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The 'Shays'

   
Although the small steam loco Moreton was put to work on the Moreton Central Sugar Mill tramway in 1904, horses continued to be used on the line to Dulong. Because of the steep gradients and sharp curves on this route, any attempt at working with a conventional locomotive would have been fraught with difficulty. In particular, the sharp bend known locally as the 'horseshoe curve' on the climb up the Highworth Range presented a major problem for the Moreton, so it was accepted that operation to Dulong would be restricted to expensive articulated locomotives.

The invention of the Shay locomotive

In the United States of America, Ephraim Shay was an ex-school teacher who had enlisted in the 8th Regiment of the Missouri Volunteer Infantry in 1861. During the American Civil War, he worked as the charge hospital steward of the dispensary in Prentiss Hospital, Vicksburg, Mississippi. In 1864 he received an Honourable Discharge and moved north to Haring in Upper Michigan where he set up a store and sawmill.

At the time, the cost of producing timber was about 17% for felling the trees, and 75% for transportation out of the forests. In the area in which he worked, the trees were felled throughout the year, but dragging the logs out was only possible in winter, after two feet of snow had fallen, turning the tracks and roads to ice. To enable him to transport logs out all year round, in 1875 Ephraim used his education and innate engineering skills to build a narrow-gauge railway with wooden tracks to reduce his transport costs. In 1876 he built a small conventional steam locomotive to run on these tracks, but soon observed that the loco caused serious damage to the wooden rails, especially on curves, while the heavier log wagons running on bogies rode the rails easily.

After some thought, he realised that the problem was threefold, in that the track damage was being caused firstly by the fact that the locomotive had a rigid wheelbase which could not flex sufficiently over uneven rails, secondly in that the rigid wheelbase placed a great strain on the wooden track on curves, and thirdly by the dynamic force of the pistons which tended to jerk the loco from side to side on each stroke. He devised the concept of building a new type of steam locomotive which ran on bogies to solve the first two problems. He addressed the third problem by mounting the steam engine vertically above the frames, instead of the more usual horizontal position underneath the boiler. This avoided the side-to-side thrusting forces inherent in the latter arrangement - the pistons worked up and down instead of back and forth. He was then faced with the major problem of transmitting the power of the engine to the bogie wheels.

After some experimentation, he designed his first bogied locomotive in 1877. The boiler and cylinders were purchased from William Crippen & Son's foundry in the nearby town of Cadillac, and between them Shay and Crippen assembled the machine. Ephraim himself described the loco as being basically a two-bogied wooden flat car, in the centre of which he had mounted a vertical boiler five feet high and three feet in diameter. A small vertical steam engine was mounted at one end above a bogie. It had two cylinders of 5 inches diameter and 7 inches stroke. They tried a chain drive to connect the engine to the wheels of the bogie underneath it, but soon replaced this with a wide leather belt of the type used commonly in sawmills and factories at the time. Although some sources state that this 'power bogie' was fixed, it would need to have some swivelling movement, and this is possibly why the leather belt was used to replace the original chain drive. The unpowered bogie at the other end was pivoted in the normal fashion. A large water tank was placed above the unpowered bogie to balance the locomotive, and a roof erected on top. To finish off the machine, a large spark arrestor was fitted above the boiler's flue, with a whistle alongside it. As far as is known, no photographs exist of this locomotive.

Local lumbermen noted with awe that Shay's new steam engine continued to operate successfully in conditions that defeated the conventional engines that they were trying to use. Ephraim himself was quite open about the virtues of his loco, but had not patented his idea at that stage. One of the lumbermen, James Alley, visited Crippen and asked him to build a copy of Shay's engine for him. William Crippen was overloaded with work, and could not accommodate him. Alley then travelled 600 kilometres to  Carnes, Agerter & Co., a well-known manufacturer based in Lima, Ohio (pronounced 'Lie-ma', like the bean; not 'Lee-ma', as in the Peruvian city) and asked them to build a copy of Shay's locomotive. This firm had been established in 1869 to build equipment for farms and sawmills (agricultural equipment, boilers, steam engines, saws, winches etc.) and within three years had sold over 40 complete sawmills, many to the Michigan area. They had soon expanded their production and from 1876 included traction engines in their catalogue.

