Komoka Railway Museum Inc.
  133 Queen Street, P.O. Box 22, Komoka, Ontario N0L 1R0 (519) 657-1912

 

   

A Short History of Our Shay Logging Locomotive 

This Shay was built in 1913 in Lima, Ohio.  The brass builder's production plate (on the back head of the boiler) bears number 2679.

It is a Class-B Shay (two trucks, 3 pistons) and was built as a standard gauge.  It was a wood and coal burner, with a telescopic stack and has a spark arrester (screen).  

As you see the Shay today, it has undergone many changes from when it worked in Algonquin Park for the Key Valley Railway.  Our attempt is to restore it as closely as possible to its original state although it will only be a "cosmetic restoration".  The Shay had wooden push beams and wooden steps leading up to the cab with a canvas roof. The outer shell was originally "Russian steel" and was fully insulated.  This engine has been rolled over twice and went through one fire.  

At the head of the unit is a centre mounted carbide light.  The boiler pressure was 200 pounds per square inch.  For every turn of the gear driven wheels, the 11" pistons travel up and down nineteen times.  This meant that the top speed was no more than 12 to 15 miles per hour but the engine had tremendous pulling power.  

Because of its design, the engine could climb a 14% incline without help.  It could also turn to a 45 degree circumference in the bush because of the flexible driveline on the side.  

It was quite common for an engine like this to derail accidentally several times a day due to the very rough, temporary track.  However, this caused no great concern as it was fairly easy to re-rail with a 3" or 4" log placed underneath.  The story goes that it was quite easy (?) to repair requiring neither a pit nor a hoist because the major operating parts were along the right side!  

One engineer who drove this Shay was Earnest Montgomery.  In 1992, Earnest lived in Madawaska, Ontario and was almost 100 years old.  According to Earnest, it is there that our Shay was last used for logging.  

Specifications, More History and Photo c/o http://www.shaylocomotives.com