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The newest addition to the “Watuppa Railway’s” live steam roster
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Accucraft Mich-Cal Shay #2


Acquired her at a VERY attractive price through an eBay “Buy-it-now”
sale; the price INCLUDED insured FedEx shipping, & I had an eBay sea-
sonal coupon which gave me an ADDITIONAL $100 off the price!



We were scheduled to leave on a week-long Florida vacation (DisneyWorld)
the weekend after I bought it; the scheduled delivery date was the day we
were to fly out. Tracking the FedEx shipment online, I was a bit concerned
about it because my elderly parents (who wind up signing for or receiving
virtually everything I purchase on line – UPS & the Post Office usually deliver
either when I’m down at the gym or at work) don’t always hear the doorbell.
(& this package REQUIRED a signature for receipt – which I much preferred
to having UPS just leave it on the porch!). Amazingly, JUST as I was locking
the door to leave on our trip, the FedEx truck pulled up out front, & the driver
emerged with a large box on his shoulder! Since I had a cousin of mine wait-
ing to drive us to the airport (he had just started his car when the driver ap-
peared!), I barely had time to sign for the package & hustle it inside the house,
not even enough time to properly inspect it; the box looked clean & as though
it hadn’t been used for “football practice”, so I was reasonably confident that
the Shay had survived shipping OK (it did!).


What made this engine an especially attractive buy was that although it was
“theoretically used”, the original owner NEVER fired it up! (It was shelf-dis-
played ONLY – the only “wear-&-tear” was a little dust!). Mechanically, this
was a BRAND-NEW loco!
Returning late on Sunday night & tired from the
trip (Disney vacations need to be followed by an ADDITIONAL vacation to re-
cover from!
), I unpacked & inspected it quickly, gave it a quick test on
compressed air, & verified all was OK.

I had some dental surgery
previously scheduled for the Monday after we re-
turned, & due to the sedatives involved, had already scheduled that day as sick
day from work (it also doubled as my “Disney vacation – vacation!”
). After a
few hours rest, found I was alert enough (& the weather mild enough – 55 de-
grees after dark!), that I decided to try her under steam. The seller had includ-
ed a Goodall valve with the engine; trying it on the first steam-up attempt, I
found that the rubber wasn’t sealing sufficiently to be steam-tight, so I remov-
ed the Goodall & re-installed the original brass boiler fill cap. After that, boiler
pressure built properly & she popped off precisely at 60 PSI. A few jogs of the
reverse lever, & she was off & running smoothly.


After a few laps of light running for break-in, I decided to try her with a
bit of a train. An all-Accucraft test train consist of 2 Rio Grande long gondolas,
an empty 8-wheel flat, a Rio Grande 8-wheel shorty caboose, & a short 4-wheel
flat serving as a “coupler transition” car (Kadee on one end, link-&-pin on the
other) was deemed a sufficiently heavy test train for my 3% ruling grade. I rare-
ly run the 4-wheel flat cars, & with most of the train weight behind it, it quickly
derailed due to it’s light weight on the first pass thru the engine yard turnouts;
a convenient rock was quickly pressed into service to get some weight on the little
flat car & give the journal springs a reason to work. The test train presented NO
problems to Mich-Cal #2 on the grades; she handled it easily! (Since the good
cameras were still packed in the luggage & it was after dark, I didn’t take any
pictures or video).

At this point, I have a couple of questions for other Accucraft 2-cylinder
Shay owners; when I first looked at the picture on eBay, I noticed what appear-
ed to be a drain line located along the right side of the tender tank, with the
drain valve at the center of the rear truck on the frame. (I actually e-mailed the
seller before buying the Shay to ask if this was original, he assured me it was).
Once I examined it closely, I found it tapped in relatively high on the T-boiler
backhead; since the lubricator in the cab has the same bottom drain as the one
in my 3-cylinder Shay, I’m assuming it’s function is to serve as a boiler trycock,
to check water level since there’s no sight glass? (I may eventually see about
adding one).

The second question (& so far only disappointment
with this engine) is
that UNLIKE my 3-cylinder Shay, the drivers are NOT
electrically insulated
(meaning that like my Ruby #11 2-4-2, this engine will not “play nice”
with
my DCC-powered “sparkies”, mostly Bachmann logging locos). I’m wondering
if this is an earlier production version of the 2-cylinder Shay, or do CURRENT-
production 2-cylinder Shays have insulated drivers? If so, I’m wondering if I
could get an insulated driver set from Accucraft? (Might be worth a call to Cliff).


