Saturday, April 17, 2010

Clearing brush on the Placerville Branch

On Saturday, April 10, Keith Berry and Steven Karoly joined the brush clearing team from the Folsom, El Dorado & Sacramento Historical Railroad Association on the Southern Pacific Placerville Branch. The crew cleared brush along the right-of-way from the Greenstone Rd. grade crossing east to the El Dorado Wye.

After mounting two hi-rail trucks onto the tracks at the "Y," the six-man crew drove in reverse (both trucks were pointed to the east) and started immediately cutting brush. Working in teams of three, each team consisted on a driver, overhead cutter and ground-level cutter. The hi-rail driver worked the ground, stacking brush and assisting where needed.

Keith cuts high branches on the right-of-way with an electric pole saw. He is standing on a hi-rail truck owned by the FEDSHRA. This photo was taken about one-quarter mile east of the Davidson Rd. grade crossing.

FEDSHRA member Eric Olds clears brush at ground level with an electric pole saw. Each truck had a small generator to power the saws.

The two crews divided the right-of-way into 100- to 200-yard sections. The lead truck lead truck drove ahead and worked the far section while the trailing truck worked the rear section. This seemed to be most efficient was of attacking the task at hand.

The brush cutting crew breaks for lunch on the Slate Creek trestle. The crew consists of, from left to right, Keith Berry, Steven Karoly, Philip Rose (sitting), Spencer Doty and Ethan Doty. Crew leader Eric Olds took the photograph.

The crew takes a break late-afternoon break at the cascades of Slate Creek, between the Greenstone Rd. and Davidson Dr. grade crossings. The rock retaining wall in the background (on either side of Keith's head) possibly dates back to the placer mining days of the California Gold Rush.

The FESHRA and the El Dorado Western Railway recently joined forces to control vegitation along the 28-mile branch line from Folson to Placerville. As the lead organization for vegitation management, the FEDSHRA has has been working the right-of-way for several years.

Keith joined the project last month. This was Steven's first workday. Other El Dorado Western members will join the FEDSHRA in the coming months as the allied organizations work on their respective rail projects at either end of the line.

"Of special note was the opportunity to work together with Keith Berry and Steven Karoly, new FEDS members who are also members of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation in Placerville," said Eric Olds in a recent email.

"Much was discussed about how our two organizations can benefit from working together to preserve this beautiful line and Keith and Steven are to be commended for taking the initiative to begin solidifying a joint effort."

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