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Thursday 19 April 2018

A Model of the "Shay"

The "Shay"s are the American locomotives I like most and also one of my all-time favourite steam engines. Soon after learning that one such locomotive was once used on my homeland's narrow gauge lines, I dreamt about building a small logging layout. With '2mm to a foot' being my scale of choice, I started looking for a kit to build. It wasn't difficult to find and settle for the "Showcase Miniatures" offering. Compared to the bras or N/S kits this is an expensive one and having it delivered to the UK left a rather large hole in my wallet.

The kit comprises of parts cast in pewter (some sort of white-metal) and some details etched in brass. The recommended method of putting it together is by using cyanoacrylate (CA) glue. I tried in the past to use "Super Glue" to build brass or white-metal kit but I always failed: immediately or very soon after joining two parts together they came off. I am very comfortable soldering so I started experimenting with low-melt solder (70°C) and some scrap metal (the sprue holding the parts of the kit together). Setting the temperature controlled soldering iron at 140°C gave the best results so I started to build the kit according to the instructions supplied.

I started with the frames and the drive shaft for the rear truck assembly which will replace the retaining plate of the Searails PowerMAX! motorized truck:

Rear Truck Overlay

This was followed by the two-cylinder engine (the etched brass crank shafts are located at the bottom):

cylinders.jpeg

The cab:

cab.jpeg

And the boiler:

boiler.jpeg

Sunday 11 March 2018

A Romanian Shay

“The Shay” is one of the very few American locomotives I like. A while ago I learned that two of these delightful machines designed by Ephraim Shay (17 July 1839 – 19 April 1916) were shipped to Europe. What surprised me was that one of them ended up in Romania.

The Shop Number 2504 was built in 20 March 1912. According to the Lima class listings in 1911, this engine was a Class A (Able), 18 ton, two trucks, and two cylinders. More technical details can be found on the excellent web site ShayLocomotives.com.

Owners: Commissioned to ship the locomotive to Europe: The Cunard S. S. Co., New York City, NY Karl Petrachek, Vienna, Austria; For:

  • 1912: Lokomotivfabrik Krauss & Co. (D), Linz, Austria, sent for demonstration purposes
  • November 1912: Put in storage, unsold, Linz, Austria
  • August 1917: Torda Cement, Torda, Transylvania, Hungary (Austro-Hungarian Empire)
  • October 1917: Stored unused
  • 1 December 1918: Turda Cement, Turda, Transylvania, Romania company, town and country name chan...; still stored unused
  • Bosna Forestry RY, Begov Han, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Yugoslavia

It was tried out initially on the Salzkammergut Lokalbahn but did not meet with approval. Subsequently it was offered to the Cisna-Kalnica railway (now in Poland) and also the Steyrtalbahn without success (source).

Unfortunately no other information is known about this locomotive. It was scrapped before 1940.

Thursday 1 March 2018

The Beginning

Ever since I can remember I have been interested in railways, especially in narrow gauge lines. This interest developed into a lifelong hobby: Railway Modelling. I got my first train-set when I was about six years old. Back then Romania was a communist country and the choice of the railway models was extremely limited, with just a few products from East Germany. Unfortunately I don't have this set anymore but I remember it: a steam, German locomotive (BR 81), two green passenger cars and a circle of rails. All in the TT scale, 1:120. For a long while, during my school, college, and university years, the interest for the trains faded away but reignited again when I was in my mid-20s.

At first, I acquired an engine, a couple of wagons and coaches, and a few lengths of sectional rail of the same scale I had when I was a child but soon after I sold everything and begun with a small collection of N gauge stock. All of these were models after German prototypes. As I was during a relocation I couldn’t build a layout of my own but I always dreamt about having one.

Over ten years ago, after my wife and I moved to the UK, I continued for a short while collecting a few more N gauge continental models but, like many others I was never happy with the look of the wheels and tracks of the ready to run models. Browsing the web to find inspiration on how to improve these models, I came across the 2MM Scale Association website and after visiting a couple of model railway exhibitions and having the opportunity to see their work in the flesh, I was hooked. I became a member of the Association and started the real railway modelling: scratch and kit building engines and rolling stock, handmade tracks and points, and many attempts at building a layout.

What I am trying to achieve with this blog? Just to keep a record of my work as a railway modeller - I can only hope that other people might find it interesting and share their thoughts.