The Spring Creek Railroad
G Scale Model Railway
Conductor Jerry Barnes
Engineer Jerry Barnes

Jerry's New One Cylinder Shay's


Shays were geared locomotives, mainly used in logging and mining. They could climb steep slopes and negotiate 
tight curves. They were usually narrow gauge, with 30" between the rails.   You can read about they here: . You will also find the other two types of geared locomotives there, the Climax and Heisler.

Jerry had made a Shay before, in live steam (seen on this page after the one cylinder Shay). 
He had since acquired a Bachaman Shay shell that he rebuilt, it needed a tender/roof/smokestack/new 
power trucks. It is battery powered.

It was a 3 cylinder shay, but he liked the looks of the two cylinder shays better.

Early ones had the T boiler shape also. There were some articles in modeling magazines about cutting the motor down to two cylinders, so he looked them up. He acquired a 3 cylinder shay motor and cut it down to two cylinders.


He was just planning on a two cylinder shay, but the one cylinder he took off struck a train(no pun intended!) of thought of making a one cylinder shay also. He scanned in some shay plans and shortened it up on his computer.


Shays had two power trucks and Jerry had tried, in the past, 
to get some castings made of his trucks in brass. That never worked out, but he had some that were cast in pot metal. He took some of these and chopped them up to make a separated, one journal trucks.

At first he was thinking of making it in live steam, like his other
shay, so, he used a frame of 1/4" brass and some zinc sheets for the floor and running boards. He has since decided to use an electric motor from a VCR, it has a belt drive and the pulleys that he took out of an old one.

He tried out the pvc T boiler shape here, with the one cylinder.


Jerry made the headlight out of a 1/2" copper cap, and added the shade in thin brass, some of the leftover white metal truck pieces was used for the headlight base. An LED will be put in later.

Jerry got the gear/motor alignment figured out so everything will mesh
and line up fine. The electric motor will be in the boiler, a small belt 
will run out to a small pully on the driveshaft.

The trucks got their final assembly with Loctite. 
They turn fine, are a bit loose for adjusting to the track.

Jerry decided to plank the deck, also trial fitting the boiler.

The motor from a VCR fits up inside the boiler. Tight fit! 
You can see the pullys for the V belt. A plastic piece will cover
the bottom of the T, just the small pully will stick out.


The one cylinder gets a bearing. The white plastic holds it and strengthens the mount and matches the other side. It will be sanded to size and painted. 

Here you can see the collars attached to the crankshaft.

In this detail shot you can see the collars attached to the brass 
channel with J&B Weld-an epoxy. The collars have set screws 
to attach the brass drive shaft to the crankshaft on the motor. 


The plastic crank remnant on the one cylinder just would not hold up to the attachments for the drive shaft and it was wobbly. So Jerry turned some new parts on his old Unimat lathe and cut some brass for the other parts of the crank and glued them together with super glue. The black plastic piece is off the old crank, it governs the motion of the valve mechanism and it was easier to turn the shaft down, drill out the plastic and mount it to the crank. The holes at the end of the crank will get brass tubing to attach the u-joints to(see illustration). 

He is making some u-joints as he did for his live steam shay, this is
the illustration he did for his article about it in Steam in the 
Garden magazine. It utilizes brass tubing and some sewing pins
that he grinds flat on one side and slides together
for an tight interference fit. 
They have held on his live steam shay for 12 years now. 
Easy way to do u-joints. 

Jerry used thin plywood as the base for the cab pieces. 
He layered over trim boards made of wood stir sticks.
Then the roof curve was sanded on two pieces of wood and  he
curved the thin plywood roof over them. Super glue gel was used
for all assembly.

At this angle you can see the boiler front that was made from
the seal to a milk carton. The stack is obviously brass and copper 
plumbing pieces. Thick solder was used for the curved piece at the base
of the stack. Ozark Miniatures castings are on the front bumper. 
More will be used on the boiler. 

On this closeup you can see the drive shafts and u-joints. 
The one cylinder motor is attached, you can also see the belt and 
pullys that will provide the motive power. He hopes!

Jerry made more progress on his one cylinder shay.
Here it is getting some copper foil that he embossed with
a pounce wheel and a sharp tool to get some rivet detail. 
He has used this on several train models and finds it useful.
It is 'Safer Snail & Slug Copper Barrier Tape' 
Sold in garden catalogs, online and on ebay.

Here you can see the boiler front that Jerry glued a piece of
plastic seal on for the smokebox front-it came from a soy 
milkcarton. The light is made from a 1/2" copper end cap. 
He used an LED out of a cheap key chain light, a battery 
box is in the boiler. The lens is from a R/C car headlight.
All the boiler and stack parts are plumbing parts in copper or plastic.

In this detail shot of the stack you can see the rivet patterns, 
Jerry used a piece of plumbing solder for the collar around the stack.

OneCYlShTrks--Jerry had to discard his homemade Shay trucks, 
the pot metal just would not hold up to the stresses. 
He obtained a stock Bachman Shay Truck and cut it in half. 
He hoped to use the Bachman motor, but it was too large,
so he stayed with the VCR belt drive as described before.
He may put on Delrin Chain and Gears. The wheel sets are rigidily mounted,
with the short wheelbase there is no reason for them to pivot.

Jerry got everything all hooked up and the castings/parts glued on.
Sprayed it with flat black and while that was wet fogged on some 
spray for the rust color. The wood is yet untreated. 


