Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ephrian's Magnificant Shay - Rayonier #3

Rayonier, Incorporated #3, Promise Land Park, Humptulips, Washington, June 17, 1960. My sister and I were fortunate to have parents who enjoyed family outings on the weekends. And summers when we were out of school were great because our Dad worked Inland Rules for Puget Sound Tug & Barge, which meant he worked 15 days on, 15 days off.

One of our favorite “haunts” was Kalaloch Beach on the Olympic Peninsula. It was a few hours drive from Seattle, down to Olympia, out to Hoquiam and up the US 101 through Humptulips to the beach.

After my railroading experiences in Prince Rupert, I was on the lookout for a locomotive of any type. Located in Promise Land Park, at Humptulips, was a display of Rayonier #3 with a flat car mounted donkey engine.

I knew zip about what a Shay really was until years later, in 1989 when my late wife and I spent our honeymoon at Cass Scenic Railroad, West Virginia, as part of what they called then, a “Rail Fan Weekend.” The exquisiteness of it was the fact the event was limited to 300 guests, so the mob was manageable, especially on the run-by photo line-ups.

Patti and I drove down from our billet at Whistle Punk Condo’s to check things out the day before the two day “event.” Cass #5 was maneuvering up to the water tank just when we got there. This was our first sighting of a “live” Shay!”

Author in cab of Cass #5

I was utterly spell bound watching the pistons and drive train! The nickname “sidewinder,” as applied to the driving mechanism of the Shay locomotive, is so appropriate and fascinating to behold! At once complex, yet so simple! As the years have gone by, I have seen and read about may interesting types of locomotives, but the geared locomotives, developed by loggers simply to get the timber out of the woods over jury rigged trackage, have proven to be the most remarkable to me. And my modest brass collection displays one of each: a Lima Shay, Willamette Shay, Climax, and Heisler.

From his early “contrivance” consisting of a simple two cylinder motor fed by an upright boiler driving a flat bed platform with a tank full of water, Ephraim Shay’s 1877 design evolved to the zenith of geared power, as demonstrated by Lima’s Western Maryland #6, which Patti had the enjoyment of watching at Cass.

Railroad Stuff: Rayonier, Incorporated #3. 24 ton two truck Lima Shay code “Bay” construction number 2305, built for East Kootenay Logging Company at Cranbrook, B.C., May 9, 1910. 8” x 8” powering 27½” wheels. To Polson Logging Company #3 at Hoquiam, Washington. To Rayonier, Inc., #3 at Hoquiam. To Promise Land Park, Humptulips, Washington.

Eventually a fellow by the name of Aaron Zorko, Engineer, Lead Fireman, Mechanic, Conductor, and Web Master at the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, in Tillamook, Oregon, purchased #3 in 2002. I talked to Aaron briefly today to find out the status of the old Shay. He is optimistic that funding can be secured to restore her. If you would like to share in that dream, drop Aaron a line and let him know!

Ed Note: We have had a recent success story in the restoration and live running of yet another Rayonier locomotive. Willamette Shay #2 is now running at the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, as shown here on Construction Number 34,the last of 34 locomotives built by Willamette Iron and Steel works in Portland, Oregon.

Willamette Iron & Steel did not build the Shay “under license” as many incorrectly report. Indeed, the original Shay patent expired in 1898. WI&S saw an opportunity to supply their West Coast logging customers with more than yarders and donkey engines, and took a shot at it!

Lima made several improvements to its Shay, launching the “Pacific Coast Shay” in 1927. The “PC Shay” forced Willamette Iron and Steel to cease building locomotives, and return to it’s more familiar offerings. See “The Willamette Locomotive” by Steve Hauff and Jim Gertz for the full and fascinating story of this maverick locomotive.

2 Comments - Click here:

LinesWest said...

Hi Robert, great post. I've seen a few of these beasts and they are indeed amazing! It's not only the furious turning of all those pistons and gears, but the absolute roar of these locomotives -- all at 5-10mph. Great stuff, thanks.


Jon Merz said...

I have found some old rails buried in the woods South of Cranbrook, BC. Perhaps this ran on thwem at some point? Very old steel. Some from Cambria and Bleneavon Steel works. Short chunks and some complete sections still laid where they were stored.

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