The President of Carnes, Agerter and Co., John Carnes, agreed to make a copy of Shay's locomotive for Alley, based on his verbal description and probably some rough sketches, and had completed it by December 1878. This was the company's first locomotive. There was some system of gearing between the engine crankshaft and the wheels, but no details are known. The gears tended to fracture and the locomotive was not a great success. After using it for a few months, Alley became dissatisfied and asked Carnes, Agerter and Co. to build him a standard 0-4-0 steam loco to replace it. This was the firm's first conventional locomotive and it was delivered in August 1879. Alley later ordered a standard 0-6-0 locomotive from Carnes, Agerter and Co., and around this time the company changed its name to the Lima Machine Works. John Carnes' son Ira also worked in the factory.

This is a copy of Ephraim Shay's original machine, the construction of which is variously attributed to William Crippen & Son or Carnes, Agerter and Co. It was built for James Alley & Co. in 1878.

Manufacturing of Shay locomotives begins at the Lima Machine Works

By late 1879 Ephraim Shay had developed his locomotive to the point where he felt that substantial improvements could be made if access to a proper machine shop and manufacturing plant were available. He found that William Crippen was still backlogged with work, so decided to look elsewhere. He had dealt with Carnes, Agerter and Co. in previous years when purchasing sawmilling machinery, and had heard about their experiments on behalf of James Alley. Shay made contact with them, and found the President John Carnes to be very receptive to his ideas. Mr Carnes sent his Works Superintendent George Disman the 600 kilometres to Haring to visit Ephraim, and the immediate outcome was the shipment of Shay's locomotive to the Lima Machine Works for rebuilding and study.

Events moved swiftly, and Shay negotiated with the firm to build additional locos based on his concept. In 1881 Shay received a patent for his new design, which was not granted for any detailed engineering plans but for simply the 'concept' of powering a steam locomotive by connecting its engine to the bogies by means of a flexible drive system. He purchased 64 shares in the Lima Works at $100 each, and arranged for that firm to have sole building rights of his locomotive. They agreed to pay him a royalty on every Shay locomotive produced, the payment being calculated from each loco's weight.

Lima now had to develop the manufacturing drawings and patterns to make the design feasible for building in quantity. The leather belt had to go, to be replaced by drive shafts and gears. John Carnes undertook the development of this, and the first locomotives were completed in 1880. These engines embodied the classic arrangement of boiler, engine, shafts, joints, gearing and bogies that has since become known as the 'Shay' type, although at Lima it was always known as the 'Carnes design'. This was largely because the use of universal joints, slip joints, and bevel gears on a longitudinal shaft turning crown gears bolted to the wheels were all John Carnes' ideas. All Shays built by Lima would be of this design until construction of the type finally ceased in 1945.

In 1880 the Lima Works built four Shay locomotives and another four in 1881, but in 1882 sales increased to a total of 26.

Henry Wallin started the Michigan Iron Works in Grand Rapids, Michigan and together with James Henderson built a branch at Cadillac, Michigan in 1880. The Cadillac plant was intended to manufacture logging locomotives under the direction of James Henderson. At least two rod-type logging locomotives were constructed. J. Walter Cummer owned Lima's fifth Shay built and was very satisfied with it. He acquired Wallin's interest in the Michigan Iron Works in 1882, and the same year obtained a licence from Ephraim Shay to manufacture Shay-type geared locomotives. Although Cummer's locomotive was quite successful, he felt that it could be improved, and asked Henderson to design a better Shay for the Michigan Iron Works to build.

The locomotives they built were superior to the Shay engines manufactured at the Lima Machine Works during this period. There were fundamental changes from the Lima Shay's design but Ephraim Shay's patented 'concept' covered their version too. It would be referred to as the 'Henderson Shay'.

This Shay example was very interesting indeed. The drive shaft line was off the left centre and under the engine, and the cylinders were under the horizontal boiler. The shaft connected to the inner axles of the bogies using gearboxes between the wheels, and the outer wheels were coupled to the inner wheels through conventional side rods. This design actually proved to be more powerful than the Lima Shays and in fact set a record of hauling 47 fully loaded log cars with 393 logs to a sawmill. Ephraim Shay's exact financial arrangement with the Michigan Iron Works is not known, however it had to be similar to that with Lima as Mr Shay would advertise and promote Shay Patent Locomotives for both companies.

