Looking to start in steam, never had steam been lurking for years like the idea of a steam r/c



G Scale trains, Lawn Bowls.
14 Jun 2011
Bundaberg Queensland, Australia
The only live steamer I have is an Accucraft Shay - absolutely no problem with controlling the speed as, being a geared loco, it only has one speed (like the real thing) which is dead slow >:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)
Oooo!!! my idea of heaven is a steam shay (said with my best Monty Python voice.


Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
North West Norfolk
Oooo!!! my idea of heaven is a steam shay (said with my best Monty Python voice.
They are nice - you can only run them one way round, that is with the motion facing the operator ;);););)
tac foley

tac foley

11 Apr 2017
Near Huntingdon, UK
Accucraft at one time made two small Shay locomotives, as two-cylinder T-boilered model with either an open or closed cab, and a near-scale 28-ton three-cylinder version. Both were gas-fired and extraordinarily powereful - but then, geared non-direct drive locos are in full-size. A few years ago a three-cylinder version hauled a 10-y/o boy on a trailer. The model was running on the space between 7.25 and 5 inch gauge dual track....

The layest version of the three-cylinder Shay has minor differences, including a semi-matt finish, but is otherwise generally the same. However, the driving trucks are NOT identical, I'm told. They can be had for around £2000 or so, perhaps a little more. Rare second-hand though.

All of them need, in truth, a larger gas tank - expect around 20 minutes max with the standard size. The three-cylinder version, as you might expect, is a water hog. A water top-up system, a Goodall valve, is vital to the maintenance of a good level of water. The loco was filled up just before this clip was taken, and needed topping up at the end - little and often is the way to keep a Shay in steam. It uses three large-bore Ruby cylinders, going round like the almighty bejabbers, as you can see in my video - it IS flat out, BTW, Shays are NOT racing cars.

Mine, BTW, was the very first ever bought in the UK, from our much-missed friend Steve Warrington. It has been fitted, by Rod Blakeman, with a double-capacity gas tank [I usually get around 35 -40 minutes on a warm day - YMMV] and fine-adjust oil feed. Last year I noticed that the running was getting somewhat lumpish, and Matt Towell of Barley Pit Works did a fine overhaul job, retiming the valves, fitting one of his new improved burners and simple direction-only r/c - all that's really needed. You just open up the throttle to full and use the steam block/Johnson bar to control speed and direction.

There are, of course, other Shays around, made by Aster. The Alishan 28-tonner is old, expensive and alcohol/meth-fired, and fragile. Now that Tamada-san has left Aster, you can expect no help from that direction. The complex cylinder block is a one-piece casting, so figure on having one rebuilt sooner than later - at around £500-750 or so in this country. The newer and vastly better designed 28-tonner is gas, with an axle water-feed pump and water and gas take-offs to an external source. I've seen one at a show for around £2250, and that's considered to be a real bargain. The impressive Western Maryland three-truck Shay is both rare and expensive - expect to pay around £3000 for one of those lovely models. All are sold out, and only available second-hand.
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