Here you can see the wood was treated with india ink/alcohol washes, then dusted with chalks made for weathering rains/models. This was it's first trial run and it did okay, but the drive belt seemed to be slipping.
It did do better with a battery car hooked to it, getting more power, but Jerry wants it to run with just onboard batteries. He ordered some plastic chain and sprockets to hook to the motor, always something to do when you are making it yourself! Retirees......:-) 


More of a front view. The light was made by Jerry and has a LED from a cheap keychain light. He used a flat battery and holder he cut off from an old camera. It is stored in one of the boxes that holds the front wheels.


Jerry added some rails above the tender so it could hold more wood. A fake wood pile will be installed to cover up the batteries below (4 AA's). 


 The DPDT switch can be seen by the rear beam, behind the wheels. It is a switch you can wire so it runs in reverse or forward, 
center position is off. Jerry will put tools in the gray tool box soon. The air pump in front of the tool box was also made by 
him, since he did not have a casting onhand. 


Jerry added some final details to the one cylinder shay. Ozark castings of tools, so jacks, lantern, oil cans and shovels. Also some chain on the front deck.


He also put some split wood in the tender. Note the safety gauge and the lantern hanging on the side of the cab.


The 'other' side with the tool box and air pump that I made. He also 'glassed' in all the windows with some thin plastic. Note the tool artfully scattered around and in the tool box.

And a comparison of the size of the 3 cylinder and 1 cylinder shays.

A short Vidoe Clip of the running of the One Cylinder Shay


Jerry's Live Steam Shay

In 1996 Jerry was looking for a new engine project. He wanted a shay but back in those dark ages of this hobby
no one made an electric one. Then he started looking at live steam. Jerry got all the back issues of Steam in the 
Garden from editor/owner Ron Brown. WIth his help and some drawings that were in Outdoor Railroader he 
came up with a rough plan for the shay. Jerry  wrote up articles for it in Steam in the Garden in issues
35,  37 & #50(got the cover shot also!)  back issues are available.

 Engine Specifications.
* Builder:  Jerry Barnes
* Date built:  1996-98
* Gauge:  One
* Scale:    1:20
* Boiler type:  Roundhouse gas fired.
* Boiler fittings   Roundhouse and Mike Chaney
* Fuel:  Gas  Roundhouse tank, with a water reservoir  built around it.
* Blow-off pressure  30 lbs
* Cylinder type:   Two cylinder oscillator made for me by Mike Chaney.
* Reversing gear (valve gear):  Lever on top of the motor.
* Lubricator type:  Roundhouse
* Weight
* Dimensions:  18" long

It is a very easy engine to fire and run. The Roundhouse boiler and fittings have been great. It lights right up, usually flashing back to the burner with no problems.  It is up to pressure in about 10 minutes(I usually start with distilled water zapped in the microwave).  It will start off on as little as 10 lbs of pressure and that is about what I run it at. Jerry really like the Oscillator motor that Mike Chaney made for him. It runs like a sewing machine and is fun to watch it's action.   He usually get about 30 minutes 
or so from a run.
Jerry made the figure from clay, then molded/cast some in plastic.
Jerry made the trucks from brass, used Chicago Gears and Sierra Valley Wheels. The u-joints are brass tubing, small brass tubing is mounted crosswise on each end and held in with sewing pins that he beveled some for a tight interference fit. They stayed on all these years!
Brass frame was used for weight, with some wood on it and a wood cab he made. Trackside Detail parts on the boiler, some Ozark castings elsewhere. Jerry tried to keep detail down, since it seems to get knocked  off all the time.  Smokebox is a Roundhouse SR & RL  24  part that  he got when I bought the Roundhouse boiler and fittings from a dealer in Maine, 
no longer in business. He used a funnel for the stack, as you can see!

Jerry's New Shay's


Shays were geared locomotives, mainly used in logging and mining. They could climb steep slopes and negotiate tight curves. They were usually narrow gauge, with 30" between the rails.   You can read about they here: . You will also find the other two types of geared locomotives there, the Climax and Heisler.

Jerry had made a Shay before, in live steam(seen on this page). He had since acquired a Bachaman Shay shell that he rebuilt, it needed a tender/roof/smokestack/new power trucks. It is battery powered.

Two Cylinder Shay Build

Here is the two cylinder shay taking shape. 
Many plumbing fixtures were used for the boiler parts. 
A 3 cylinder shay is behind.
A close up of the cut down 3 cylinder into two.
You can see part of the T boiler behind, made from a 
piece of copper plumbing.
The roof was made from wood pieces cut to shape.
The boiler was wrapped with metal duct tape that had rivet patterns impressed in with a pounce wheel.
Piping is some Ozark castings and brass rod.
The water tender was made with plastic sheet, the top is an Ozark Casting. The grey 'wood' sides are from a Bachman 
Rail Truck. Jerry made the sand boxes on the back.
You can see the electric plug out the back that connects to a battery car.  The tool box is made of wood.
The roof is a thin metal sheet with rivets embossed in. 
Jerry realized that it looked too rusty and sprayed a little
more black on it. The wood floor is scuffed some.
Finished shay out for it's first run. You can see that the rust was changed from the previous pictures and lightened some with Bragdon weathering chalks.
YouTube Video of the 2 Cylinder Shay

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