Tom







 

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Tom, the pipe and valve you mention came with mine, but not bent or installed. I bent it and installed it as per the pictures and use it as a blow down valve. I also removed the oil bunker and modified the tender part as a wood carrier. I didn't know the wheels wern't insulated and since I only have one loop would not have the occation to run it with my sparkies. I am sure you will enjoy yours as much as I do mine, a sweet little runner. Nick Jr
 

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Very nice looking loco. I almost bought one at the Nat conven as they had a really good price. Guess I should have after seeing yours.
Later RJD
 

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Tom,
You made a wise choice. My 2 cylinder shay is one of my best running and most reliable locomotives. It's also a great crowd pleaser. I predict that you will have many hours of pleasure from your new machine.
I originally installed the blow down, but then removed it so I could install a Regner whistle iin its place. You can see the valve in this picture. The whistle itself is on the right rear deck next to the bunker. The brass wire sticking out of the front in the lower right is what I blow it with.



 

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When you steam it up, leave the front door open, I burnt up the #2 on the front of mine (just looks black lol), got too hot. (might happen anyway lol). I know the C-19 they put a spacer in the front so this wouldn't happen.

Hmm, adding a regner whistle sounds like a good idea lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the nice comments, guys!

Carl, a couple of questions regarding the Regner whistle; is the valve thread an exact match for the hole for the blowdown line already in the boiler, or did you need to retap it? How does the tone compare to the Weltyk whistles? (Which I know sound good, but are a bit expensive).



Andrew, thanks for the hint on a baffle for the smokebox door; I may try to fabricate one for it while it still looks "new"
. My 3-cylinder Shay's smokebox has a "well-weathered" look, to put it mildly!


Steam8hack, sorry about the overly-large type
(it was an experiment cut-&-pasting from Microsoft word - the MLS text editor doesn't seem to want to actually let me adjust type size)
. It DID come out quite a bit larger than I expected!





The weather forecast locally for the remainder of the week here in MA is not great
(cold, snow, possible freezing rain
), so I'm not sure when the next chance I'll have to steam her up will be; drove home from work in snow for the first time this season tonight.
(Fortunately, if you read all the horror stories about the ice storms here in MA that was further north & west of where I live - Fall River is located towards the coast, the Cape Cod canal is @ 3/4 hour drive from here). We were down at Disney when the ice storm hit, actually found out about it at (of all things!) a new exhibit in EPCOT sponsored by the Weather Channel! (We first though the presenter was pulling our leg!
- Until I found the story was headline news on CNN's web page from my iPhone!
). That, plus preparations for out-of-town family members coming in for the holidays are probably going to limit my "train time" until maybe Christmas eve or day itself.





I WILL shoot video
of her in operation as soon as I have the time; also planned are Spektrum radio control, LED head & back-up lights (I frequently operate late at night
), & Kadee couplers.


Tom
 

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Tom,
When I bought my Regner whistle from the Train Depot, it came with an adapter that screwed right in the Accucraft hole in the back of the boiler. I assume that this fitting is still included. You can see the adapter in the photograph between the valve body and the boiler backhead. The Regner whistle, which is a single chime non resonator type, is considerably less costly than a Weltyk two chime, resonator type. I also installed a Regner whistle on my Roundhouse Billy, which you can clearly hear several times in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scna3bo8F9g
 

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Posted By Tom Lapointe on 12/17/2008 12:36 AM



Steam8hack, sorry about the overly-large type
(it was an experiment cut-&-pasting from Microsoft word - the MLS text editor doesn't seem to want to actually let me adjust type size)
. It DID come out quite a bit larger than I expected!

Tom


:cool:) just kidding. view tip -- repeat Ctrl - & Ctrl +, zoom font size smaller/larger. same w/wheel mouse hold down Ctrl & roll wheel
 

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If you use "HTML" mode when pasting in text from MS Word, it gets rid of all the character formatting that would otherwise get carried over from the Word document. You also lose line breaks, links, embedded images, etc., but you can switch back to "Normal" mode to add those back in.
 

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Gents,
I still have a bunch of these in stock for immediate sale. I have both the 13 ton (backwoods) version and the Mich-Cal #2.
Priced for Christmas!

Call if interested.

Royce
Quisenberry Station
202-422-2892 evenings
 
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