Saturday, March 18, 2006

New Editorship for The Dispatcher

The most important news this month is that I've switched my focus to a local organization. Since August, the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation has occasionally filled these pages.

My friend Keith Berry, vice-president of the group, asked me to stop by the El Dorado County Historical Museum on a Saturday morning early last August. Keith and I did odd jobs around EDWRF's flagship, the 1907 Shay locomotive that once hauled lumber for the Diamond & Caldor Railway in Diamond Springs, California. The Shay was the D&C road No. 4.

Around November, railway president Eric Stohl asked me to be the group's membership chairman. The Foundation had just amended the bylaws to include an associate membership program.

Previously, you were either on the board of directors, a volunteer or both. No one tracked any kind of membership other than a name and phone number. You just "joined" the group and went to work.

I've since relinquished membership duties. A woman who tracks membership for the El Dorado County Historical Foundation has assumed the clerical duties. And Eric took the rest of my duties.

The Dispatcher newsletter
At the January board meeting, we were discussing how to get the Foundation's newsletter, The Dispatcher, which had languished over the past year, up and running again. I volunteered to take over the editorship of the newsletter.

Since I was committed to one more issue of the Dutch Oven News, I told the president that couldn't do any work on it until March. Eric and I decided the we could get my first issue to press my the end of the month.

Now that I've completed my work with the Dutch Oven News, it's time to get The Dispatcher on the road.

Last week I was busy designing a fresh template for the newsletter. The best way to describe its look is to say that its clean lines and consistent appearance will be a testament to the uncomplicated nature of the Diamond & Caldor.

Like most Sierra Nevada logging lines, the D&C functioned with little fanfare. The dispatcher often issued verbal train orders. And I've never seen any evidence in the photographic record that the line had any signals.

We've planned a 6- to 8-page newsletter that will be printed report style for now. Ultimately, I'd like to move to 11- by 17-inch folded paper, which will limit us to page multiples of four.

My first issue will feature a review of George Turner's reprinted Narrow Gauge Nostalgia (it was reprinted as California High Country Narrow Gauge Railroads in 2001) by Ron Callahan, media chairman for the railway.

Today, I found several historic photos of the line, including an early picture of the D&C No. 1 Baldwin saddle-tank rod engine. I plan each issue to locate and publish two or three previously unpublished (or rarely published--the Baldwin in posted to the website) photos in the newsletter.

If you're interested in the newsletter and the work of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation, you can join for as little as $35 per year for an individual. Family membership costs $60, corporate $100 and life membership is $500 for individual or family and $1,000 for a business.

Send a ckeck or money order to:

P.O. Box 3517
Diamons Springs, CA 95619

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