Monday, November 25, 2013

Progress on the CPLT caboose

The Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad caboose project team has been very busy, making use of the dry fall months. The project is in the final completion phase, leading to raising the car body up on the wheel trucks. The major projects have included the installation of roof flashing, installation of the metal roof and installing the cupola windows and wall siding.

A caboose does not make a good boat, the cupola is mostly windows and the cupola wall is single sided. This lends itself to being a challenge to weather seal around the base of the cupola and windows. A quality roofing job was completed by Mott Roofing, with great detail made to flashing the cupola walls to main roof, and insuring a good drip edge around the car body.

The metal roofing is an exact match to the original metal roofing. Completing the roofing ahead of the rains was quite a relief. Other projects have included finishing the freight door hardware, and weather stripping the freight doors using re-purposed cloth fire hose. New drip guards were also fabricated to prevent water dripping down behind the freight doors.

Other metal work included making up new exterior wall retaining straps, roof catwalk supports, freight door latches, and cupola window retaining hooks. All existing metalwork was carefully stripped, repaired, and painted leading to installation. Current work is underway to install new wood/steel bolsters in the wheel trucks, finish installation of exterior grab irons, and develop a lifting plan to raise the car body.

All wood team, metal team, support team, and external professionals are thanked for their untiring contribution to bring El Dorado County's only in county built and operated caboose back to operational status.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Winter timetable for the El Dorado Western Railroad

The railroad offers great family fun for all ages. Please turn out and support the "oldest railroad line west of the Mississippi River" and ride a piece of history. Effective November 3, 2013 to March 2, 2014, the El Dorado Western Railroad will operate on its winter timetable. We'll see you on the train!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CPLT caboose ready for painting

Here's a note from Keith Berry:

The Camino, Placerville, and Lake Tahoe caboose will be primed and painted over the next two weeks. The exterior will be a dark green, as determined form original paint chips. Once painted, the grab irons will be bolted onto the car. The cupola and freight doors remain to be completed. The wheel trucks are a current focus to insure they are ready when the car body is completed.

All volunteers working on El Dorado County's only home built-home and operated caboose are to be thanked for their efforts, time and determination to recreate this piece of local history.

As a side note, we have recently received a photograph showing the caboose at Camino after being significantly damaged from collision with an unknown source. Thanks to this event, the caboose was not sold to another railroad once the CPLT began using a diesel locomotive, which led to the caboose being stripped of its trucks, couplers and air brake equipment.

Thankfully, it was sold to a private party in Camino, then to another private party in Shingle Springs for a kids playhouse. The collision saved the caboose and (indirectly) led to it's donation to the museum, and now it's recreation on the El Dorado Western Railroad. Another photograph shows a much bolder white lettering on the sides and above the entry doors on each end.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Taking a day off

News from the Feather River Division of the El Dorado Western Railroad:

The downside of working six twelve-hour days each week is you get little time to yourself. We try to get away for dinner one or two evenings each week. Since our Sunday is day off, we assemble with the local saints for worship, then drive off to the former logging town of Greyeagle for lunch and time on the Internet. Sunday's drive was unique.

My wife and I work along the former Western Pacific Railroad Feather River Route. The line's current owner, the massive Union Pacific Railroad, has been running a lot of freight traffic over the rail line while the Donner Route has been closed. The railroaders among the staff at Oakland Camp (the housekeeping supervisor and myself) have enjoyed watching (and listening when we're busy) to trains each hour.

Catching three trains on a day off was exciting. I'll let the photographs tell the story.

As we drove east toward Blairsden and Greyeagle, an eastbound UP high-railer caught my attention at the Spring Garden siding. Thinking I could snap a photo as it crossed the bridge at Blairsden, we sped east on Highway 70. Instead of the track inspection vehicle, this local freight train appeared. My guess is that the high-railer took the siding.
The local took the hole (or siding) once he crossed the bridge. The waiting westbound intermodal freight was the superior train. As soon as the local cleared the main, the westbound gave two long blasts on the horn and proceeded west toward Keddie and the Feather River.
I took this photo as the westbound freight passed over the bridge at Blairsden.
Later in the day, Debbie and I saw this westbound coal drag as we returned to Quincy and the camp. With sufficient time to drive to the Williams Loop, we drove west. At the Loop, I photographed the train as it wound around under itself. Here the lead locomotive is ready to exit the loop and continue its westbound journey toward the canyon.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

UP train at Oakland Camp

A westbound Union Pacific train slides past Oakland Feather River Camp at Mile Post 285.3 on the Canyon Subdivision (Western Pacific Feather River Route) on Sunday, May 5, 2013. The consist is made of covered bottom dump hopper cars. Up to a dozen westbound trains pass the camp on a typical day. The Western Pacific carried campers from Oakland to the camp on the California Zephyr beginning in 1924. The old Spanish Creek station was located about one-quarter mile from me (behind the camera). The Union Pacific acquired the WP in 1983.

Progress on the CPLT caboose rebuild

These images show the progress on the standard gauge Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Caboose No. 2. El Dorado County's only home-built and operated caboose, is now being re-constructed at the Freight Station in Shingle Springs.

