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MDC Shay variations

Back in the 80's Dale Darney's V&T Shops issued several kits for converting the MDC Shay into various Sn2 or Sn3 Shays. Although he no longer advertises, rumor has it that he occasionally runs up a small batch, so you might try your luck and contact him at

Dale Darney
V. & T. Shops
170 Redstone Dr.
Reno, NV 89512
tel. 702-322-5092

My first Shay project however is based on the original MDC sloped boiler, a scratchbuilt cab and a bunch of detail castings from Scenery Unlimited. This results in a model pretty close to a 26 - 28 ton Shay.

For an older look, you might want to substitute a straight boiler casting from On Track Model Products.

A more radical conversion would result from cutting down the cylinder casting and crankshaft to two cylinders, and shorten the frame and bolier accordingly. A slightly smaller boiler would look good here, and you have an 18 - 20 ton mill switcher.

I am not sure three-truck Shays came this small, but it does look good in this version too.

The MDC Shay kit is (in)famous for being difficult to get running well. This problem should not be too difficult, however, if you follow the invaluable collection of advise in the MDC Shay Handbook by Oso Publishing.

Climax conversions Shay references

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Updated 98-01-22 by Lennart Elg