Granby railroad museum adds Shay No. 8 to collection

A winch slowly hauls the West Side Lumber Shay No. 8 Locomotive backwards onto its display tracks on Friday at the Moffat Road Railroad Museum in Granby. The Shay will be the centerpiece of a new logging exhibit at the railroad museum.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

Placing the West Side Lumber Shay No. 8 locomotive at the Moffat Road Railroad Museum was like solving a 154,400-pound puzzle.

The 1922 three-truck Shay was relocated from the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Canon City to Granby on Friday.

According to Moffat Road Railroad Museum Director Dave Naples, it took two years to negotiate the price for the rare logging locomotive, and he’d rather not share just how much it cost.

“Let’s put it this way, it’s not really a bad price for it,” Naples said. “It’s just that it’s the only one.”

The locomotive is in relatively good shape with the museum planning some cosmetic work. The Shay has a cracked foot cylinder, but it still runs. Naples is hopeful that the museum will eventually be able to steam it up, allowing the side pistons to move up and down and the locomotive to blow smoke and whistle.

“That’s really quite the find and we’re really happy to get it,” he said.

Steve Disher Enterprises hauled the enormous locomotive to Granby on a specialized trailer with tracks. The semi truck driver expertly navigated the tight space behind the growing railroad museum next to Kaibab Park, pulling the Shay directly in front of the display tracks.

The semi disconnected after mechanically lowering its trailer close to the ground. With the semi out of the way, men set to work building a makeshift path from the trailer to the display tracks.

Moffat Road Railroad Museum Director Dave Naples watches as an 80-ton winch hauls the locomotive from the trailer, across the temporary tracks seen here and up to the display tracks that now house the Shay No. 8 locomotive.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

First, Naples had to build a dirt slope to ease the transition. Then old railroad ties were stacked along the roughly 20-foot space to house temporary tracks. The company used an 80-ton winch to haul the Shay from the trailer, across the temporary tracks and up on to its new home.

The Shay No. 8 will be the centerpiece of a planned logging exhibit at the railroad museum, tying in with the history of the Moffat Railroad. Naples said that from Winter Park to Kremmling, the railroad had nine lumberyards and used a similar type of locomotive to do the logging work.

“They made all the timbers for all the bridges, all the tunnels, all the ties, all the buildings — everything,” Naples said. “Those people made all that lumber and the Moffat Railroad employed a lot of those people and kept those operations going. The lumbering operation is important — very important. So we thought an engine that is nothing but a Shay and nothing but a logging locomotive would be very apropos.”

The black Shay No. 8 makes a fine addition to the growing railroad museum, situated in between the 1906 caboose, part of the original Moffat Road Railroad that Naples obtained earlier this year, and another caboose that will be outfitted as his staff’s breakroom.

Steve Disher Enterprises positions the West Side Lumber Shay No. 8 locomotive in front of its display tracks on Friday at the Moffat Road Railroad Museum in Granby.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

The railroad museum has a number of ongoing projects with plans to complete phase two of its expansion by fall 2023. The upgrades include a number of expansions, like adding a children’s ride, a new addition to house a larger model train exhibit and more.

Naples said they’ve almost completed the building addition next to the original museum. The kids’ ride is ready to be installed once the train finally gets there — supply chain issues have delayed the delivery. Naples also plans to build a scale model of a western town outside.

The museum is refurbishing a coach and should soon be installing a building to house it. The 1906 caboose just had some metal work done, and the museum is working on getting the crane’s steam engine running.

Naples is also looking at purchasing another locomotive.

“We’re like a museum on steroids,” he said. “We’re just going.”

The railroad museum has closed for the summer, but will be reopening the day after Thanksgiving for the holiday season.

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