Union Pacific Shay Locomotives

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This page was last updated on June 4, 2021.

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Union Pacific's three Shay locomotives were operated by its subsidiary Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, and ran on the railroad's Tintic branches in central Utah. The three Shay locomotives were numbered in their later years as LA&SL 59, 60 and 61. The first Shay, which later became LA&SL 60, arrived at its Utah location in 1896. That first one was joined by a second Shay in 1902, and by a third in 1907. Like many of the companies that operated Shay locomotives, UP's Shay locomotives were purchased specifically to operate over trackage that had severe curves and steep grades; in the case of the Tintic branches, the curves were extremely tight, at 30 degrees (193 feet radius; 26 inches in HO scale), and the grades were as steep as 6 percent (6 feet of rise in 100 feet of run).

(Read more about the Tintic mining district, and the railroads that served it)

New East Tintic Railway

New East Tintic Railway was completed in July 1896. The line was sold to Oregon Short Line Railroad in December 1900, and was included in the lines south of Salt Lake City that were sold to San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad in June 1903.

(Read more about the New East Tintic Railway)

The former New East Tintic line between the Mammoth mill and the Mammoth mine was operated as LA&SL's New East Tintic Branch until abandonment in about 1937. The Shay locomotives were used on other portions of Tintic area branches.

The first Shay for the Tintic District was New East Tintic no. 10, a small, 28-ton 2-truck design delivered in June 1896. It worked alone on the railroad, with its engine house being at the upper end of track at the Mammoth mine.

Sold To Oregon Short Line Railroad

OSL bought the New East Tintic line in 1900, and in January 1902, a new much larger 65-ton, 3-truck Shay was delivered as New East Tintic no. 11.

December 2, 1901
"The Short Line motive power department is expecting shortly a sixty-five ton Shay engine for operation down at Mammoth, as this class of locomotive will operate readily on a five and six per cent grade. The peculiar feature of this engine is the perpendicular cylinders placed on the boiler just ahead of the cab, acting on a horizontal shaft. This shaft is connected with small driving wheels by gears set just within the tires. The Shay engine is not particularly adapted to speed, but it can haul 'from way back.'" (Deseret News, December 2, 1901, "Shay Engine for Short Line")

January 30, 1902
"The largest Shay engine ever built reached the Oregon Short Line shops yesterday to be coupled up and made ready for service at Tintic. The engine, which is to handle the ores from the Star Consolidated mine, made the trip from Lima, O., to Salt Lake without a mishap. It will remain several days in the shops, being made ready for service, and then will be sent on to Tintic." "The new engine has a weight of sixty-five tons. Its upright cylinders as 13x13 inches and it has twelve drivers, each having a diameter of thirty-two inches." "The Shay type of engine which is a familiar sight in many mining camps, is built for heavy grades. On the spur reaching the Star mine, there is a maximum grade of 8 per cent, and an ordinary engine would balk at this grade with any sort of load. The Shay, however, with its spiral shaft and low drivers, chugs along up such a grade without great effort. There is already one Shay engine in the service at Tintic, hauling ore from the Mammoth mine, but it is considerably lighter than the new locomotive." (Deseret News, January 30, 1902)

February 6, 1902
"The big new Shay engine of the Oregon Short Line is being kept in operation between Salt Lake and Sandy. It will probably be sent to Tintic in a few days, after it has been put into perfect working order." (Salt Lake Herald, February 6, 1902, "Railroad Notes")

Sold to San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad

The Tintic branches were included in the June 1903 sale of OSL lines to San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake, and in March 1907, SPLA&SL accepted delivery of a new 80-ton, 3-truck Shay. Lima records show this as an "80-Ton Shay, 3-Truck, Special." It entered service as SPLA&SL No. 61. At about the same time, New East Tintic No. 10 became SPLA&SL No. 60, and New East Tintic No. 11 became SPLA&SL No. 59.

No. 59 had an extended wagon top boiler design, but No. 61 had an unusual straight boiler, which may or may not be the reason for its "Special" designation in the builder's records.

All three Shays originally burned coal, but No. 59 and No. 61 were converted to burn oil at some unknown time.

