More on geared locomotives

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!



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.


All the replies and comments jogged my memory too – and I found this post, which 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 just to add 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 !!!!!!



Thanks to Brian and Mark – 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.



14 Responses to More on geared locomotives

  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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *