3 Truck Shay Engine--speed

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Cookie, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. Cookie

    Cookie New Member

    This is my first post and I have a question. I just purchased a new 3 truck Shay and put it on the track for the first run to see if all was OK. The engine seems to run fine but it runs much slower (really a lot slower) than the rest of my engines. Is this how an actual Shay engine would run due to its pulling power? Is this normal because of gearing or should I return the engine due to something being wrong. I only have 10 days to make a return Thanks for your help and all opinions are welcome. Due to the cost of this engine I want to make sure nothing is wrong.
  2. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I assume it's a Bachmann Spectrum Shay? That's the way they are suppose to run, really slow. In real life they ran slow too. If it's a Sprectrum it also has a 1 year warranty through Bachmann for free and a lifetime warranty for a $25 handling fee after 1 year.
  3. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    You might have to break yours in a bit to get it running at its optimum but if it is running much slower than your other engines, it sounds like it's running properly.

    Sit back and enjoy the scenery while running your Shay. Shays were built and geared to pull heavy loads and up steep grades, often over rough track like that found on logging roads. 12 to 15 MPH is a pretty good clip at full throttle. It never was designed for fast freight service.

  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Cookie,Shays was not main line high speed locomotives..At 5MPH they sounded like they was doing 60..A shay was use in logging and mining operations to overcome steep grades--steep meaning 7-10% and use gears on the wheels to power the locomotive instead of the more common drivers and side rods found on main line steam locomotives..So a shay was a slow moving locomotive.
  5. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Cookie: Your Shay is doing exactly what it is supposed to. Shays and other geared locomotives were designed with extremely low gearing ratios to allow them to climb grades that no other steam engine could ever handle, carrying huge loads. As Muddy Creek mentions, a Shay going flat-out shouldn't be capable of much faster than 10-15 miles per hour!
  6. Cookie

    Cookie New Member

    Thank you for the information. It is a Bachmann Shay.....Cass Scenic Railroad. All I need to do now is run it for a while to break it in.

    Thanks again
  7. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    I come across articles that said the Shay worked grades as high as 16%. One of the comments I came across said that a Shay would climb a tree if it could get a toehold.
  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I love mine and, like yours, is in the Cass scheme. I run it on the club layout with a record speed of 57 minutes in one lap. It takes less than 12 for any other engine...the guys reeeeeally hate me for it :p :thumb:

    Welcome to The Gauge :wave:
  9. rcline

    rcline Member

    57 minutes for one lap! Now thats my kind of driving! Laid back and pure bully mean!
    And with my 6% grades, thats what I need to get. I'm tired of pulling 4 and 5 cars, then have to park them and go get another 4 or 5. After I finally get all my cars up to the top, look out and hold on because I can really FLY going back down the hill!
  10. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    When I bring the shays to the club, I usually announce that I'm running the "bullet train" tonight! :D :D :D
    From most of the obversations I've been able to make, the lineshaft rotates at about 240 rpm at max speed of about 12 mph, for a three truck shay (the view of the lineshaft was great...from the cab of Cass #5).

    Sidewinders, you gotta luvem! :D
  11. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Welcome to the-gauge, Cookie!
  12. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    I love the shaygetz. He makes me laugh and Lord knows I need to laugh more. I thought I wanted a Shay but the Spectrum at the LHS was $200 plus when the rest of the Spectrums were average of $100 plus. Why is that?
  13. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Because it's gots lots of small working detail parts. Fred
  14. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    :D :D :D :D They are pretty well detailed, right down to the brake rigging on the undercarriage. You can get an undecorated one at the local GATS show for $100 brand new. I spent more on mine for the Cass Scenic Railway scheme as a memorial for my father. We would often railfan together and never got to go to Cass before he passed away.
  15. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    I found the top speed for my Bachmann two-truck HO climax was about 16 MPH which seems about right per the prototype.

    BTW that's why most logging railroads here in Minnesota used 'rod' engines (particularly 2-6-0's) instead of geared loco's, they usually had to haul the logs 20-30-40 miles to say Lake Superior or the Mississippi River, with geared engines it would take all day to make one trip !!
  16. Cookie

    Cookie New Member


    Thanks for all the posts. It has been interesting reading all of the information. I am sure as time passes that I will have more questons and I get the feeling that they will be answered on this board. Thanks again........from Bagdad, Ky....nope they did not bomb us!!

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