Senior Editor, SLc
I am a retired Firefighter/Paramedic from Prince George's County Maryland, who enjoys all things Shay. After my early retirement in 1982 due to 5 back injuries, two nearly fatal, I was able to devote a lot more time to my hobby of model railroading and Shay locomotives.
I have been a railroad enthusiast since 1953 when I got introduced to HO trains. Since then. I have worked in scales from N to 1:8 riding. My modeling interests turned to geared locomotives in HO scale in the 1970's and later G gauge, when that became available. Since my retirement, I have managed two hobby shops in Virginia, worked on building many model railroads for myself and others, and was with a railroad museum for three years in San Antonio TX. I settled down in 2002 in a very rural town in middle TN (no stoplights in entire county), after the upgraded phone service added high-speed Internet access.
My current work with Shay history and research, publishing the website and working on the book, became possible with the availability of good computer database software. For the 2767 Lima built Shays, there are now over 57,000 lines of data that have been input, including every bit of known data, correct and incorrect.
The one thing I did have to learn to create the website, with close to 3000 different pages, was HTML programming. I created the site so any Shay could be found by shop number in three clicks from the front page. Later, a quick search by class, gauge, location or owner name, was coded with over 22,000 links.
Why did I go to all this effort for free? I saw the book "The Shay Locomotive" by Michael Koch, published in 1971, sell for $20 at a White Elephant table in 1982, and the person checking it in actually put it under the table for himself. It took me a few years to find my own copy and cost me $125. Koch's book has sold for as much as $800 that I know of and is still hard to find. As I was starting the first Shay site, which was mainly photos, Thomas Lawson Jr. published his SHAY the Supplement, which corrected or updated over 1000 errors in the 1971 Shay book. The need for a website with complete current information was obvious.
This is actually my second Shay Locomotive site and the first to include ALL of Lima's Shays. I published this new site in April of 2000 and with the help of the original staff of John Benson and George Kadelak. The site has grown ever since.