The most widely used
geared locomotive the "Shay locomotive" was invented by a logger Ephraim
Shay who wanted to find a way to facilitate logging operations. Instead of
using horse drawn skids or river floats he developed a flat car powered by
a vertical two cylinder steam engine, running on rails. In 1884 he
consulted with a machinery builder, Lima Machine Works in Ohio which
designed the first 3 cylinder B-type Shay locomotive named in his honor.
The concept gained tremendous popularity and subsequently 2,770 Shay
locomotive were produced by the company known as Lima Locomotive Works.
The operation of Shay
locomotives was not limited to any region. In fact many Lima Shays were
exported for use around the World. In the early 1890's the Alishan Forestry
Railway in Taiwan was constructed by the Japanese Colonial Government to
facilitate logging of the local forestry resources. The Railway acquired
20 Shay locomotives, eight 18 ton-, and twelve 28 ton versions. Today
several of them are preserved in running and static condition. Aster Hobby
Co. Inc. released the first model of a 28 ton Alishan Shay in 1978. The
redesigned 2011 model features improved detail and machining, butane
firing and a axle driven feed water pump. The Alishan Shay is now available
as a kit or factory built.