Shay locomotive model train

Mark’s been in touch with his Shay locomotive model train.

I was bowled over by the amount of replies and comments to the last post (which is here) on geared locos.

So a huge thank you to everyone – and especially to Hall of Fame members, Mark and Brian, who sent these in:

“Hi Al.

Really enjoyed your post on the geared locomotive.

As it turns out, I used to drive the Shay geared loco at Roaring Camp Calif. Couple hour trip up to the top of Bear Mountain and back.

This loco made more noise then you could imagine.

I actually run a model of it on my layout. You can see it below

Be patient at the beginning as I didn’t realize I had started the recording about 30 seconds early (blush).

Turn up the sound and look closely as it goes by and you can see the side pistons driving.

This loco was designed to move lots of tonnage up steep grades that very few other locos could handle.

Thanks for the original post – really brought back fond memories!



shay locomotive model train

shay locomotive model train

shay locomotive model train brake caboose

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

“Here are photos of two types of geared locomotive models running on my layout.

First one is a three truck Shay and the second one is a Heisler. All my locomotives have DCC with full sound.

They are mainly used in the logging industry as they extremely powerful, run very slowly and run on rough track.


shay locomotive model train

steam locomotive

All the replies and comments jogged my memory too – and I found this post.

It puts in to context just how powerful these geared locos are.

Brian also sent in an update on his sawmill too:

“Hi Al,

I have added a bit more detail to the “finished” sawmill.

Added that little bit extra like shelving, cupboards, posters along the back wall and more cut wood in the mill.

They say that models or layouts are never finished !!!!!!



model railroad sawmill

model train sawmill

model train sawmill

Thanks to Brian and to Mark for sharing his for sharing his Shay locomotive model train.

And don’t forget they have both given the Beginner’s Guide a big thumbs up.

So if you want to get going on your layout, give it a whirl.

That’s all this time folks.

Please keep ’em coming.



19 Responses to Shay locomotive model train

  1. Marklin ed says:

    After seeing the Shay locomotive. I was thinking about how many model railroad fans my have not heard of “Peet. Locomotives” in Bavarian German. Locomotives run on Peet. Marklin make models of the Peet locomotive models.

  2. Bruce says:

    And one more geared comment to my post yesterday. The geared design placed “drive shafts” undercarriage. These were routed fore and aft to each wheel set, there to be connected to each wheel axle and gave power to all wheels. Result was substantial tractive force to overcome the more compact smaller engines lack of equivalent traction of larger engines on fewer drivers. I,e., more square inches of power transfer to the rails.
    I only have a Shay and several log cars. No Climax or Heisler in my roster.
    Bruce in SC USA

  3. Bruce says:

    Brian, I am envious of your sawmill.
    Bruce in SC USA

  4. Bob Walker says:

    Kudos, Brian! I really didn’t know there were scale models of these rare beasts… – verrrry nice, indeed… what scale is your layout & geared steamie? Thanx for sharing! -Bob W, NH, USA

  5. Bob Walker says:

    Almost forgot to mention – the sawmill is looking very fine! Nice work! -Bob W, NH, USA

  6. Jim says:

    Great video. Love the cool sounds. Lots to be said about steam era equipment.
    That saw mill is great too.
    Just returned from a Grand Canyon Railroad trip from Williams AZ to the Grand Canyon. Aw those must have been the days. Train travel at it’s best.
    Jim AZ

  7. arthur Bedford says:

    absolutely super models ao geared locos and all the scenery .Where can I get a HO model of this loco?

  8. NJ Mark says:

    Brian, your attention to detail is amazing. Great, great work. Cheers! NJ Mark

  9. John de Bruin says:

    I run 8 geared locos (4 Class A Climax, 3 two truck Heislers and a three truck Heisler. Love the geared power.

  10. Brian Messenger says:

    Bob, the layout is in a room of 14ft X 10ft in HO scale. All my locos for the logging area (upper level) of my layout are 2 HOn3 Heislers, 2 HOn3 3 truck Shays and a 2-6-6-2 Logging loco. The lower level has all HOn3 D&RGW locos and 2 RGS Galloping Goose totaling 7 on this level. Brian RSA.

  11. fred day says:

    If anyone is interested in the gear drive steam locos. Ebay has quite a bit on them. The heisler and shaws are almost all limited to brass ,or nos, used, or out of production models though. The real locos where very often running on narrow gauge track and also are found in narrow gauge models as well.

  12. Rick D says:

    Coolest of the cool

  13. Peter says:

    Fond memories riding the Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton, CA with the Shay engine. Small but very powerful due to its all wheel drive. It can take steep curves too although slowly. It was specifically designed for the logging industry.

  14. Hemi says:

    LOVE the Geared locomotives! I favor the Shay…. However, in them my utmost FAVORITE happens to be the Western Maryland #6, which is STILL in operation in Cass, WVA!

    To this, I have an O Scale Lionel Western Maryland 3 Truck Shay #6 that WILL run around the walls of my Layout Room of my house, and then the Layout, will have three, 3 truck Shays on it, one, 2 truck Shay, one 3 truck Heisler, and one 2 truck Climax for the logging area for my saw mill to support “business” to the mainline!

  15. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Brian……nice job on that saw mill…….great detail……

  16. George Zaky says:

    Awesome saw mill. You never stop amazing me.
    Logging and the equipment is my favorite.
    To all- I have an HO, brass, DC, 3 truck shay- PDM, (2) HO, Bachman 3 truck shays and a Bachman climax DCC. The Bachmans all have plastic gears which are broken and need of replacement with metal ones from Northwest Short line- great folks. This gear job is not for the faint of heart so before you jump into Evil Bay and get your Shay you better know if it aint metal gears they WILL break-guaranteed. The Climax has been OK up to now. BTW Bachman will repair the gears- with plastic – so it’s just a matter of time for them to break.
    I have switched to S scale and cant find a Heisler that I can buy without a mortgage. Working on the HO’s is daunting to me so I have to go larger to maintain whatever sanity I have left.
    Shays- beautiful sexy gal but lots of maintenance. LOL
    George from LI,NY

  17. STEPHEN GREEN says:

    Love the power of the Shay…don’t worry about being 30 seconds early on the recording. Your sound & whistles just increased my anticipation…wanted to peer around the edge of the screen, lol.

    BTW, Al – the link on the eBay sheet for N-scale track is coming back “404”.

  18. Will in NM says:

    Many thanks to Mark and Brian for showing us what is possible with a little (lot) of work. BTW: Beautiful work Brian on the FSM sawmill! Thanks to both of you for sharing your modeling with us.

    I have loved geared logging locomotives ever since 1962 when, on our way to the Seattle World’s Fair, we stopped at a sawmill in Oregon where there was a Climax geared locomotive on display in a park in front of the mill. My first shay was an HOn3 brass import that didn’t ever run well. Since then I’ve acquired HO and G scale Shays, Heislers and Climaxes over the past 50 years. Currently, I have 21 HO geared engines, 1 HOn3 Shay, and a G-scale Shay & Climax. It’s time to start selling off some of them since most of them just sit around in boxes or display cases. I have finally built two test / practice layouts where I can finally give these logging locos some exercise, which is revealing that many of them need a lot of TLC to get them running well and some may never run without a complete overhaul. Some have responded well to a little lubrication and running time after sitting in a box since 1969.

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