Saturday, April 13, 2013

J. Neils Shay Rebuild sn-1643

Chapter 3

September 29, 2012 Updates

The hope for the future is to construct a loop of track so rides will be available.

 We had a good days work on Saturday.  The first 4 pictures are of plywood that Jay Matthews put down for our work area. Sheila took pictures and cut two 4x6 for our roll way for the crankshaft.  The next bunch of pictures are of taking the valve linkage bearing assy.

The next 4 pictures are of the steam valve linkage in stages of coming off the crankshaft.

These next 4 are taking the valve linkage on #3 cylinder and the complete bearing assembly laid out.

The first pic is of Don Shea, he is our oldest Museum Member.  He worked at the mill and knew your Grandpa, Dean. (Stanley Reedy)  Has quite a few stories. The rest of pic's are of getting the crankshaft ready to lower down on to the 4x6's.  

These bunch of pictures are of our days handiwork.  All bearing surfaces will be cleaned up and fresh grease put on them.  Now we have it out where we can work on it and not be in each others way.

 I have some pictures of the crankshaft cleanup.  A couple of us are working on it when we have time.  We got approve from the state DEQ on a track route on the port property.  The port gave us the okay to stake the rail route around the hill on there property. We will have the construction contractors walk the route  with us to get a volume of material needed for the route and to make any changes too it. Nov. 1 we will have a guy that has rebuilt a Shay Locomotive  coming over to look and decide how to make the repairs on the boiler and a general look-over of the Engine.

We got electricity ran to the engine house.

Homemade Stove to help the rebuild crew keep warm this winter.

Here is a few pictures of around the enginehouse.  The county brought in some fill material for around the enginehouse.  We will come out 80' the back of the enginehouse.  That way if we get something in on a flatcar, we can use our overhead crane to pick it up.  They also put down some on the access road coming into the railroad office and enginehouse. No work on the engine. Cut up some firewood for the office stove and the stove in the enginehouse. We also started moving material around the back yard area near the railroad office.  Our plan this next spring to put-up a couple shed type building to store lumber in the blacksmith building.  We are working on getting another lumber buggy.  We can use it out in the back yard area to move all kind of stuff; from moving rail and ties to moving fresh cut lumber from our new sawmill, also can use it to move logs to the mill. I Will keep you posted on repair on the shay, waiting on the guy from Midmountain boiler from Spokane to have time to come over and look at the boiler.

More pictures from boiler work that occurred last summer, also a some work to the railroad office.

More news from Dave, the museum is working with Plum Creek Lumber to obtain a old Great Northern Turntable that was originally located in Troy MT, then removed from the Troy location, and moved up the Fisher River and used as a haul bridge (logging trucks) near Wolf Creek Junction. The turntable was about to be cut up by a scrapper but this was stopped. The Heritage museum is attempting to get it transported down to the museum and used on the the future railroad loop the museum hopes to build in the future. 

Update Jan 26, 2013

Bad news, we had two structural welders go out and look over the turntable to see about the welding repairs. They found the cutting torch had cut thru 4-layers of plating on both sides of the main beams at about the 40' mark.  After inspecting the whole thing, they said it would be too expense to weld back to usable condition. The scrapper had offered $10,000.00 to the museum for the turntable. They have decided to accept the offer. So another piece of history is destroyed in the name of money.  We will use the money to repair the Shay to operating condition. Will keep you posted on news. -Dave

While this may make some folks cringe, I agree with the reasoning, the TT has been damaged beyond reasonable repair, so it will be sacrificed to help bring 1643 back to life. 
The museum is looking at some major expenses in the near future, the this will help pay for new fire tubes, rebuilding valves and piping. The front tube sheet needs to be repaired or replaced with new, this will run around $2000.00. Then hydro static testing and approval by the state. Once that complete, the the green flag to continue on with a loco that has good bones.

Picture Update Feb 2, 2013

It's a sunny day, in Libby, in February?
Maybe this is a sign of good times to come for 1643.

Dave found some pictures of them moving the engine house from the mill to the museum grounds. This was in 1978. I was still living up the Hwy next to the Roller Rink at this time. I was 15 years old.

Bob Payne and his 50 ton logging crane moving the enginehouse over to the museum property.

News Update April 13, 2013

Dean-I have some great news. Friday the owner of Mid Mtn Boiler came over from Spokane, Wa. Jay,Ron,Kenny, and myself met with him.  Have a couple pictures of the inspection.The two big repairs are front tubesheet and redo a weld in the firebox.  Putting together a picture of the front tubesheet and where it will be cut for replacing.  We are also replacing all the firetubes with new ,all 127 of them. Sometime in the next week or so will get a report of what needs done and the cost involved.  So we'll have some budgets numbers to work with.  Our next step is also getting with the state inspector to go over the repair plans.These pictures of the speeder car is in the blacksmith shop.  Kenny has a guy coming over this spring to get the speeder up and running.  Got to have transportation for the track crew. Working on track loop survey this weekend. The next couple weeks Ron and Kenny are going over by White Sulphur Springs to look at a passenger car, about 30-40' long.  No trucks under it ,but is the right length to pull behind the Shay. Try and get them to take lots of pictures of it.  Should have some news from Plum Creek in a couple weeks too.  Will send more pictures as soon as there available.  

 The plan is to remove some of the rivets that fasten the tubesheet to the pressure vessel of the boiler.  Will also have to remove some of the rivets that hold the smokebox to the boiler to allow room to take out the worn section, and put in new piece. The picture enclosed is about the piece to be removed. 


  1. Enjoy watching the progression the Shay! Thanks!

  2. Hi Charles
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Hi. Live in Montana for college. Have worked in California several years on steam tourist Railroad. Would like to get involved on this project. Who can I contact? Please send an email to

  4. It's great to see the work you fine people have been putting into the Shay. Thanks so much for your time.

    1. Mr. Neils, Thank you for visiting dean's website. We haven't work lately on the shay. We have a guy from Mid mountain boiler coming over see what needs to be done on the front tube sheet of the boiler and there is a weld in the firebox that needs to be redone. The front tube sheet was 1/2" thick when new. The bottom 10" of it has worned to about 1/4". This will need to be repired or the thin area cut out and replaced with 1/2". The weld in firebox will need to be cut out and rewelded. We are repairing the shay to comply with Federal Railway Regulations. Thank you Have a nice Easter.

  5. I am gonna share you guys and your great with such engineering ideas on my social network. "Old is Gold"