Sold November 2005 Back to Archive

7 1/4 inch gauge Shay for restoration - stock code 2557

Rather a strange creature, the prototype was built in America for use on lightweight, temporary rail in logging operations - I guess it's their equivalent of our Quarry Hunslets.

This specimen is of indeterminate age and has entered into that twilight world of being stripped for a rebuild (at which point, in my experience, 95% of engines never see the track again). It's painted a pretty revolting colour, the boiler needs a new ashpan and smokebox top, most of the plumbing is still there but needs serious amounts of tidying up (or, better, a morning with the silver solder and a handful of unions making a new set), the reverser quadrant needs brazing back onto its mounting foot and the roof needs some serious panel beating.

On the upside...

The steel boiler has just had a 200psi hydraulic test for 100psi working and a new certificate issued - it's in good condition, with little signs of rust or scale internally. The engine turns over freely - it is designed to run in one direction, reversing is by way of tumbler gears (which I've never seen outside a Myford headstock before). And there is a complete new set of wooden lagging, which would make the boiler look ten times better.

It really wants sympathetic reassembly rather than wholesale rebuild I think. With chain driven bogies, it should be able to negotiate the tightest garden railway curves anybody is likely to have. From what I hear of this design, what it lacks in speed it makes up for in tenacity (which I may well adopt as a personal credo).

Weight approx 150 pounds
Length 48 inches

gauge 7 1/4 inch