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Diamond and Caldor Railway facts for kids

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Diamond & Caldor Railway - western section
Western section of route into Diamond Springs
Diamond & Caldor Railway - eastern section
Eastern section of route to Caldor

The Diamond and Caldor Railway was a common carrier 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railroad operating in El Dorado County, California, in the United States. The 34-mile railroad was primarily a logging railroad but also did some passenger service.

The railroad was constructed in 1904 and operations continued until abandonment commenced on April 10, 1953. The railroad primarily operated with Shay locomotives. The remaining Shays, with the exception of #4, were scrapped in 1953. Engine #4 was displayed at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds for several years and is now in the process of being restored by the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation.

The railroad operated between Diamond Springs, California (located near Placerville) and went east along the North Fork of the Cosumnes River and then to Caldor.

The railroad was a subsidiary of the California Door Company of Oakland. Before a 1923 fire destroyed the mill at Caldor, the line hauled rough-cut lumber from Caldor to the sash and door factory in Diamond Springs. After the company built a modern electric mill at Diamond Springs, the railroad hauled uncut logs from the woods to the new mill.

Because the Diamond & Caldor was a common carrier, it had to comply with Interstate Commerce Commission regulations. The railroad failed to comply with the ICC requirement to have railroad cars equipped with air brakes and automatic couplers. The Diamond and Caldor, according to railroad historian Donald B. Robertson, may be the only western railroad to be put out of business due to those equipment requirements.


Number Type Builder Works number Date Notes
1 0-4-0T Baldwin 8955 1887 built as 2-4-2T locomotive as the Ferries and Cliff House #3; scrapped in 1921
2 2-truck Shay locomotive Lima 863 4/1904 scrapped in 1940
2nd # 2 2-truck Shay locomotive Lima 2842 3/1916 built as Patterson & Western RR # 2; purchased in 1922
3 2-truck Shay locomotive Lima 905 8/1904 scrapped in 1938
4 2-truck Shay locomotive Lima 1896 4/1907 preserved
5 3-truck Shay locomotive Lima 2617 12/1912 built as Madera Sugar Pine # 5; purchased for parts in 1935; scrapped in 1948 (for railroad roster purposes, #5 was assigned to a speeder)
6 3-truck Shay locomotive Lima 2153 4/1909 scrapped in 1953
7 3-truck Shay locomotive Lima 2522 3/1912 scrapped in 1953
8 3-truck Shay locomotive Lima 2921 7/1917 scrapped in 1953
9 #9 was assigned to a speeder
10 3-truck Shay locomotive Lima 3252 2/1924 scrapped in 1953
10 Bogie railcar Diamond and Caldor Workshops Built around 1921 and powered by a JX series Studebaker truck engine.
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