The caboose is being reconstructed at Shingle Springs. It's El Dorado County's only caboose (to our knowledge), having been built in 1930s from parts of an earlier boxcar caboose. The project is going very well. The car is being built over the track to allow for setting on wheel trucks when ready.
The wood working crew on the El Dorado Western Railroad. These are the type of guy's that worked in the car shop for Mich-Cal Lumber Company at Camino and the California Door Company at Diamond Springs. The kind of guy's who converted a boxcar into a passenger/freight car for the CP&LT around 1900, and then took it apart and built it into a proper caboose that ran until the 1950s.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Polish rail ingenuity

When you absolutely must place a tourist railroad in operation yesterday, anything is possible! This Polish rail club used a Fiat 126p with steel rail wheels. Last May, two rail fan clubs gathered for a picnic in the Polish town of Moszna. They commemorated the re-opening of a 2-1/2 kilometer section of abandoned railroad. Brush cutting along the line occured between November 2011 and April 2012.

This YouTube video comes courtesy of our Polish railroad brothers (English translation -- for Polish, click here).

Video description: "19.05.12 w Mosznej odbył się pierwszy piknik motoryzacyjno-drezynowy "KIWAJKA 2012". Uczestnikami członkowie "LANCIA KLUB POLSKA", OPOLSKIE STOWARZYSZENIE MIŁOŚNIKÓW KOLEI oraz inne zainteresowane osoby. Krótki film przedstawia przejazd pociągu drezynowego z uczestnikami pikniku odbywający się na świeżo oczyszczonym dwu i pół kilometrowym odcinku nieużywanej linii kolejowej nr 306."

Here's the rough translation: "5/19/12 in Moszna first picnic was held motoryzacyjno-drezynowy "KIWAJKA 2012". The participants of the members of the "POLISH CLUB LANCIA," ASSOCIATION OF RAILWAY ENTHUSIASTS OPOLE and other interested parties. A short video shows the drive train of the participants drezynowego picnic held on the freshly cleaned two and a half kilometer stretch of unused railway line No. 306th." (Translation by Google Translate.)

Saturday, March 02, 2013

El Dorado Narrow Gauge action on

It's been several years since we reported on Mallory Hope Ferrell's El Dorado Narrow Gauge. The quintessential book on the construction and operating life of the Diamond and Caldor Railway periodically comes up for sale on The book was published in 1990 by Pacific Fast Mail, Edmonds, Washington.

The latest copy posted to the on-line auction site yesterday. The seller has listed an opening bid of $49.99. The auction closes on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 7:31 p.m. Pacific Time. We will follow the action with interest.

To our knowledge, Ferrell's book hasn't been republished, which adds to the selling price. Fortunately, the cost to purchase a copy of El Dorado Narrow Guage has significantly been reduced over the past four years. A copy sold for $175 in December 2009.

When you consider previous highs of $110 and $120, the current copy for sale seems like a bargain.

Friday, January 25, 2013

CPLT caboose relocated to Shingle Springs

The Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe caboose, which sat on a panel track in front of the El Dorado County Historical Museum for nearly 20 years, has been relocated to Shingle Springs. In recent months a renovation crew dismantled the caboose and moved timbers and hardware components to a storage container.
The panel track at the county museum will be moved to Shingle Springs and re-assembled for the CP and LT caboose re-build. 
The next step for the county museum is to look at options for the newly vacated space, according to museum administrator Mary Cory. She said the Museum Commission will "dust off" the development plan for museum yard as they look for an appropriate use of the space.
Two crews of craftsmen have begun the slow process of rebuilding the caboose next to the Southern Pacific freight shed at Shingle Springs. The center sills and wheel trucks were moved to Shingle Springs last week. A group of metal workers began preparing the sills for painting. They will fabricate the missing handrails, cut lever and ladder. The five members of the expert woodworking crew are preparing new wood beams for instillation.
Restoration has begun!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New website for El Dorado Western Railroad

The El Dorado Western Railroad introduces its new website at It's a component of the newly revamped El Dorado County Historical Museum website.

Please click for the schedule, information on volunteering and directions to train stations at El Dorado and Shingle Springs. You can print a Adobe potable document file (PDF) copy of the 2013 ride schedule and post it in the window of your business or place of employment.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Train rides for 2013

Come to Shingle Springs this Sunday (January 13, 2013) and help the El Dorado Western Railroad inaugurate train rides for 2013. The EDWR sends a heartfelt thank you to the community as it enters its third year of operation. Your continued support has allowed the railroad to continue to give train rides and preserve this valuable historic resource for future generations.

Highball for the first train is promptly at noon. The last run departs the depot at 3 p.m. Please remember at this time of year, all railroad operations at dependent upon weather. Watch our Facebook page for the latest news as we approach the run day.

The railroad will post its operating schedule soon. Watch for a special train on Saturday, March 30, and Sunday, March 31, out of Shingle Springs. In the meantime, here's the timetable through the end of February:

January 13 -- Shingle Springs Depot
January 20 -- El Dorado Station
January 27 -- Shingle Springs Depot
February 3 -- El Dorado Station
February 10 -- Shingle Springs Depot
February 17 -- El Dorado Station
February 24 -- Shingle Springs Depot

Please mark your calendars. Highball for the El Dorado Western, and we'll see you on the train!