Sunday, October 17, 2010

Run day at Shingle Springs

Despite mechanical problems with the speeder and Trackmobile yesterday, the crew successfully ran the between Shingle Springs and Tunnel No. 1 on the old Southern Pacific Placerville Branch rail line. The Folsom, El Dorado and Sacramento Historical Railroad Association sponsored the run. They offered rides to the public on their Weyerhauser Skagit No. 30 gang car and Fairmont A-6 track inspection car.

David Hamilton flags the Davidson Road crossing as the Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe No. 4 speeder heads toward Shingle Springs. During long runs, a vapor lock in the fuel pump prevented the engine from working. The mechanics believe the problem was caused by the lack of air flow through the engine compartment when engaged in reverse. Our initial work-around was to pour cold water on the fuel pump. Later in the day Ed and Ben Cunha bypassed the fuel pump. It worked because the gasoline is gravity fed from the tank, which sets above the engine.

The speeder pulls into Shingle Springs with David at the controls while Kurt Taylor rides "shotgun." When he's not helping on the railway, you'll find Kurt in B7704 for the El Dorado County Fire Protection District, where he's a battalion chief.

The El Dorado Western Railway No. 601 Trackmobile emerges from the Tunnel No. 1 cut on the Placerville Branch. Ben watches the right-of-way for obstacles from the passenger seat. You can see the remains of the tunnel from eastbound U.S. Highway 50 at Exit 40. The Southern Pacific blew the top of the tunnel many years ago. The radiator fan on the Ford 292 V8 engine failed during the run down to Shingle Springs.

On an morning run up to the tunnel cut, conductor Eric Olds guides the Skagit past rock debris. The FEDSHRA crew wasn't able to negotiate the cut without damaging the speeder.

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