Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading
My brother and I were watching an old movie that brought up the subject of NWPRR. In our discussion of my father's time on the NWP, it came up that he spent a lot of time along the Eel River around Bell Springs "daylighting" tunnels, which is cutting the top off a mountain so that it's no longer a tunnel. This was in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
On one of those jobs he had a Cat DC6 on a mountain that was so high and so steep the DC6 could not make it up to the top on it's own. Under the supervision of Charlie Neal, they rigged a cable and pulley system anchored at the top and connected to my father's DC6 and to a DC8 at the bottom. While my father backed up the hill, the DC8 pulled him up the hill.
Once at the top, he began pushing the mountain into the river, then they used the pulley system to get him back to the top. It took a couple of months to complete.
I guess doing that to Island Mountain would have taken too long, but so did rebuilding the tunnel. Lumber companies went to using trucks.
During the mid 1950's my father had a new DC6 equipped with a pile driver and he worked replacing pilings on old trestles between Santa Rosa (where we lived) and San Rafael.