Sunday, June 17, 2012

Setting track guage at Red Hawk

The maintenance of way crew met in Shingle Springs yesterday for its monthly work day. We loaded tools and gauge bars on to two Fairmont A-cars. When the crew left the station at 8 a.m., the El Dorado Western Railroad No. 602 pushed the EDWR No. 603 up the hill to the job site.

With volunteer mechanic and motorman Jereme MacCormack at the controls, the crew soaked in the the last of the cool morning air on the 15-minute transit to the work site. The forecast called for 95- to 100-degree temperatures in the El Dorado County foothills. The track gang took advantage of the cooler morning hours to get the job done.

Once there, we dismounted and prepared to re-set the gauge of the 90-pound rail to standard gauge. Roadmaster Peter Shultze had previously marked three locations on the curve in the day lighted Tunnel No. 1 where the gauge had crept to 58 inches. Peter wanted to pull the outer rail back in to around 57 inches.

The seven-man track gang labored for the next four hours. We scraped the build-up of clay and dirt on to of the ties and dug trenches for the gauge bars. At two locations, pictured and 50 feet further inside the cut, two bars were used to hold the gauge. One bar was used at the third location. The crew will replace the ties at a later date.
The railroad is now calling this location Red Hawk since it is adjacent to Exit 40 (Red Hawk Parkway) on eastbound U.S. Highway 50. From our vantage point at the east terminus of the old tunnel, we watched a constant steam of traffic headed up the hill for the weekend. Red Hawk is the turn around point for Sunday train operations from Shingle Springs.