Records of builder Lima show that No. 61 was in fact built for a lumber company with operations in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Shay was apparently delivered to Rapid City on January 15, 1907, but was returned to Lima for unknown reasons. It was then sold to the San Pedro and delivered to Salt Lake City on March 4, 1907.

As already mentioned, New East Tintic had its engine house at the Mammoth mine. With OSL ownership, a second Shay in 1902, and the completion of a new Tintic station on the new Leamington Cutoff in 1903, a new three-stall all-brick engine house was completed at Tintic. The architecture of the new brick engine house at Tintic looks very similar to the roundhouses at Salt Lake City, Lynndyl, and Milford, also completed at about the same time.

In February 1904, New East Tintic number 11 was loaned to the Copper Belt railroad in Bingham Canyon, following a pair of derailments that put both of Copper Belt's Shays out of commission:

At 4 p.m. on February 28, 1904, Copper Belt Shay number 2 was involved in a runaway. The locomotive was moving three "battleships" of ore from the Boston Consolidated mine when, due to wet and slippery rail, the train got away from the crew and derailed. "The new engine placed in commission a few weeks ago is lying on its back down an embankment." "Fortunately, the crew escaped uninjured, the engineer, fireman and all making a dash for their lives on the uphill side." "This is the second wreck of a serious nature on the road within the past few weeks and the engine crippled at the first one is still in the shops undergoing repairs. The road having only two locomotives in its equipment, the line is temporarily put out of business." "The Salt Lake Route has been appealed to for assistance and has consented to loan a Shay locomotive from its Tintic Branch. Assistant Manager Bayly said today that it would reach Bingham sometime during the day and be running over the line tonight." (Deseret News, February 29, 1904, "yesterday")

Union Pacific assigned its own class designations to Shay locomotives 59 and 61 upon full control of LA&SL in 1921.

  LA&SL 59 DS-33 3-13/13 147
  LA&SL 61 DT-36 3-13-½/15 200

During a conversation in June 1977, Frank Acord, UP's Superintendent of Motive Power & Machinery, remembered many parts of his initial service on UP as a mechanic at both Lynndyl and Provo, Utah. According to Mr. Acord, UP's Shay locomotives at Tintic were always maintained at the engine house at Tintic. For more extensive repairs such as boiler work or wheel work, they were sent to the shops at Lynndyl, where there was large brick roundhouse, with several add-on all-concrete stalls. Mr. Acord remembered that during the 1940-1943 period that he worked at Provo, the Shay locomotives came to the Provo Joint Shops (jointly-owned with Utah Railway) several times for wheel and boiler work because UP had closed the shops at Lynndyl.

Tintic area historian Sam Bass recalls old-timers in the Tintic area telling him that UP used "sunflower" stacks on their Shays in the summer for fire protection purposes. During winter and spring they changed to the "shotgun" stacks. While the memories are not in doubt, this may actually be in reference to the change in fuel, from coal to oil, in about 1926.

Later years and Retirement

The former New East Tintic No. 10, later renumbered to SPLA&SL 60, was retired in 1918 because it needed a complete rebuilding, having been in service for 22 years, since 1896. The locomotive's usefulness was questionable because it was such a small, underpowered locomotive, preventing its use on the other Tintic branches. It was sold in November 1918 to the Lincoln Creek Lumber Co. at Galvin, Washington (later at Centralia, Washington), who also owned a Climax geared locomotive and two other Shay locomotives. Lincoln Creek's railroad was abandoned in 1932, but no further disposition for the locomotive is known.

William Kratville, in his 1959 book "Motive Power of the Union Pacific," states that both LA&SL Shay locomotives, No. 59 and No. 61, were rebuilt at Pocatello in the 1920s. Records from Lima Locomotive Works show that No. 61 received a new boiler in October 1926, along with numerous other new parts. In August 1944, Lima records show that No. 61 received numerous new parts for its trucks, along with some work on its engine unit. This recent rebuilding for No. 61 likely explains its sale four years later, rather than being scrapped, as was No. 59.

UP retired the last two remaining Shay locomotives in September 1948 (No. 61) and February 1949 (No. 59). No. 59 was moved to Pocatello in November 1948, where it was retired and scrapped in mid February 1949. No. 61 was sold to Oregon-American Lumber Co., at Vernonia, Oregon, in September 1948. Long-Bell Lumber took over the Oregon-American operations and the old UP No. 61 became Long-Bell No. 107. It was scrapped by Long-Bell Lumber Co., in 1956.

