The Shay engine is an engineering marvel to behold. These origin of these engines date prior to 1895. This concept of the Shay was actually developed by a logger named Ephriam Shay who is created with invented a flat car with a donkey engine hung over the side of the car, geared to the wheels. This design was further enhanced and developed by Lima, making the Shay engine very popular in the lumbering industry. Where the climate was rough with sharp inclines and dangerous curves, the Shay was king. Although not the fastest on the block, the Shay got the job done, time after time.Shays were actually tank engines with trucks. Depending on the grade, different gear ratios were selected, increasing traction when needed. Looking at the Shay from the front showed the boiler set to the right ,for balance, and the vertical cylinders on the left-hand side of the engine.&snbp; If traction became a problem, sand could be dropped on the rails on the side of the cyclinders to help provide better surface adhesion.
Shays made a very load noise due to the gearing reduction. The went at the speed of someone walking, but up almost any steep incline that was offered. Actual speed may have been 12 miles per hour.
Preceding information extracted from: Westcott, Lynn H. (1960). Steam Locomotives, 266-267. Kalmbach Publishing Co: WI