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Shay train is heading for a final stop in Michigan

The Shay locomotive has been on the campus of SFA for more than 50 years, but will now have a...
The Shay locomotive has been on the campus of SFA for more than 50 years, but will now have a new home in Michigan.(all use)
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2021 at 6:36 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - It is the end of an era spanning nearly fifty years: the Shay locomotive outside of the Stephen F. Austin forestry building is set to make a final journey as it leaves the campus for good. The train will be refurbished and join a collection of Ephraim Shay works at the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society.

Dr. Hans Williams oversees the departure and says the connection between the train and forestry is of great importance.

“It is a significant part of forestry history, not only in East Texas, but throughout the country,” said Williams. “Shay locomotives were used in the woods all over the country to haul logs. They’re very powerful, much more powerful than a standard locomotive. They could climb steep climbs, they could walk back on tracks a lot easier.”

The locomotive’s new home has focused on acquiring and refurbishing Ephraim Shay’s works since the 1990s. The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society has also acquired Shay’s steel hexagon house constructed in 1892, and the all-steel ship built by Shay in 1894. Williams says the train is the one piece they are missing that Shay is most famous for. While there’s no doubt the train is going to a good home, members of the community will be sad to see it go.

“The students and the alumni have an attachment to it,” said Williams. “The local community has an attachment to it because it has always kind of been here. It’s a place to come take a picture, look at a piece of history.”

The train and its cart will be parting ways as well. The Angelina log cart is going to the Southern Forest Heritage Museum, south of Alexandria, Louisiana. There, it will be displayed next to a McGiffert log loader. The moving process for the first of the two pieces will start in the first week of October.

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