Power Reverse on No. 61

During the late 1930s, following a U. S. Supreme Court ruling in 1935 that required power reverse gear on steam locomotives larger than 130,000 pounds weight-on-drivers, LA&SL Shay no. 61 was modified with its own unique version of the new power reverse equipment.

(Read more about the ICC requirement of power reverse on other Union Pacific steam locomotives.)

There is a drawing of the proposed application of power reverse on UP 59, the other Shay at Tintic, dated May 13, 1941. But a note on the drawing reads, "Not issued account application not required." It is a bit of a mystery because the minimum weight limit set by the ICC was 130,000 pounds; UP 59 had a weight on drivers of 181,800 pounds, and UP 61 had a weight on drivers of 200,100 pounds. It is likely that the application of a power reverse on UP 61 took place at about the same time as the proposed drawing for UP 59 (May 1941).

The application of power reverse on UP 61 was unique because, due to the limited space on the engineer's side of the locomotive (taken up by the three large cylinders), the power reverse was mounted on the fireman's side, which required special linkage from the engineer's operating position across the cab to the power reverse, and more special linkage under the cab floor, back to the cylinders themselves.

Replaced By Diesels

UP records show that Alco RSC-2 diesel locomotives were assigned to several branches in Utah upon their delivery in April 1948. Photographic evidence from Emil Albrecht's photos shows that, at minimum, they came to Utah's Cache Valley branches. Bill Simpson, a UP Bridges & Buildings pipefitter who worked at Tintic in the late 1940s and early 1950s, remembered 25 years after his service there, that the Shays at Tintic were replaced by "six-axle Alcos." Bill also recalled that the Shays never left the Tintic area, except for wheel and boiler work at Lynndyl. What little wheel and boiler work needed after the Lynndyl roundhouse was demolished in May 1948, was completed at Provo. The roundhouse at Tintic Junction was torn down in 1951.

Although the New East Tintic Branch apparently saw little, if any, service after the late 1930s, the sight of a UP Shay fighting its way up the 6 percent switchback on the New East Tintic Branch is an appealing one. The sight of an Alco RSC-2 operating in and around Mammoth is equally appealing. Unfortunately, the limited number of carloads coming down off the Mammoth Branch in the late 1940s and early 1950s doesn't support seeing such a thing.

The use of a six-axle ALCo roadswitcher on the other Tintic branches to both Eureka and Silver City, with grades as high as 3.5 percent, was a definite possibility. When the ALCo locomotives were sent east to be rebuilt in 1954-1955, they were replaced by 100-, 200-, and 300-class GP7s and GP9s, which remained the motive power on the Tintic branches until final abandonment in 1979.

In February 2006, an email exchange with Max Chatwin revealed that his cousin was in engine service between Salt Lake City and Milford. On occasion, the crew would work the Mammoth and Eureka branches. His cousin recalled that on one occasion, they made a trip up the line to the Mammoth mine by way of the switchback on the New East Tintic branch, using the end-cab EMD switcher they were using on that particular day. (After the Alco road switchers lost favor on the western lines in the late 1940s and very early 1950s, UP used EMD end-cab switchers for many of the long-distance locals.) This was some time in the early to mid 1950s. The track was in bad shape, and together with the steep grades, a roadmaster and a trainmaster both accompanied the crew to ensure a safe trip. The purpose was to retrieve either one or two loaded gondolas of mined ore (likely GS gondolas). This was said to be the next to last trip on the New East Tintic branch. A short time later, the last trip was made to retrieve an empty gondola that had been spotted at the Mammoth mine by mistake, instead of being spotted at the truck dump at Mammoth station.

As a side note about the locals that worked through Tintic Junction, Bill Simpson, the pipefitter who worked at Tintic, recalled that four LA&SL local trains were based out of Lynndyl. These included the Tintic Local and the St. John Local, covering the north operations, and the Delta Local that covered the south trackage. The Provo Mixed operated between Lynndyl and Provo on a daily basis, operating between Lynndyl and Provo by way of the Provo Subdivision, bypassing Tintic. Bill also recalled that LA&SL no. 6010, a 2-8-0, was the regularly assigned Lynndyl switcher.

