Silly Shay scale question

Mattun Nov 21, 2009

  1. Mattun

    Mattun TrainBoard Member

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    Hi guys, I'm new :).

    Short intro: I'm a European, interested in doing something with American slim gauge railroads. I've been doing quite a bit of reading, and concluded that there are two themes I like, both from the steam era: the small guage logging and mining business with the Shays and all, and the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Though I want to do some more reading, I think I prefer the atmosphere and space requirements of the logging theme, so the D&RG is likely to only make a small, if any, appearance. The same space requirements push me to h0n3 more than 0n30. I then came to discover that there aren't all that many locomotives available for sale in h0n3, and certainly not Shays. This leads me to my question:

    Bachmann sells Shays in h0. Why did they make it h0, and not h0n3? Is there something about the Shay that I missed? It's only used on small gauge track, right?

    Thanks in advance for your time!
     
  2. bookemdanno

    bookemdanno TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hi Mattun,

    Welcome aboard! What part of Europe are you from?

    Shays ran on standard gauge as well as narrow gauge tracks. Shays were perfect for the tight curves and poor trackwork found on many logging railroads. You may also want to investigate Heisler and Climax geared locos for your logging road.

    There have been many HOn3 offerings of shays in brass as well as D&RGW locomotives. Blackstone makes a great k-27 non-brass as well. Roundhouse Trains also used to offer one in HOn3. You can find many of these brass shays on ebay. Here's a link to one they have listed today. You will also find many D&RGW HOn3 locos on ebay.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/BRASS-HON3-UNIT...wItemQQptZModel_RR_Trains?hash=item2a02b69713

    Good luck - and keep us posted.
     
  3. Mattun

    Mattun TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for your answer! I had completely missed that Shays were also used other than on narrow gauge. Were they then used other than for logging, or was it common for logging(/mining) tracks to be built in normal gauge, or was this a result of the conversion of most railways from narrow to normal gauge in later years?
    I must say I find it harder to find information on the web about these things than I expected. Perhaps I did make it hard for myself by thinking about narrow gauge as a newbie ;).

    So, assuming the brass Shays (and Climax-tpye and others) on Ebay (thanks for that) are all out of production, do these usually run well or do they suffer from being old? I don't mind getting fiddly (I consider laying my own track for example), but I don't feel much for having to work on stuff just to get it to work properly.

    By the way, the Blackstones were in fact the reason I looked into the D&RGW in the first place. Really sweet models. What I'm trying to find out now, is if I could use (ie, existed in reality-ish) a part of the D&RGW line to show off the Blackstones, which branches off or is otherwise closely situated to a logging/mining track, that would form the main scene and story. I found some books I consider buying:

    - The Model Railroader's Guide to Logging Railroads by Coleman.
    - The Rio Grande Railroad by Griffin.

    Do you happen to know these? I also saw 'Logging along the Denver & Rio Grande' by Chappell, and 'Up Clear Creek on the narrow guage: Modeling the Colorado & Southern' by Brunk, which seem out of print and expensive, but perhaps worth it?

    Thanks again for your time!

    P.S.: I'm from The Netherlands.
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Most Shays in North America were standard gauge, not narrow gauge. Some were used in mining or stone operations. Most seem to have been used in logging operations. However, a few even saw service in common carrier use.

    Welcome to TrainBoard!

    Boxcab E50
     
  5. bookemdanno

    bookemdanno TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hi Mattun,

    The brass loco listings on ebay should indicate if the unit runs well, especially if the seller wants to continue to sell on ebay. Precision Scale Models currently produces new models in brass. There is a listing at their site that shows there is an HOn3 shay in the future. However, PSC does not do a good job of maintaining the site so beware of this before you get your hopes up for the delivery dates they indicate. That said they make very good models.

    The shay listed is for Mich-Cal 2 truck shays No. 2 and 16 ton.

    http://www.precisionscaleco.com/

    Select the Future Releases tab at the top and then releases from PSC. Then scroll down to the link for the above shays.

