Copper Country Shays?

The Discussion Board: Upper Peninsula Railroads: Copper Country Shays?
By David Krause on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 2:05 pm:

Were there any Shays used on copper mining RRs?

By admin Kevin Musser on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 9:24 am:

David, Although not a Shay, there was at least one geared locomotive, that I am aware of, that was used in the Keweenaw for moving copper rock. The Lac LaBelle & Calumet Railroad (1883-88) operated a 3' gauge climax between mines in Phoenix and Delaware to the stamp mine in Lac LaBelle.

By Dennis H. Leopold ( on Saturday, July 20, 2002 - 7:32 am:

I may be wrong, but if I recall the Houghton, Chassell & Southwestern (a logging railroad out of Chassell) used one. I'll have to dig a bit but I think I have a photo of it. I think there was one used by the Straton Lumber Co--or was that _in_ Straton?--somewhere on the South Range (in fact I know I have a picture of that one, but again I need to find it--I'm just returning to the Railraod hobby after a layover in Grad. School and have to dig all my old stuff out of storage).

By Dennis H. Leopold ( on Sunday, July 21, 2002 - 12:45 pm:

I may not be remembering this correctly at all, but I think the Lake Linden Lumber Co. also used a shay, perhaps someone in the know can correct me because I'd really like to know. I know, so far everything I've listed is a logging line, not exactly what you were looking for, but maybe the copper companies just didn't use shay locomotives.

By Mark Keaton ( on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 9:53 pm:

This URL will take you to photo from the Baraga County Historical Society of a Shay "owned by Charles Hebard and used in his logging operations and sawmill in Pequaming." Okay, Pequaming is technically not in the copper country, but it's close by. And am I missing something, or does this Shay have only TWO cyclinders? Shays would more likely be used on logging roads than mining lines, since logging tracks were not expected to be permanent, and therefore were built with only the most minimal cut-and-fill. By the way, should one capitalize the word "Shay" since it is Ephriam's last name? \topurl{,}

By Paul Meier ( on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 7:52 pm:

In reference to the narrow gauge Climax that roamed Keweenaw County. THE CLIMAX LOCOMOTIVE by Thompson, Dunn, and Hauff has listed the beast. She actually operated on a couple of Copper Range predecessors. She was purchased in Oct. 1894 by Hebard Stone Quarry of Calumet - the operation was actually near Fulton. The loco then went to the Mohawk & Traverse Bay RR. which was the Mohawk Mining Co. operation on the extended Hebard line. In 1902 she went to the Phoenix Mine and Gratiot River RR. the operations were at Phoenix with a Calumet address. Keweenaw Central was the last Michigan owner and probably used the little loco for construction on the 3 ft. lines around Phoenix, Delaware, and Lac la Belle. Some time between 1095 and 1909 she was sold south to the Southern Iron & Equipment Co. of Atlanta. She was sold to a Texas logging line first, boomed around to a Louisiana line, was standard gauged, and finally ended up in a swamp near Romayer, TX where at least parts of her remain today. Copper Range Fans will recognize the Mohawk & Traverse Bay RR as the predecessor to the COPR's Gay Branch. The Mohawk and Wolverine Mining Cos. first hired the Mineral Range to operate the line as narrow gauge, the line was standard gauged along with the rest of the MR. The MR and the H&C in particular were originally part of the Bigelow, Clarke, and Lewisohn holdings (Tamarack, Osceola, etc.) but by 1918 C&H had taken control of those mines and shared ownership of the MR with Canadian Pacific. The Mohawk and Wolverine mines were part of the Paine - Stanton group which included the Copper Range and a fair interest and alliance with the Kewwnaw Central. They much prefered to pay themselves to haul their rock than to pay arch rival C&H. When the MR contract expired, the Copper Range took over and reached the M&TB via rights over the KC.

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