Two Big Shays & their crew

Shays are a fascinating example of locomotive design & application, incorporating vertical cylinders, telescopic shafts, gears, powered bogies & offset boilers. They were extremely sluggish in terms of speed, but having their full weight distributed over every wheel meant extreme adhesion & power. Specifically designed for timber or lumber railways, they could also negotiate tight curves and extremely uneven tracks.

These photos show good details of what makes a shay a shay, and although it was not cool to smile, these five men aren’t hiding their pride.

3 cylinder 3 truck shay, Gek River, Idaho USA.
Three vertical cylinders, crankshaft, universal joints, telescopic shafts & gears.
Gears & shafts of each bogie with short telescopic shafts between them.
3 cylinder 2 truck shay, New York & Penna Co Inc, USA.
The boiler arrangement of shay locomotives is quite different to the normal steam loco type. The large pipe running vertically from behind the cylinders to the smokebox carries the exhaust steam. On the smokebox side are two builder’s plates – the diamond Lima Locomotive Works and above it a rectangular Patent Numbers Plate.

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