Some of the ideas successfully trialled in the 'Henderson Shay' were later embodied in the Climax and Heisler bogied steam locomotives, which came onto the market in 1888 and 1891 respectively, in opposition to the Shay.

The financial panic of 1883 ended this project abruptly when lumbermen who had ordered the locomotives went bankrupt and were unable to pay the Michigan Iron Works the money they owed. After building only six 'Henderson Shays', the Michigan Iron Works went into receivership and James Henderson found himself out of a job.

On the basis of his experience with the locomotives, Henderson was offered a senior position at the Lima Machine Works. He was appointed chief machinist responsible for Shay design and construction, and he immediately set to work enthusiastically. He expanded the range of Shay locomotives being built from three sizes (of 6 and 8 tons with vertical boilers, plus one of 8 tons with a horizontal boiler) to  five (weighing 7, 9, 11, 15 and 18 tons) as well as three small rod locomotive types (an 0-6-0 of 7 tons, and 4-4-0s of 10 and 15 tons). He abandoned the ideas he had embodied in the 'Henderson Shay' and decided to concentrate on improving the Carnes design. Three of his major innovations in his first year at Lima were to develop the first three-bogied Shay in July 1884, the first three-cylinder Shay in December of that year, and to develop steel I-beam chassis frames on which to mount the boiler, engine, cab, bunker and bogies, instead of the wooden frames which had been used up to that time.

Sales of Shay locomotives were slow during the economic slump of the mid-1880s. Only 26 locomotives were sold in 1884 and 12 in 1885, but from then on locomotive development and construction at Lima forged ahead. In 1887 the Works produced its largest locomotive to that time, a three-cylinder, three bogied giant of 75 tons, far removed from the tiny 7 ton machines of only a few years before. In a test in 1890, a 91 ton Shay was able to haul 14 loaded cars and an 0-6-0 conventional locomotive, which was trying to pull the train in the opposite direction.

The Shay steam locomotive soon became accepted all over the world for use on tightly-curved, steep railways. It became especially popular in timber-getting areas where the rails were light and temporary, and needed to be moved to new locations as areas were logged out. Sales were so good that in 1891 the firm changed its name to the Lima Locomotive and Machine Company. Lima continued building conventional steam engines as well, and by the early years of the twentieth century locomotive construction had become the company's main business. In 1912 it changed its name to the Lima Locomotive Corporation, and in 1916 to the Lima Locomotive Works.

In the 1920s the company introduced its new Superpower designs of large conventional steam locos, using wide fireboxes supported by four-wheel bogies behind the driving wheels. Of these, the 2-8-4 and the streamlined 4-8-4 GS-4s of Southern Pacific Daylight express fame are probably the best-known examples. Lima also built many huge locomotives, culminating in the 336 ton 2-6-6-6 giants of the Chesapeake & Ohio and Virginian Railroads built in 1942-45, but the demise of steam and the rapid adoption of diesel-electric power by the world's railways led to a decline in the company's fortunes.

In the nearby town of Hamilton, Ohio, the General Machinery Corporation had developed a large diesel motor for use by the navy during World War II. After the end of hostilities, they were looking for a new market for their 'Hamilton Diesel' and began discussions with Lima. Agreeing that the future of railroads lay with diesel-electric locomotives, the firms amalgamated in 1947 to form the Lima-Hamilton Corporation. By the end of the year they had constructed and sold two diesel-electric shunting locos (yard switchers) and by 1949 could claim to be the fifth largest builders of diesels, after GM-EMD (General Motors Electro-Motive Division), ALCO (American Locomotive Company), Baldwin and Fairbanks-Morse. Though this sounds impressive, in real terms their diesel loco production had won only 1.6% of the market.

