Shay locomotives....beastly looking machines

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by KL7AJ, Nov 14, 2018.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: Left-3
ad: L-Geochron
ad: Left-2
ad: L-MFJ
ad: abrind-2
  1. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Simple: They hired, and trained, a LOT of people.

    There are a lot of great British films/videos of their railways, from the 1920s onward. While US railroads don't do things exactly the same way, the general principles are the same.

    They also had a considerable number of accidents, breakdowns, and disasters (such as boiler explosions). The designs evolved over time from lessons learned the hard way.

    They succeeded because even with all the problems railroads were usually the best land transportation technology available.

    Rails are rolled, not extruded. The period of importation was very short because the American steel industry soon matured.

    Track design evolved too - wooden and iron rails were replaced by steel, stone blocks replaced by wooden crossties, etc. Now the best track designs use concrete ties and continuous welded rail.


    One thing which IMHO doesn't get enough notice today is just how many people it took to get stuff done "back when". Look at old films/videos of practically any workplace and you see people, people, people - everywhere! Whether they were making steel, mining coal, running a railroad, transporting cargo across the ocean, putting up a bridge or skyscraper, building ships or B-29s or TV sets, designing the Saturn V or compiling the US census, there were people all over the place.

    Not so much today. Take coal mining - the amount of coal mined in the USA today is almost double what it was during the World Wars, which were peak years in their time. Coal production in the USA increased dramatically from 1980 to 2008. Even with the recent decline in production, we're still far ahead of the days when King Coal reigned supreme.

    Yet coal mining employment is down and continues to decline - not because of "tree huggers" and such, but because newer technologies have tremendously increased the amount of coal produced per worker-hour, and because surface mining in places such as the Powder River Basin has mostly replaced deep mining in places such as Kentucky and West Virginia. Today, the coal production in the #1 coal producing state - Wyoming - exceeds that of the next 5 states combined.

    This is why promises to "bring back coal jobs" are lies, pure and simple. They're like promising to bring back the roundhouse jobs caring for steam locomotives, or the file clerk jobs in offices before the computer era.

    for more info.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
  2. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Magnaflux sure would save some time. :)
    N2EY likes this.
  3. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like how they light the cigarette with a hot rivet. :)
    K9ASE likes this.
  4. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not much. And in other films you see more advanced methods in use.
  5. N1OOQ

    N1OOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    They converted it to diesel a few years ago. Sacrilege.

    We took the ride when it was still steam. Coolest thing evah! One got rather covered in coal dust and soot. Amazingly steep. The brakeman operated a little handwheel, and the brakes squealed like a NYC garbage truck. Had to stop halfway up to take on water.
    K9ASE likes this.
  6. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. N3TZO

    N3TZO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Every wheel is a drive wheel, driven by a geared system rather than a direct drive from rods as was the standard steam locomotive design. The Shay/Climax/Heistler locomotives were designed for slow heavy work on tight curves and grades that typical locomotives cannot navigate. A standard locomotive can only tackle a maximum grade of 2.5 to 3%. Shays can do at least 9% grade, and I know of operators that have claimed as high as 12%. The gear design also minimizes "wheel-slip" problems.
    N0TZU likes this.
  8. KB2FCV

    KB2FCV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Never seen one on video like that. I've seen them in model railroads... neat locomotives designed for a specific purpose.
  9. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is a similar system, but much shorter in Dubuque Iowa. It's appropriately named "The Incline"
  10. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

Share This Page