GC & E No.1
Name: GC & E No.1
Railroad of Record: Greenbrier, Cheat & Elk Railroad Type of Locomotive: Three Cylinder "Shay"
Manufactured by: Lima Locomotive Works
Date Built: 1905
Locomotive Weight: 70 tons
Driver Diameter: 36 inches
Cylinders: 12 x 15 inches (3)
Tractive Effort: 33,000 lbs.
Prior to 1880, lumber companies used mules to haul logs to the saw mills. In 1879, Lima Locomotive Works built the first light version of the standard freight engine design in order to haul logs. This logging locomotive design was perfected by Michigan inventor, Ephramin Shay. His gear-driven locomotive with flexible wheel base had three side-mount cylinders, which powered a long crankshaft fitted with beveled gears. The wheelbase allowed the locomotive to handle the curves and the grades of logging country, but limited the speed of the locomotive. The "Shay" locomotive was an immediate success and nicknamed the "Iron Mule." Around 2,700 "Shay" locomotives were built in a 65 year period.
The Greenbier Cheat & Elk No.1 (GC&E) was originally built in 1905 for G.W. Huntly Lumber Company of West Virginia. The No.1 was used to transport logs over some of the roughest terrain in the country. With three gear cylinders and three driven trucks, it was typical of the heavier "Shay" models.
The GC&E No.1 eventually ended its career hauling tourists over the mountain ranges of West Virginia. In 1980, the GC&E No.1 was acquired by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in exchange for a Western Maryland Shay No.6 built in 1945.
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