Saturday, February 25, 2012

Loading ties at Blanchard

The El Dorado Western MOW crew is working on the west turnout today at the depot curve in El Dorado. We're getting ready to re-install the switch which historically serviced the siding at El Dorado. The crew won't install the turnout today, but will replace several joint ties and correct the gauge.

Volunteer track workers Larry Howe (left) and Ben Cunha load railroad ties onto the Southern Pacific push car. The Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe No. 4 track inspection car then towed the push car to the work site east of the Blanchard Road grade crossing. In late January, the MOW crew replaced ties and re-tamped ballast at two sites east of Blanchard.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Driving spikes

Driving spikes on the El Dorado Western Railroad has changed little over the last 100 years. Track workers used the spike maul to manually hammer spikes into solid railroad ties when this section were laid in the 1880s.

Here volunteer track worker Bill Rogers drives a spike just east of Blanchard Road. The rail jack is being used to hold the ties firmly against the rail.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fill dirt

El Dorado Western Railroad roadmaster Peter Schultze guides backhoe operator Bob McCormack as he dumps a bucket of fill dirt onto the track. Working just east of the Blanchard Road grade crossing, the maintenance-of-way crew built up the fill over an existing culvert. The crew first constructed cribbing out of discarded ties (visible in the foreground). Bob them shuttled four or five buckets of fill dirt from Blanchard Road to the work location. Next the crew compacted the dirt under the ties.

The railroad can accomplish much with the backhoe. Peter said that it's the best tool we have for MOW work. Over the past 18 months, Bob has skillfully replaced approximately 300 ties with the backhoe.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

New roadmaster

On a recent brisk Saturday morning, Peter Schulze introduced himself to the crew at the train station in El Dorado. As the newly appointed roadmaster for the El Dorado Western Railroad, he will oversee track maintenance and construction on the right-of-way.

Peter brings 35 years in the railroad business to the railroad. As an independent contractor, he inspects and supervises construction on industrial railroad leads throughout the state.

"What we really need is direction," said Ed Cunha, vice president of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation. A diverse set of workers volunteer for the railroad. Mechanics, equipment operators, conductors, engineers and general laborers provide capable support. Peter's leadership will accomplish this goal.

Over a dozen volunteer maintenance-of-way workers attended the meeting. At 10 p.m. the crew adjourned to the Blanchard Road grade crossing, where it repaired two locations on the line.