The Shay is one of those locomotives that’s just impossible not to like. They are as impressive as they are intriguing. Even compared to other geared steam locomotives, they are in a class by themselves.
First designed by Ephraim Shay in 1877, the Lima Locomotive Works would go on to build 2,770 of the unique “stemwinders” between 1880 and 1945. Although the company is probably best remembered for its Super Power Berkshires and other modern locomotives, the importance of the Shay for Lima and railroading in general can not be overstated.
The Shay came in many sizes. Usually custom-built for each customer, their overall size, weight, gauge and power depended on the unique situations they were built to handle. The locomotives normally enjoyed very long and productive careers, and over time the owners were known to make many modifications and by any means available. If there was such a thing as a “typical” Shay, it would look a lot like Lionel’s two-truck model.
The Shay’s two powered trucks provided both great traction from the geared driveshaft connection to three vertical pistons and a flexible foundation that helped the locomotive negotiate sharp curves and rough track. Their fireboxes were not picky eaters and most could burn oil, coal or wood. A siphon pump was a common add-on to refill the tender from mountain streams. The locomotives were well adapted to life in the wilderness or hostile industrial environments.
LEGACY and Conventional Shays
Lionel is pleased to offer a model of this fascinating locomotive in a size that will fit any layout. Like the prototype, this locomotive is built to handle tight curves – O-31 curves to be exact! This little logger will look awesome climbing the grades and tight “S” curves through your mountains, whether it’s hauling a load of big timber or tourists.
The Shay is being offered in two versions and 9 roadnames. LEGACY models include Bethlehem Steel, Canadian Pacific, Meadow River Lumber, Pickering Lumber, Weyerhaeuser, Western Maryland and Shay-haven Cass Scenic. Conventional models are available in Elk River and Sugar Pine Lumber Companies.
Both versions feature a powerful motor with flywheel, traction tires, metal body, frame and pilot, operating front and rear couplers, removable coal bunkers (for access to sound controls), opening cab roof vent, engineer figure and numerous other seperate details. The Conventional locomotive also features transformer controlled forward / neutral / reverse operation, conventional Railsounds, a fan driven smoke unit, and operating headlight. The Conventional locomotives retail for $749.99.
LEGACY versions feature the LEGACY control system and can run on LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional control, Odyssey II speed control, LEGACY Railsounds with Crew Talk, dyna-chuff with 32 speed levels, bell, quillable whistle, interactive trip Sequence control and fuel and speed dialog. The locomotives also feature directional headlight and back-up light, lighted classification lights, cab interior and flickering firebox. The fan-driven smoke unit has adjustable output. And there are loads of separately applied details. LEGACY units retail for $899.99.
All of these locomotives should be rolling out to your dealers later this month. Don’t forget to pick up a few of our logging buggies and cabooses to complete the train!