After the 1958 abandonment of the Mammoth Branch, freight service was provided as needed by the daily Tintic Local out of Salt Lake City, until the last vestige, the Silver City Branch, was abandoned in 1979, then the local was renamed the St. John Local, a reflection of its destination at Tooele Army Depot, 42 miles north of Tintic.

Miscellaneous Notes

Railroad magazine ran a brief news item about the wreck of Virginia & Truckee engine 11 at Iron Springs, Utah, in the filming of Union Pacific in 1938. One of the Union Pacific engineers who helped to make that picture was Joe Hanlon of Salt Lake City, Utah. Lucius Beebe was reported as having been there as a technical director and rode several times on those engines. Joe, who began firing UP diamond-stacks in 1915, retired in 1967. Joe also fired the Union Pacific Shay locomotives at Tintic. (part from Railroad magazine, April 1969, page 6)

Locomotive Rosters

New East Tintic Railway

New East Tintic Shay -- 2 locomotives

Builder Builder
1900 OSL
1903 SPLA&SL
NET Ry 10 Two-truck, 28-Ton, Shay Lima 511 Jun 1895 NET Ry 10 SPLA&SL 60 1
NET Ry 11 Three-truck, 65-Ton, Shay Lima 674 Jan 1902 NET Ry 11 SPLA&SL 59 2


  1. Built as New East Tintic Railway 10; NET Ry sold to OSL in 1900 (locomotive not renumbered to OSL); to SPLA&SL 60 in June 1903; to LA&SL 60 in August 1916; to Lincoln Creek Lumber Company, Galvin, Washington, in November 1918.
  2. Built as New East Tintic Railway 11; ordered in late July 1901 (Salt Lake Tribune, August 2, 1901) under the New East Tintic name, although owned by the Oregon Short Line; received in late January 1902 and setup by OSL in Salt Lake City shops; to SPLA&SL 59 in June 1903; to LA&SL 59 in August 1916; scrapped by UP at Pocatello, Idaho, in February 1949.

San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad

SPLA&SL Shay -- 3 locomotives

Date To
Builder Builder
1916 LA&SL
SPLA&SL 59 NET Ry 11 Jun 1903 Three-truck, 65-Ton, Shay Lima 674 Jan 1902 LA&SL 59 1
SPLA&SL 60 NET Ry 10 Jun 1903 Two-truck, 28-Ton, Shay Lima 511 Jun 1896 LA&SL 60 2
SPLA&SL 61   (new) Three-truck, 80-Ton, Shay Lima 1812 Mar 1907 LA&SL 61 3

Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad

LA&SL Shay -- 3 locomotives

Date To
Builder Builder
LA&SL 59 NET Ry 11 SPLA&SL 59 Jun 1903 Three-truck, 65-Ton, Shay Lima 674 Jan 1902 18 Feb 1949 1
LA&SL 60 NET Ry 10 SPLA&SL 60 Jun 1903 Two-truck, 28-Ton, Shay Lima 511 Jun 1895 Nov 1918 2
LA&SL 61 SPLA&SL 61   (new) Three-truck, 80-Ton, Shay Lima 1812 Mar 1907 Sep 1948 3

General Notes:

  1. LA&SL 61 received a new boiler in March 1927.


  1. LA&SL 59 was built in January 1902 as New East Tintic Railway 11 (owned by OSL but not numbered to an OSL number); to SPLA&SL 59 in June 1903; to LA&SL 59 in August 1916; scrapped by UP at Pocatello, Idaho, in February 1949. (source at Shay Locomotives.com)
  2. LA&SL 60 was built in June 1896 as New East Tintic Railway 10 (owned by OSL after 1900 but not numbered to an OSL number); to SPLA&SL 60 in June 1903; to LA&SL 60 in August 1916; sold to Lincoln Creek Lumber Company, Galvin, Washington, in November 1918. (source at Shay Locomotives.com)
  3. LA&SL 61 was built in March 1907 as SPLA&SL 61; to LA&SL 61 in August 1916; sold in September 1948 to Oregon-American Lumber Company 107, Vernonia, Oregon; to Long-Bell Lumber Company 107 (same location); sold for scrap in 1955 to Oregon Steel Mills, Portland, Oregon. (source at Shay Locomotives.com)

