Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shay locomotives

If, at some point in the future, you should read Prodigal Son/Color of my Blood/whatever it winds up being called and you should wonder what on Earth a Shay locomotive is, it's one of these. Toward the end of the steam era, there were proposed (but never built) much larger Shay locomotives with a 3 cylinder steam engine on both sides, and that's really what I was picturing. They're weird pieces of equipment, originally evolved for use on lumber railways with primitive wood and/or wood and iron strap rails, where a large, powerful rod locomotive would tear the track to bits or derail quickly. I figured these were just about perfect for the precision movement, lots of stops and starts, and so on of combat track laying. Yeah. Combat track laying. Welcome to armored war in the 19th century. :)

Why is the #844 called a rod engine when the Shay is distinctly not? Those long things on the driver wheels that connect them to the steam pistons? Those are called side rods or coupling rods. -JRS

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