This Shay geared locomotive was one of 2,768
Locomotives built by the Lima Locomotive Works
of Lima Ohio between 1880 and 1945 (only 116 of
these engines still exist and only 20-25% of those
engines are in operable condition). These
locomotives (named after it's inventor Ephraim Shay)
were designed to climb steep grades (up to
12%), sharp curves, and were ideal for logging railroads where
steep grades and temporary tracks were the rule.
This locomotive was originally built as a
"stock" locomotive for Shay dealer Hofius Steel
& Equipment Co. of Seattle WA in 1923. Before
she was delivered she was sold to the
Independence Logging Co. of Aberdeen, WA for
$28,070.00. In 1928 she was sold to the Mt.
Emily Lumber Co. of La Grande, Oregon. She
worked for the next 30 years on Mt. Emily's 40
mile logging railroad which included a 7½ %
grade on the mainline.
In 1955 Mount Emily Lumber Co. started hauling
all it's logs to the mill by truck and scrapped
it's railroad. #1 was donated to the Oregon
Museum of Science and Technology.
Unfortunately OMSI did not have a place to
display the locomotive. The "lockie" was stored
in the Union Pacific round house in La Grande
Oregon for several years. After the round house
was torn down #1 was towed at 10 miles an hour
to Portland, Oregon. In the late 1950's #1 was
transferred to the Oregon Historical Society,
which still owns the "lockie". The OHS
also had no display site for the locomotive. #1
was stored in the rail yards of the Northern
Pacific Terminals Co. near Union Depot in
Portland until 1970, when leased to the State of
West Virginia to operate on their Cass Scenic
Railroad which is a tourist operation built on
an old logging railroad. The last lease to Cass
expired in late 1992.
At that time the Directors of OHS asked Bend
Oregon attorney and rail-fan Martin Hansen to
find a new home for #1 in the Northwest. A ten
year lease with the City of Prineville and the
City of Prineville Railway was negotiated and
The Mt. Emily #1 arrived aboard two flatcars on May 25, 1994 and was unloaded in 2 days. COPR staff and many volunteers spent countless hours preparing the locomotive for operation. In past few years the Shay has operated on the 4th of July and for a few special excursions. In early 2014 the City of Prineville Railway and the Oregon Historical Society struck a deal that will not only keep the Shay in Prineville in future years, but will also help the City of Prineville Railway defray expenses incurred while operating the locomotive. “We had a wonderful train enthusiast here in Portland who is a supporter of the Oregon Historical Society and we approached him with the idea of kind of being the adoptee father of the Shay,” said Terry Tymchuk, executive director of the historical society. “Through a generous donation to us, he is providing money to help keep the Shay in good shape, and up and running.” This agreement and a generous donor will ensure that the Historical Society will have a key asset located and operating in Prineville, and on Independence Day visitors will once again have the opportunity to ride on the Mt. #Emily #1 excursion run.