Lima-Hamilton's tiny share of diesel-electric locomotive production suddenly collapsed in 1950 as the EMD and ALCO products surged in popularity. The Baldwin Locomotive Works was similarly affected, both suffering more than their competitors due to the simultaneous rapid decline of the steam locomotive market for which their plants had been designed. On November 30, 1950 the arch-rivals were forced into a merger to form the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation. As Baldwin had a larger range of diesels on offer, the Lima diesels were discontinued, marking the end of locomotive construction there. Instead, the new management put the Lima Works to building M-46 'Patton' tanks for the army. These were the main American battle tanks used in the Korean War.

One of the final orders for steam locomotives from the Corporation came from the New South Wales Government Railways, desperately short of motive power after the heavy rail traffic of World War II. The NSWGR ordered twenty 2-8-2 locomotives of a successful USRA design, and these, arriving in 1952-3, formed the very successful D59 class. That was about the end of steam locomotive building for Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton.

Things went downhill from there. The Baldwin diesel-electrics were not profitable and were phased out by 1955. The firm then tried to enter the market for construction equipment but failed again, although Lima had for many years produced a successful line of mechanical shovels and cranes. After a series of takeovers, the Lima Works was finally closed down in July, 1981. The plant and equipment were auctioned off and the site cleared. Altogether, the Lima Locomotive Works had built a total of 7769 steam engines, and had served its community for 112 years. However, Lima's name will always remain inextricably linked with that of the Shay locomotive, of which it built 2761.  

More on Ephraim Shay and the development of his unique locomotive type

Lima Locomotive Works Shay database and directory 

A description of the 'Shay locomotive type'

The typical Shay had a rigid steel frame on which were mounted the boiler, cab, water tank, coal bunker and drawgear. At each end of the frame was a pivoting four-wheeled bogie. Mounted on the right-hand side adjoining and ahead of the cab was a small, vertical two or three cylinder steam engine, which turned a crankshaft. Cardan drive shafts ran forward from the crankshaft to the front bogie and back to the rear bogie. These shafts had universal couplings at each end, and squared slip or sleeve joints in the centre.

A typical medium-sized 3-cylinder Shay, dating from about 1900.

Bevel gears on the rotating shaft engaged at right angles bevelled crown wheels bolted to the right-hand bogie wheels with a gear ratio of between 2 and 3 to 1, depending on the customer's requirements. These wheels were fixed to the axles as were those on the opposite side, and adhesion of the smooth driving wheels with the rails was relied on to drive the locomotive along. The boiler was offset to the left, to counter-balance and make room for the engine on the right. The slip joints and universal couplings in the drive shafts enabled the bogies to swing and tilt through curves and undulations without loss of power.

The mechanical arrangement of the tiny 2-cylinder Shay that operated on the Mapleton Tramway, as it existed on display at Nambour in 1970. The parts in the drive line (including the ring-shaped universal joints, the squared cross-section slip joints, the crankshaft and big ends, and the shaft between the axles of each bogie) are painted red. The bevel gears and crown gears bolted to the wheels are painted silver. The wheel rims are picked out in white.

Because of the low gearing, Shay locomotives were limited to a top speed of about 12 miles per hour (20 kph), although some of the larger models could reach 30 kph. Smaller versions could cruise at 7 mph (12 kph) and work under load at a speed of 3 mph (5 kph). Though slow, they sounded as if they were travelling much faster. Whereas conventional steam locomotives tended to shake from side to side on a vertical axis, due to the longitudinal thrusting of the pistons on one side, then the other (nosing), Shays tended to rock gently on a horizontal axis, due to the pistons working vertically. Crews regarded them as smooth and steady riders, despite the noise and vibration caused by the gears and high engine revolutions per minute. When running ahead, there was a tendency for the off-centre drive to lift the loco to the right (driver's side) if sand was applied under slipping wheels before steam was shut off, or if an axle broke or the gearing jammed, and to the fireman's side when running in reverse.

The gearing down of the engine had the effect of more than doubling the tractive effort normally produced by a loco with cylinders and wheels of that size. Also, the increased engine revolutions for a given road speed provided a smoother application of power to the wheels. As all the wheels were driving wheels, all the locomotive's weight including coal and water was available to assist adhesion (the grip of the wheels to the rails). The use of bogies meant that the locomotive avoided the problems experienced by conventional engines with large fixed wheelbases - the Shay could traverse indifferent track, sharp curves and sudden changes in gradient with alacrity. In some logging operations, Shays were equipped with large, wide wheels with flanges on both sides, and ran successfully on track made of smoothed logs!

