There she sits, alone in the weeds, without purpose, and unattended. Her paint is faded, her cab is rusting, and her headlight is but an empty shell. No reason to worry; she has no place to run. She sits on a lonely stub of track, near an auto racetrack, not the saw mill she served from 1907 to 1953. No engineer to open her throttle, no fireman to raise her steam, not even a kid happens by to play engineer and head east to Caldor.
The Diamond and Caldor No. 4 sat for many years on the El Dorado County Fair-grounds. Eventually, concerned management decided to bulldoze a pit and bury the locomotive. Thankfully, a last minute offer was accepted and the locomotive spent time at Camino as a display for a tourist railroad. Once again, the locomotive found its way to Placerville, this time being located at the El Dorado County Historical Museum.
During the past 15 years of volunteer Saturday work, the D&C No. 4 has been our center of attention and commitment toward a return to steam operation. New parts were patterned and cast, other parts were sandblasted and painted, and one key part purchased still in its box from 1940.
Today, this once almost buried locomotive is nearing restoration. Her water and oil tanks are finished, her wheels are round, her brake rigging repaired, and her cab is fashioned from beautiful Red Oak. Today, this locomotive draws attention from visitors. She will be the oldest operating Shay of her class. The most frequently asked question is "When will she run"?
Is something special happening here? Progress is evident from the vantage point of a before photograph. Dare we look ahead to operation?
This is where you come in. Would you like to see the D&C No. 4 chug along the old Southern Pacific Placerville Branch line in the Town of El Dorado? Please take this opportunity to join the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation. Your valuable support will assist in the continued restoration of this historic locomotive and other El Dorado County railroad artifacts like the D&C No. 10 Railbus.
Through our membership program and generous donations by railroad enthusiasts like you, we will raise the necessary funds to complete the D&C No.4 and return her to a safe operating condition. For a weekly view of restoration activities, please visit our comprehensive website at ElDoradoWestern.blogspot.com. The blog chronicles the efforts of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation as it restores a number of key
El Dorado County railroad artifacts.
The Membership Program has many benefits:
- You have the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing in a meaningful way toward the preservation of our historic railroad artifacts
- Membership card
- Quarterly newsletter
- Discounts of 15 percent on Foundation merchandise
- Recognition as an Associate Member in the newsletter
I would just like to say thank you for your interest in El Dorado County railroading. I also want to thank you for joining the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation as an Associate Member and contributing to the preservation of railroading history for future generations. All aboard!
PS: Please stop by the museum any Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 104 Placerville Dr., Placerville to say hi to the crew and see our progress.