the rest of the engines.

Sam (foreground) and Mark raise the crankshaft using a pair of screw jacks.

Mark slid under the firebox to help Sam mount the eccentric.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Spring newsletter released

"The spring 2009 newsletter brings important news of the Diamond and Caldor Railbus No. 10 renovation," said Steve Karoly, EDWRF vice-president and newsletter editor. If all proceeds according to plan, the railway will complete its re-fit by this fall.

"The recent development of the El Dorado Railroad Park concept plan has emphasized the need for a restored rail artifact that can transport riders," said EDWRF President Keith Berry in the newsletter.

"We anticipate immediate public interest once approval is given to occupy the right-of-way in El Dorado. The Diamond and Caldor No. 10 Railbus has become the obvious choice for expedited restoration."

To read more about restoration of the almost 80-year-old one-of-a-kind railbus, you'll have to join the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation.

The spring edition also features a look back at the Diamond and Caldor No. 10 Shay. Volunteer Mark Bruto is featured in The Extra Board and we conclude our re-print Robert Niles' 1979 History of the California Door Company and its Logging Railroads.

Join the effort to restore the Diamond and Caldor No. 4
The Dispatch is a benefit of membership in the railway foundation. To join our effort to renovate the Diamond and Caldor Railway No. 4 Shay locomotive and to build and operate an El Dorado County Logging and Railroad Museum, send $35 (check or money order) for individual membership to:

PO Box 3517
Diamond Springs, CA 95619

Family membership costs $60, corporate $100. Life membership is $500 for individual or family and $1,000 for a business. Annual membership runs from January to December. Won't you please join our effort for the 2009 renovation season and help us celebrate the 102th anniversary of the D&C No. 4 Shay?