Conventional locomotives with their heavy connecting rods and coupling rods need counterweights fixed in the wheels to counterbalance the forces of the whirling rods. But, as the wheels revolve, the counterweights deliver a dynamic augment or 'hammer-blow' to the track on every revolution, which in extreme cases can cause track or bridge damage. Having no counterweights in their wheels, the Shays did not cause this problem. As there was no mechanism or frame underneath the firebox, the flow of air into the grate was not restricted, making for efficient combustion of fuel. The engine, drive shafts, joints and gears were all easily accessible, which made lubrication and repairs easier. All of these attributes were advantageous to the Shay, but the downside was its low speed, high fuel consumption and higher maintenance costs, as there were more moving parts.

The Lima Works continued to improve the Shay, and over the years it became quite a sophisticated machine. Three-cylinder locomotives were developed, and three-bogied versions with a permanently-coupled tender supported by the third power bogie. Cast bogies were developed to improve on the previous fabricated designs, and in 1923 a cast steel girder frame was introduced to replace the old I-beam and cross-member pattern.

A modern, large, three-truck, three-cylinder Shay built for the Mayo Lumber Company.

Shays came in many sizes, but there were three main types. Type A was a two-bogie, two cylinder loco, and was available in four models weighing from 10 to 20 tons. Type B had two bogies but three cylinders, with seven models weighing from 24 to 60 tons. Type C had three bogies and three cylinders, with a large water tank over the rear bogie, which was a separate powered vehicle attached permanently to the locomotive. There were five Type C models weighing from 70 to 125 tons. There was one larger model, a huge Type D with more driven axles. It was a 150 ton monster with four driven bogies, two under a large tender fixed to the locomotive with an articulated joint.

Lima did not stop there! There was a proposal for a 20-driver Shay with independently hung axles (below), and the following Works drawing, dated March 29, 1927, shows a giant six-cylinder Shay riding on 16 wheels, weighing 231 tons and having a tractive effort of 98 000 lbs. This loco was to have a three-cylinder engine on both sides, each with its own longitudinal drive shaft running to front and rear bogies. It would have been like two three-cylinder Shays sharing one boiler, frame, cab and bunker, with an extra water tank up front. The left-side engine, shafts and gears would be mirror images of those on the right.  It was to be a shunting locomotive, called in the USA a 'yard switcher', which would work in marshalling yards equipped with a 'hump'. In such yards, the 'hump switcher' would push the rolling stock up to the crest of a 'hump'. The wagons and freight cars would then be allowed to roll freely under gravity down the other side, either individually or in groups, a series of points or 'switches' being changed as they went, to direct them to the appropriate tracks. It seems a pity, but neither of these monsters progressed past the drawing board.

The vast majority of Shays were built before 1915. All Shays as we know them were built by Lima, but when Ephraim Shay's patent ran out and became public property after World War I, the Willamette Iron and Steel Works of Portland, Oregon built 33 variants of his design between 1922 and 1929. These, known as 'Willamette Shays' or 'Willies', were quite successful and incorporated several improvements which were later adopted by Lima for their Shays.

Other types of unusual locomotives competing with the Shay

Other firms produced geared locomotives during this period, of which the Climax and Heisler are best known. The Climax design had two inclined cylinders mounted on either side of the boiler, connected to a cross shaft just ahead of the firebox. A gearbox on this shaft drove a longitudinal shaft on the loco's centre line, which drove each axle on each bogie through bevel gears at the centre of each axle. The gearbox on the smaller Climaxes had a unique feature, in that it gave the driver the option of two speeds each for forward and reverse running, and a neutral gear for coasting. The use of neutral for descending steep hills was sternly warned against by the company! The low gear was very useful for climbing steep grades, as it doubled the loco's tractive effort. As with contemporaneous steam rollers and traction engines, the gears could only be changed when the locomotive was stationary. [ Climax homepage ]

The Heisler type avoided the complications of a central gearbox by placing the two cylinders in ninety degree vee-formation just forward of the firebox. The boiler sat in the angle of the vee. The pistons turned a longitudinal shaft under the loco's centre line, which drove the inner axle of each bogie through gears. The outer wheels of each bogie were driven by the inner wheels through coupling rods. Although available only with two cylinders, both the Climax and Heisler designs were very successful, and worthy competitors for the Shay. Each type had its own advantages and disadvantages, but Shays outsold the Climax by nearly three to one, and the Heisler by over four to one.  

