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Shay locomotive questions

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by gfmucci, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member

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    What Shay HO locomotives (brands) are currently available (preferably 3 truck) with sound and DCC?

    What is the typical price range and where can they be found?

    I've heard of some operating difficulties with some, where the rear tender truck might tend to "push" out of sych with the front trucks. Anything to that? Do they tend to operate pretty well? I know they are really geared down and have a slow maximum speed but also a verrrry slooow minimum speed.
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    None I know of with DCC or sound.

    Bachmann made the most recent non-brass RTR 3 truck Shay. These are still available at some dealers in the $125-$200 range. I believe a drop-in DCC decoder for it was made by Soundtraxx, but these have been supposedly discontinued. I've never owned one so I can't offer any opinion on running qualities.

    Roundhouse made a smaller 3 truck Shay in both kit and RTR, but has been out of production for several years now. They can still be found at some dealers and on eBay for less than $125. I have the kit version - not built yet. The Roundhouse Shays (both RTR and kit) generally need some careful "tuning" and drive modifications to run smoothly for any length of time. NWSL makes a regear kit for the Roundhouse Shay.

    The remaining 3 truck Shays in HO were all brass imports, and are available new and used from brass dealers and eBay. Prices I have seen are all upward of $600.

    Regardless of make, the connection between tender (third truck) and the engine (second truck) needs some careful engineering to track well without tender torque roll or drive binding. Two truck Shays are easier because both trucks are mounted on the same frame. Most Shay models are geared like their prototype - maximum speed of about 15 MPH.

    Hope this helps
  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    I thoroughly enjoy my Bachman though I don't have the sound chip (stuff drives me nuts). Once clocked it around the club layout. It took 57 minutes to traverse 1000'---drove the guys nuts.:thumb:

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  4. NP 1364

    NP 1364 New Member

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    Well, the top speed of a real Pacific Coast Shay is 13mph or to quote a old logging enginer "the top speed of a shay is 13mph over a cliff !"sign1

    But a shay is Its not how fast you go its how nuch you can pull
  5. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    I have two Bachmann Shays. One without sound and one with. The sound equipped one was factory equipped with a Soundtraxx series LC decoder. There is a later Soundtraxx decoder for the Bachmann Shay. Mine must be run only on DCC. It will damage the loco's electronics if it is run on DC. A peculairity of the early LC series decoders. I don't know if there are any current Roundhouse Shays available. The older kits were notorius for being difficult to get into decent operating condition. Whole books were written about the subject. There was a cottage industry for a few years, by several people, who assembled the Roundhouse Shay's for disgruntled buyers. I guess to answer your question, its Bachmann at the present time.
  6. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

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    If you're a craftsman, you could go with the roundhouse shay, If you want it to run, go with the Bachmann spectrum unit. I'm halfway through rebuilding a roundhouse two truck shay right now and it's a bear to work with. Flash on gears, poor electical pickups, and poor gear meshing are just some of the problems that you have to deal with.
  7. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member

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    No, I think I'll pass on the "Roundhouse." You've convinced me. Sounds like the Spectrum is the way to go. In speaking with my LHS, he said the sound is rather meager from the setup he uses for the Bachman. Looking at the Bachman web site it appears they don't have any sound add-on or option. Short of hooking the sound chip to a 1000 watt surround sound system with 18" sub-woofer, what is the best set-up to maximize Shay-resident sound?
  8. nicknero

    nicknero Member

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    I bought a bachmann shay hoping that I would have sound put into but Unfortunatly the Soundtraxx chip is hard to get but my LHS told me that they are currently working on a Tsunami for the shay along with the a Tsunami for diesels. The Tsunami thats out now is bigger than a shay so it will be smaller
  9. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    If you do find one of the Soundtraxx equipped Shay's, I would suggest operating it with the fuel load removed. The speaker is under the fuel bunker, pointing upward. The fuel loads, either oil or coal are removable but completely block the speaker when installed. In fact you will have to cut the lower portion of the fuel load off in order to get it to set down into the bunker correctly. Not great planning on somebody's part.