    I'm not familiar with the books you listed however others may post their knowledge of these books. One I am familiar with and is fantastic is West Side by Mallory Hope Ferrell. It's all about the West side logging railroad in northern California. Monster shays! For the D&RGW Richard L. Dorman has a great series of books. For the Rio Grande Southern there is another great series called The RGS Story by Collman and McCoy. There are so many others I can't list them all at the moment.

    Have fun immersing yourself in your new found hobby!
     
  6. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome Mattun, not too many fellow Europeans here in the NG field!

    But you might want to check the HO section as well. I must admit, however, that I had also associated Shays with NG. I had thought the standard gauge ones were the less common ones.

    By the way, our European h0 or H0 is HO in North America. It matters whenever you use search functions. Same with O / 0 scale.
     
  7. bookemdanno

    bookemdanno TrainBoard Supporter

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    Another great series of books on the Colorado narrow gauge lines is the Narrow Gauge Pictorial Volumes by Robert L. Grandt. I have all of them and they are superb.
     
  8. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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  9. JCater

    JCater TrainBoard Member

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    Matun,

    Welcome! As stated there were more standard gauge shays than there were narrow. I think that there were a few shay kits in HO back in the 80s. You might be able to find one of these on the Bay BUT the motor most likely should be changed out as the motors of today are much better. Oddly enough a GREAT shay resource, as far as photos go, is the shay calendar...each month has a different picture of shay engines at work near the turn of the century. If you do find a shay you are interested in let us know before you buy it and we may be able to give you some advice about it.
     
  10. DSP&P fan

    DSP&P fan TrainBoard Member

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    The best sources for information on shay locomotives would be:
    -Shay - the modeler's handbook
    -the book Lima by Eric Hirsimaki (Lima built most of the shays, as well as conventional locomotives...2-8-8-4s, 2-6-6-6s, 4-8-4s, 2-8-4s, etc)
    -the Allen County Museum in Lima, OH...the town were most were built...and they have tons stuff such as builder's photos (nearly every locomotive order from the late 1800s had at least one photo take before leaving the plant...later engines had dozens...and some rolling stock was documented as well).

    MDC/Roundhouse offered both an HO and HOn3 shay throughout the 1980's and '90s. I have one of their HO shays. Electrical pickup was the biggest problem with them...followed by the gearbox. Fixing the electrical pickup made them into solid locomotives. In the 1990s, they offered some R-T-R. You can find them on ebay...as our Swiss friend said, HOn3 instead of H0n3...we Americans have lost the connection between H0,0 #1, and #2 gauges.

    Today, when you say shay...I think most people either picture the Mich-Cal Lumber shay (it is the oldest surviving shay, 1884), the 3-truck West Side Lumber Shays (3' gauge), or the 3-truck Western Maryland (Std. Gauge) shay at Cass. The On30 shay from B-man is of the same design as the Mich-Cal shay from PSC (different details).

    For a general book on American NG roads, the best starting point...without a doubt...is George Hilton's American Narrow Gauge Railroads. From there, classics are a good place to go. There isn't really a specific classic on the D&RGW...but it is the best known (much of the post-1950 NG D&RGW survives...track, cars, and locomotives). The classic on its adopted child is Ferrell's "Silver San Juan". The South Park is the best known 19th century narrow gauge...the most classic book on it is Mac Poor's "Denver, South Park, & Pacific". The most popular West Coast NG is the Southern Pacific's narrow gauge Keeler branch (SPng)...with the classic volume being "Slim Rails through the Sand". The most popular eastern narrow gauge is the East Broad Top...the classic volume being Rainey & Kyper's "East Broad Top". That being said, there are many wonderful roads. Hilton's book discusses nearly all of them.

    Shays were principally industrial locomotives. Most industrial (or private) roads were poorly documented (the Quincy & Torch Lake and the modern West Side Lumber being notable exceptions).

    Here's a photo of a 3' gauge shay I took in Lima last winter:
    [​IMG]

    And a photo from Lima's other product line:
    [​IMG]

    Michael
     
  11. Mattun

    Mattun TrainBoard Member

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    That's the same lay-out as discussed here, isn't it? Promising :)

    Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. It really helps to get a bit of a push in the right direction ;). I'll be looking into some of those books and start drooling.
     