The Baldwin Locomotive Works, which produced more steam locomotives than any other builder, were a late entry to this field and found that most of the best ideas had already been patented by the other firms and were not available for their use. Notwithstanding, they went ahead and built five geared locos on bogies, in which they incorporated some peculiar ideas to avoid patent infringement. The first four had two conventional cylinders mounted similarly to the Climax, except that instead of being mounted at a steep angle on each side of the boiler, they were squeezed down between the smokebox and the front power bogie. None of these four was a success. The fifth loco was different, with a three-cylinder engine mounted horizontally but sideways under the boiler. This drove a longitudinal shaft on the loco's right hand side, but the power had to be transferred back across the bogies by jack shafts, for the gears on the wheels were on the left hand side! This loco was a total failure, and marked the end of Baldwin's attempts in this field. Henceforth they concentrated on the market for conventional locos, which they continued to dominate until the end of steam.

Numerous other minor manufacturers in the United States were also producing small geared steam locomotives up to the late 1920s, such as Bell, Byer, Davenport and Dunkirk, but none of the machines produced was particularly successful, although Davenport produced at least 28 locos and Dunkirk about 50.

Shays come to Australia   

In Australia, three Shays had been put in use on the 3 ft. 6 in. gauge railway in Tasmania in 1902.  Another had been hauling timber on a 2 ft. 6 in. gauge tramway at Munro's timber mill between Perseverance and Hampton (north of Toowoomba) since 1904.

In New South Wales, a large 66 ton Shay running on standard gauge tracks was purchased by Mr John Fell for his 30-mile-long (50 kilometres) Blue Mountains shale railway in 1906. By 1908 he had purchased two more Shays of 81 tons. In 1910 Mr Fell took delivery of his fourth Shay, a heavy 98 ton machine, Australia's largest of that type, known as Wolgan Valley No. 4. In Queensland, the Lahey Brothers had purchased another type of geared locomotive, a Climax, for use in hauling timber on their 3 ft. 6 in. gauge line at Canungra, south of Brisbane, in 1903. They also later purchased three Shays.

A Shay for the Moreton Central Sugar Mill  

In Nambour, the Directors of the Moreton Central Sugar Mill Board were wishing to replace the horses working the Dulong branch, but knew that conventional steam locomotives like the Moreton could not manage the climb up the Highworth Range. They were looking for an alternative, and referred the matter to Mr George Phillips, a Government railways engineer who had surveyed some of their routes in the late 1890s, and then been appointed Consulting Engineer to the Mill. He conferred with his colleague A. R. Mackenzie, designer of the Atlas Car, and together they approached Mr Wilfred Desplace, who was now the Manager and Inspecting Engineer of the Bureau of Central Sugar Mills. They valued his advice, for Desplace had been the Manager of the Moreton Central Sugar Mill for 21/2 years, and was quite familiar with the Mill's requirements.  

There were a number of different patented designs existing at the time for building locomotives able to negotiate steep grades and sharp curves. Though the Garratt type was newly invented and as yet unproven, there were other forms of articulated steam locomotives on the market. As well as the Shay, Climax and Heisler which used gears, there were the Fairlie, Meyer, Vulcan Duplex and Mallet which did not. Alternative designs that enabled the driving wheels on an otherwise fixed wheelbase powered by side rods to move radially in relation to each other included the Hagans, Klose, Fink and Klien-Lindner systems. There were also steam locomotives using quill or chain transmission, and cog, rack or third-rail (Fell) systems in use around the world. 

Nevertheless, Desplace recommended that the Mill should purchase a Shay similar to the one at Munro's timber mill, and so a party of men from the Moreton Mill journeyed to Hampton to see the unusual locomotive at work. There they were told that the Shay had been so successful that they had plans to order another one.