LA&SL 59 Description


  • Cabside Class: DS-33
  • SPLA&SL Class: 65-3
  • Drive Wheel Diameter: 33 inches
  • Cylinders: (3) 13x13 inches
  • Maximum Tractive Effort: 26,900 pounds
  • Weight on Drivers: 146,800 pounds
  • Weight in Working Order (Engine and Tender): 181,800 pounds
  • Fuel: Coal, converted to oil

LA&SL 60 Description


  • Cabside Class: DS-32
  • SPLA&SL Class: 32-2
  • Drive Wheel Diameter: 28 inches, changed to 32 inches
  • Cylinders: (2) 10x12 inches
  • Maximum Tractive Effort: 74,000 pounds
  • Fuel: Coal

LA&SL 61 Description


  • Cabside Class: DT-36
  • SPLA&SL Class: 80-3
  • Drive Wheel Diameter: 36 inches
  • Cylinders: (3) 13-1/2x15 inches
  • Maximum Tractive Effort: 35,100 pounds
  • Weight in Working Order (Engine and Tender): 200,100 pounds
  • Fuel: Coal (changed to oil)

Lima Drawing Card Data

(Research by George Pitchard)

New East Tintic No. 10

Locomotive No. 511 Order No. 486  
Built for: A. J. Cunningham (sic), Mammouth (sic), Utah
Road No.: 511 Name: Alie
Shipped to: (blank) Date Shipped: June 6, 1896
Gauge of track: 56-1/2"  
Style of locomotive: Shay Patent Cylinders: 3 - 10x12"
Wheels, diameter: 28" Total empty weight: 54,350 lbs.
Working pressure: (blank) Fuel: Coal Tank capacity: 1,038 gallons water

New East Tintic No.11

Locomotive No. 674 Order No. 337 Plan No. cd3673
Built for: Oregon Short Line Railroad
Road No.: 11 Name: Oregon Short Line
Shipped to: N.E.T. Ry Date Shipped: January 11, 1902
Gauge of track: 56-1/2"  
Style of locomotive: 65-Ton Shay, 3-Truck Cylinders: 3 - 13x13"
Wheels, diameter: 33" Total empty weight: 129,000 lbs.
Working pressure: 180 lbs. Fuel: Coal Tank capacity: 3,030 gallons water

SPLA&SL No. 61

Locomotive No. 1812 Order No. 2239 Plan No. 1812
Built for: (erased, changed to) San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Ry., Los Angeles, California
Road No.: (erased, changed to) 61 Name: (erased, changed to) S.P.,L.A.&S.L.
Shipped to: Salt Lake City, Utah
(Rapid City, South Dakota; crossed out)
Date Shipped: March 4, 1907
(January 15, 1907, crossed out)
Gauge of track: 56-1/2"  
Style of locomotive: 80-Ton Shay, 3-Truck, Special Cylinders: 3 - 13-1/2x15"
Wheels, diameter: 36" Total empty weight: 146,800 lbs.(135,500 lbs., crossed out)
Working pressure: 200 lbs. Fuel: Lignite Coal (as built) Tank capacity: 3,500 gallons water

Note on Lima drawing card index shows "New Boiler, 10/27/26", and numerous new parts with it. Also appears to have had considerable work on the trucks, and some on the engine unit, in August 1944.

Original purchaser information on the drawing card index is unclear; may have been Lacey Lumber Co., Rapid City, South Dakota. The presence of a shipping date (January 15, 1907) and a place, indicates that it was delivered to South Dakota, but obviously quickly returned to Lima. Lacey Lumber Co. did purchase two Shay locomotives in early 1911, of 30-inch gauge, which may indicate the reason for returning construction number 1812.

More Information

New East Tintic Railway -- Information about the predecessor railroad that built the rail spur to the Mammoth Mine.

Railroads and Mining at Tintic -- Information about all of the mining and railroads in the Tintic Mining District.

Information about LA&SL 59 at Shay Locomotives.com

Information about LA&SL 60 at Shay Locomotives.com

Information about LA&SL 61 at Shay Locomotives.com