  12. bookemdanno

    bookemdanno TrainBoard Supporter

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    Another great source for modeling is the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette.

    http://www.ngslgazette.com/

    Lots of great photos, track plans and of course all of the advertisers.
     
  13. Mattun

    Mattun TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Dan,

    I've put in an E-bay bid on Vol. 20, No.2, 5/94 of the NGSL gazette, which has an article about the Clear Creek & Pacific lay-out. This is actually featured in a book I read years ago, and sparked my interest in American narrow gauge. Can't wait to read it :). It has a combination of a mining track featuring a Shay and a main line passing through town, which is about what I want to do (not decided on mining or logging yet though, I've now figured out that the Blackstone K27s were used in an area that did have logging and mining branches, in the Pagosa & San Juan mountains areas, and at least Pagosa Lumber owned a Shay).

    To stay on the Shay subject: I found this on Ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390122585360
    Is this considered a good model? What would it be worth?
     
  14. DSP&P fan

    DSP&P fan TrainBoard Member

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    It looks rather crude for $200+. I'd guess that we are looking at an 50 year old model. It is made to look even worse by the terrible paint job (brush painted with too many coats). If it was mine, and it ran ok, the first thing I'd do would be to disassemble and strip that paint. I'd then airbrush it with Scalecoat I paints.

    It kind of looks like it has a can motor which is usually a plus.

    Btw, you might want to steer clear of the Westside shay that is on there. Whomever is selling it is clearly clueless. The locomotive is probably a 70ton Class C shay...not a 20t Class A (they have the wrong box). Additionally, it isn't an "auxiliary tank" that it is missing, it is an integral component of a Class C shay.

    You might want to visit the following site which has the approval of the Allen County (Lima's) Museum:
    http://www.shaylocomotives.com/

    A little bit of extra knowledge prior to purchasing an expensive locomotive will go a long way towards giving you the most satisfaction in the long run.

    Michael
     
  15. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Yes, this is my Silver Creek.

    You see in the vid the Shay from my friend, a 3' shay. He and I have also an standard gauge shay, here's mine, a PFM UNITED one. STEAM - just for fun

    Wolfgang
     
  16. Mattun

    Mattun TrainBoard Member

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    I'm glad you say this. My thoughts were the same, about both auctions. I will definitely do my research before buying (and bother you guys ;) ).
     
  17. bookemdanno

    bookemdanno TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes - both of those models are horrible.
     
  18. JCater

    JCater TrainBoard Member

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    You mention the Pagosa Lumber Company. I have done a lot of research on them as part of my business (I am an archaeologist) and actually have recorded parts of their lumber lines. Another lumber company in the area was the Montezuma Lumber Company. I believe both were tied to the Denver and Rio Grande RR. Not sure if the Montezuma folks used shays or little 2-6-0s but it is another option. The problem, for you, with these lumber companies or mining companies in the same area is that they all used narrow gauge rather than standard gauge...unless you are going HOn3 afterall?? As far as I know the only early standard gauge lines in the Colorado/N. New Mexico area were the Colorado Midland and for a very short time the D&RG line from Durango Colorado to Farmington, New Mexico (it was quickly changed to a narrow gauge line).

    Of course it is your railroad and you should do what YOU want witrh it :D over the years I have produced several layouts in HO standard gauge that "represent" narrow gauge lines. No one really ever noticed, but to ME they just were'nt right, so when On30 came about I went for that (even though it is not a prototypical narrow gauge scale, it is close enough for me ;) ).
     
  19. Mattun

    Mattun TrainBoard Member

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    The plan for now is still HOn3 :). I managed to find this map of the DRGW around 1930, which conveniently matches the Blackstone K27 and future C19 models.
    If I decide on a lumber setting, I'll be sure to remember your name ;).

    I'm trying to draw an actual plan now. My original idea was to build a layout on two or three 4' by 2'7"-ish modules (size makes more sense in the metric system :p), but that would mean I can't do a reverse loop with an 18" minimum radius. Bigger module, or a different way to turn trains around... difficult :p

    As a side note: does anyone know where I can find the dimensions for the Blackstone K-27's? Can't find them anywhere and would like to know how long the model is...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2009
  20. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    21 cm without the couplers; about 22 cm with the large snowplow.
     

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