Mark Mihalyi's Shays
Nelson Riedel
Initial: 5/03/03 Last Revised:03/25/2004

Mark Mihalyi  lives southwest of Pittsburgh.  He spotted the NLW website and we exchanged some data on Shay progress.  When I mentioned that a friend and I were going to Cass he suggested that we stop by his shop for a chat and see his shays.

While Mark was showing us around my friend (a guy with several Triumphs) noticed a car with a car cover.  He said that it looked like a TR6 front spoiler sticking below the cover.  We were some distance away with a view under the car.  I said it wasn't a Triumph since there were no puddles underneath.  Turns out that it was a beautiful '76 TR6 that Mark purchased new.   We spend a bit of time discussing the normal TR problems.  I didn't ask but suspect that Mark drained all the fluids before storing it in the fall.  That would explain the lack of puddles.

 Mark is building two Shays at once.  He didn't explain why he was building two, however, I suspect it relates to his Triumph experience.   Many of the folks with Triumphs have two or more.  There reason is, especially here in the north,  top down weather is a short part of the year so one doesn't want to miss the whole year due to a failure, which is likely.  I've found that it's best to have three, one to drive, one to have torn down for restoration and the third to be on jacks awaiting repair parts.   This readily extends to locomotives.  I think a Shay, a Climax and a Heisler would make a really nice stable.

Mark has the trucks and frames done as seen below.  He's beginning to work on the engines.  He has a shop with a large lathe and mill so it's ideal for live steaming.  (I bet he tells the wife he has to work a lot of overtime.)

Mark also has the boilers all cut out.  That's Mark in the blue shirt explaining a fine point.  I'm going to have to ask him how he made such neat saw cuts on the boiler pieces.


Update 3/14/2004: Visited Mark again and took a few more photos.   Next photo shows Mark's bright red end sills. Neat!    The poling pocket are from Railroad Warehouse.        

Frame I Beam:  Several people inquired about the earlier photo of Mark's frames -- it looks like he had found scale I beams.  Mark explained that he made the I beams from two channels as per Kenneth's drawings.  He first tried welding the two channels together but that distorted the pieces.   He then tried brazing the two channels together and that worked well.   He milled the tops and bottoms smooth as shown in the photo on the right.   Wish I'd done that.
Gear Guards: Mark made some neat guards over the gears on the trucks.  This and the next photo show the brass guards.   
Another view of the guard.    Wonder if that will keep a loose shoe lace out of the shaft.  Maybe one should wear engineer's loafers.
Slip Joints: Mark beveled the corners of the female slip joints as shown in the photo.  This is a really nice touch that makes them look smaller.    
Engines: This photo shows the engines on Mark's two shays.  The crankcases are finished and mounted as are the  crosshead guides.    Expect it won't  be long until the those engines are turning on compressed air. 


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