Saturday, August 23, 2014

A culinary car for the El Dorado Western Railroad?

The El Dorado Western Railway Foundation purchased this tool car from the Richmond Pacific Railroad in December 2011. It has intrigued me since then. I've often talked about converting it into a culinary car for the El Dorado Western Railroad, which operates on eight miles of the old Southern Pacific Placerville Branch rail line between Shingle Springs and Diamond Springs.

It's a natural desire in my informal role as the the railroad chef. Several times each year, I host a track-side meal for railroad volunteers. My last such meal occurred in November last year, when I prepared pork chili with guajillo chili adobo, cheesy butter milk biscuits and berry cobbler for the bridge crew. My hope is that my winter schedule will allow me to cook for the crew more frequently during my home season.

A dedicated culinary car would improve conditions for cooking on the railroad. I'm not saying that the complete car has to be remodeled into a galley on wheels. There's plenty of room for rail tools and equipment on the starboard side. It would give me a mobile platform to transport the two-burner stove, ice chest, Dutch ovens and utensils.

I could easily work with the port side of the tool car. That's the side with the shallow tool box. The side with the deeper tool cabinet can be used by the maintenance crew. The pictures describe how I intend put this plan into action.

This is the port side of the Richmond Pacific Railroad tool car. Of two tool cabinets, this one reaches about two-thirds of the way across the deck. The open space leaves sufficient room to mount a two-burner Camp Chef propane stove. The ice chest can be set in the center space for transport. The center section would then be used as a Dutch oven table. This would keep burning coals off the ground when at the work site. 
This is the starboard side of the tool car. There is enough space to mount a small generator, air compressor or water tank. The tool cabinet can be used to secure tools and equipment.
The A end of the tool car. This is the forward end. It will normally be the end that is coupled to the gang car, locomotive or trackmobile. 
The B end of the tool car. There is plenty of storage space on top of the tool cabinet, plus room to hang hoses, chains and other large tools.

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