Thursday, July 16, 2009

Update on Diamond Springs depot rail removal

June 9, 2009 was the last time I worked on the rail project in the old Southern Pacific yard at Diamond Springs. My summer job at Loon Lake in Eldorado National Forest has kept me far away from the day-to-day action of the El Dorado Western Railway and El Dorado County Historical Museum.

I left for Deer Crossing Camp at the front end of the rail removal project. Except for weekly email updates from Keith Berry, I've been out of the loop.

Home for a rare two-day stretch, I emailed Keith earlier in the week and arranged to meet at the Diamond Springs Hotel for breakfast today.

Keith and I met El Dorado County Fire Battalion Chief Kurt Taylor and EDWRF board member Ed Cuhna at the hotel. We caught up on the happenings of the railway and its effort to promote the proposed El Dorado County Railroad Park at the old El Dorado depot site in El Dorado.

"The project went right along, thanks to our new volunteers," said Keith. The railway experienced a sudden influx of volunteer at the beginning of June. Father and son team Mike and Mason Powers had started Memorial Day week.

Then Mason brought his friend Ian to help. Ian's father soon joined in, as did a young, hard-working college student, Alex. "Ian and his dad used to come around at the county fair and visit us," said Keith.

"Everybody pitched in," added Keith. The rail team completed the project in eight calendar days, "which is amazing."

Our foursome enjoyed lively conversation on local politics, fire department news and rail happenings in El Dorado County. It gave me a chance to re-connect with rail buddies and get my mind a way from the camp kitchen (more on my job at 'Round the Chuckbox).

Kurt and Ed left to restore an old fire engine after breakfast. Keith and I talked on.

Always gracious, hotel co-owner Amy Shim and Kathy, our server, kept coffee and soda flowing for two and one-half hours.