Builder's photograph of Munro No. 1, specifications and other data
Builder's photograph of Munro No. 2, specifications and other data

The Moreton Mill men were suitably impressed, and on their return induced the Board to place an order for one of the second smallest Shays that the Lima Locomotive and Machine Company had in its catalogue, a type A, class 13-2 loco. The class number '13-2' simply means that the machine weighed 13 tons in working order and had two trucks or bogies. The class code was 'Abe' and its tractive effort was 6050 lbs. The loco was ordered with a gear ratio of 2.467 to 1, giving a hauling capacity on the level of 643 tons. The engine supplied was builder's number 2091 of 1908. It arrived in Nambour in pieces, and was promptly assembled in the mill yard.

Builder's photograph of the Moreton Mill's Shay, specifications and other data

The Chronicle of 8th August 1908 reported the trial run of the little engine as follows:  

"The New Loco.

"There was quite a flutter of excitement at the Moreton Mill on Wednesday afternoon and a ripple from the unusual stir came our way, and led us to visit the scene. There we found the new 'Shay' loco with steam up for the first time, ready for a preliminary trial trip. We confess to experiencing some little amusement at the care with which it was explained to us, that this was only the first attempt, and the official trial trip would be held later.
"The little engine looked thoroughly up to her business, [and] when Driver Shearer gave her a taste, she moved forward in a most deliberate fashion that satisfied us that the company were about to acquire a particularly useful and powerful piece of machinery. The white truck was soon attached, and with a few officials, including the government inspector of boilers, was pushed out of the yard as far as Currie Street in the steadiest fashion, by the Dulong as she is to be called.
"Her driver got rather a surprise when the first of a few fog signals [detonators used by the Q.R. and placed on the rails as warnings] was exploded by the driving wheels, but this did not prevent the spectators from watching keenly to see how the curves were negotiated by such a long engine. However, the two rather sharp curves close to home proved no trouble, and demonstrated clearly that the clever contrivances to allow for expansion and contraction of the driving shaft worked perfectly.
"As the outfit passed the sawmill the whistle salute of 'Cock-a-doodle-doo' was given and returned, and many watched till the engine went out of sight up the range. The steady gait adopted was of course due to the usual caution necessary on a first trial, and some onlookers deduced that the new loco was slow, but inquiries we made yielded the information that she can be run at the speed of ten miles an hour.
"The climb up the range was no trouble at all, and for the first time in the history of the Blackall Range a locomotive climbed it, going as far as Doig's selection [west of Kureelpa Falls Road, actually the summit of the Highworth Range, not Blackall.] Everything was found to be thoroughly satisfactory."  

From this account, it may be seen that the loco was named 'Dulong' immediately upon commissioning.  

This builder's photograph of the locomotive was taken just as it was being despatched from the Lima Locomotive and Machine Company's factory on a standard gauge flatcar. It shows the locomotive fitted with a stovepipe or 'shotgun' chimney. This was unusual for a small Shay, large spark-arresting chimneys usually being fitted. It also shows the letters 'M.C.S.M.' (Moreton Central Sugar Mill) painted on the bunker, but no name on the cab-sides. The agent's plates for Gibson, Battle & Co., Ltd. are already fitted on the bunker top, so this means that those plates were cast in the U.S.A., not in Australia. The official Lima builder's plate is seen fixed to the smokebox.

As coal-burning locomotives had a tendency to throw sparks from their chimneys when working hard, which could lead to fires starting in the grass and canefields along the tramline, soon after its arrival in Nambour the Dulong was fitted with a large diamond-pattern spark-arrestor on top of its chimney. It is not known why a spark arrestor was not fitted at the factory as was normal procedure. These spark arrestors came in various designs, and gave each locomotive a distinctive appearance. The Dulong's spark arrestor had a deep top section and a shallower bottom section.  

    Photograph courtesy Sunshine Coast Libraries

An early photograph shows the name Dulong painted on the cab sides, below the window. Later, the initials 'M.C.S.M' on the bunker sides were removed and the name Dulong painted in their place.


 

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