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Shay Superstructures on Diesel Locomotives

From Keith Pashina, 06 Feb 1997

>From my self-introduction:

> ...but my best power seems to be "fake" shays that are metal
> superstructures that
> fit over N-scale diesels - you can run double headers very 
> easily....

Cal wrote: ...

>Can you tell us what N gauge diesels and what the mfg of the "fake" shay
>that fits the N gauge diesel, thanks


The “fake” shays are basically scratchbuilt superstructures that drop onto the N-gauge diesel mechanism. These came about because I had worn out the gearing of my Joe Works shays at shopping mall shows, where I’d typically run each locomotive for 4 – 6 hours a day on a club display layout. I was looking for an inexpensive locomotive that was designed to run and run. The diesel mechanisms run so well that they now form the bulk of my motive
power. In the context of my layout, when the shay is running through the rockwork, trees and such, it just seems to look right, and the lack of moving gearing and drive shafts doesn’t bother me.

I have used Life-Like SD18 and FA-2 mechanisms, because once you pull off the body shell and weights, the motor and gear towers don’t take up much
space. I have modified a Rapido S-2 mechanism, but that’s the hard way to do it, because you have to cut away so much of the one-piece metal body
shell and frame.

The shay superstructures are scratchbuilt of from masters I made and cast, using the centrifugal casting methods published by Bob Brown and Bill Coffey in the Gazette several years ago. I use a low-temperature metal alloy, and cast in RTV rubber molds. The finished locomotive is really quite heavy, and I can pull 5 and 6 car trains (most of my cars are also cast in metal) up 6% grades. I file off the sideframes and glue on shay truck sideframes; the wide body and its overhang help conceal the lack of any functioning gearing.

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