Friday, May 28, 2010

MOW trailer

Ed Chuna prepared the wheels to the Southern Pacific maintenance-of-way trailer last Saturday for painting. The trailer is called a "push car" in railroad parlance, according to Keith Berry.

The El Dorado Western Railway will use the push car to haul MOW equipment on the old SP Placerville Branch. It will be towed behind the Camino, Placerville & Lake Tahoe No. 4 speeder, which is fully restored.

After he prepared the wheels for painting, Ed painted the frame of the push car in a color that resembled SP orange. "Does that look like SP orange?" Ed said as he sprayed the car.

In addition to painting, the crew inspected the bearings and installed a safety chain on the car. The wood deck was installed this week.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Downed tree

Keith Berry and I joined the Folsom, El Dorado and Sacramento Historical Railroad Association during a maintenance-of-way excursion on the old Southern Pacific Placerville Branch on Saturday, May 8, 2010. After putting two hi-rail trucks on the tracks near the Mother Lode Drive grade crossing, we headed east to inspect the line and note areas of excessive vegetation growth.

The crew encountered its first obstacle about one-quarter mile short of the Blanchard Drive grade crossing.

In order to cut the larger branches, Marcus Ferrill climbed inside the forest of branches. As a Naval Reserve hospital corpsman who served with the United States Marine Corps on active duty, Marcus volunteers with the FEDSHRA when he's not on reserve duty.

It took the crew about forty minutes to clear the tree from the right-of-way. From the left, Ray Retalick, Dennis Taylor, Keith Berry, Eric Olds and Marcus Ferrill raise their chainsaws in victory.

"Thanks to Marcus Ferrill, Ray Retalick, Keith Berry, Steve Karoly, and new (FEDSHRA) member Dennis Taylor for coming out on Saturday to clear brush along the line in El Dorado County," said crew leader Eric Olds in an email. "We had a full day of work ... with numerous chainsaws running at any given time ...."

Crossing Mother Lode

Keith Berry drives a hi-railer pick-up truck across Mother Lode Drive as two members of the Folsom, El Dorado and Sacramento Historical Railroad Association flag the grade crossing. The crew from the FEDSHRA cut brush on the eastern end of the Southern Pacific Placerville Branch the last two Saturdays.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Chili at the engine house

The occasional bowl of hot chili is one advantage of working at the engine house on Saturday. With a railroading chef on "staff" at El Dorado Western Railway, the crew savors a noontime meal every two or three months.

Professional chef Steve Karoly prepared a spicy bowl of chili and beans for about 10 last Saturday. The meal was accompanied by sweet Dutch oven cornbread.

Here's what one diner had to say:

"What great chili!" said Bill Rodgers. "I loved it. We gotta make it a staple in our work parties at the rail park ... it was fantastic.

"I hated to leave today. The cornbread looked terrific. You really have those Dutch ovens down to an art, for sure."