(I) The Alishan Shay Numbering Issue

By Chih-wen Jason Hung

The road numbers of the Alishan Shay steam locomotives have been a long-standing question for many years. In this section, I would like to summarize the many points of view provided by different authors and give an updated viewpoint along with the current status of these Shays.

According to the records from Lima, the American manufacturer of the Shays, and the Alishan Forestry Railway, there were a total of 20 Shay locomotives built for Alishan. 8 of the 18-ton (type 18-2) Shays were built and 12 of the 28-t (type 28-2). The tables in the following section have the original Lima SN (the Shop Number which was given when Lima received the order and also referred to as the CN, or construction number, in Koch's book) record, date of manufacture, importing company (owner) and the Alishan road number. The table was adapted from Michael Koch's book "The Shay Locomotive" and Rick Henderson's web site Shaylocomotives.com (http://www.shaylocomotives.com) which has the help of George Kadelak's assistance regarding the original Lima record. The errors of the manufacturing dates in Koch's book for SN2474 and SN2632-SN2634 are corrected.

The record of the 18-t Alishan Shay locomotive from Lima

SN number

Built date

Original note of Imported agency and owner from Lima

Note

SN2351

08-10-1910

Ed Van Nierof & Co., For: Mount Arisan Ry No.11, Formosa.

A-Li-Shan Forest RR, No.11, Taiwan

 

SN2352

08-10-1910

Ed Van Nierof & Co., For: Mount Arisan Ry, No.12, Formosa.

A-Li-Shan Forest RR, No.12, Taiwan

 

SN2474

10-31-1911

E. L. Van Nierof & Co., For: Mount Arisan Ry., Formosa; wrecked 5-31-1912

*10-31-1911

**10-13-1911

SN2549

06-22-1912

Samuels, Samuels & Co., For: Mount Arisan Ry., No.13, Formosa

A-Li-Shan Forest RR, No.13, Taiwan

 

SN2550

06-22-1912

Samuels, Samuels & Co., For: Mount Arisan Ry., No.14, Formosa

A-Li-Shan Forest RR, No.14, Taiwan

 

SN2632

01-18-1913

Samuels, Samuels & Co., For: Mount Arisan Railway, No.15, Formosa

A-Li-Shan Forest RR, No.15, Taiwan

*01-18-1913

**11-18-1913

SN2633

01-18-1913

Samuels, Samuels & Co., For: Mount Arisan Railway, No.16, Formosa

A-Li-Shan Forest RR, No.16, Taiwan

*01-18-1913

**11-18-1913

SN2634

01-18-1913

Samuels, Samuels & Co., For: Mount Arisan Railway, No.17, Formosa

A-Li-Shan Forest RR, No.17, Taiwan

*01-18-1913

**11-18-1913

*Assumed to be true date

** From Koch’s book

The record of the 28-t Alishan Shay locomotive from Lima

SN number

Built date

Original note of Imported agency and owner from Lima

Note

SN2557

07-18-1912

Samuels, Samuels & Co.. For: Mount Arisan Ry., No.21, Formosa

A-Li-Shan Forest RR, No.21, Taiwan

 

SN2664

05-30-1913

Rockhill & Victor, For: Samuels, Samuels & Co., For: Mount Arisan Ry, No.22, Formosa

A-Li-Shan Forest RR, No.22, Taiwan

 

SN2714

08-30-1913

Rockhill & Victor, For: Mount Arisan Ry, Formosa

No Alishan Ry number listed

SN2724

09-30-1913

Rockhill & Victor, For: Mount Arisan Ry. No. 23, Formosa;

A-Li-Shan Forest RR No.23, Taiwan

 

SN2787

08-26-1914

Rockhill & Victor, For: Mount Arisan Ry. No. 24, Formosa;

A-Li-Shan Forest RR No.24, Taiwan

 

SN2788

08-26-1914

Rockhill & Victor, For: Mount Arisan Ry.No. 25, Formosa;

A-Li-Shan Forest RR No.25, Taiwan

 

SN2789

08-26-1914

Rockhill & Victor, For: Mount Arisan Ry. No. 26, Formosa; A-Li-Shan Forest RR No.26, Taiwan

 

SN2790

08-26-1914

Rockhill & Victor, For: Mount Arisan Ry. No 27, Formosa;

A-Li-Shan Forest RR No.27, Taiwan

 

SN2791

08-26-1914

Rockhill & Victor, For: Mount Arisan Ry. No 28, Formosa;

A-Li-Shan Forest RR No.28, Taiwan

 

SN2817

07-24-1915

Samuels, Samuels & Co., For: Mount Arisan Ry. No. 29, Formosa;

A-Li-Shan Forest RR No.29, Taiwan

 

SN2946

11-16-1917

Samuels, Samuels & Co., For: Mount Arisan Ry. No. 30, Formosa;

A-Li-Shan Forest RR No.30, Taiwan

 

SN2947

11-16-1917

Samuels, Samuels & Co., For: Mount Arisan Ry. No. 31, Formosa;

A-Li-Shan Forest RR No.31, Taiwan

 

The Alishan Shay road numbers summarized in Michael Koch's book and from Lima's own record have many doubtful points:

(1) The CN2474 locomotive has no Alishan Railway number.

(2) The 18-t Shays have the number only up to #17; however, there is #18 Shay on the Alishan Railway.

(3)The CN2714 locomotive has no Alishan Railway number.

(4)The 28-t Shays have the number only up to #31; however, there is #32 Shay on the Alishan Railway.

In the book "Alishan Forest Railway" (ISBN4-87112-313-8), Oguma and Usui provided another 2 assumptions for the numbers of the Alishan Shays. Oguma's list was basically derived from the Lima records provided by Roy Wills, while Usui's list was developed based on real documents in Taiwan.

From Koch's and Oguma's list, the 18-t Shays have numbers only up to 17. SN2474 on Koch's list has no Alishan road number, while Oguma's list has two #13s (SN2474 and SN2549). The reason Lima always recorded SN2549 as #13 might be due to the wreck of #13 on May 31st 1912. Because of this accident, the original #13 (SN2474) was abandoned and SN2549 became #13 instead. The Lima record from Koch has no Alishan road number of SN2474, while Oguma's list showed the SN2549 as the second #13. Basically, on Lima's record, the accident of #13 was taken into account; therefore, the SN2549 became the #13, and the last 18-t Shay SN2634 became Alishan #17.

This record did not match with the documents left in Taiwan and with many photo records. First, there was a trial report which indicated that the new #18 was testing on July 25th-30th, 1914. This meant that the #18 existed as early as in 1914. Second, there are many photo records of the #18 locomotive and it is preserved in the Feng-chi-hu engine house at the present time. Third, the photo caption in Charles S. Small's book, "Rails to the Setting Sun,¨ indicated that #15 was SN2550. Based on above information, it became clear that the original #13 accident didn't effect the number of SN2549 and the following 18-t Shays.

From the photo records, it is well-known that the #11 Shay disappeared very early. There are 2 possibilities for the re-numbering after the #13 wreck in 1912. One is that SN2351 became #12 and SN2352 became #13. The other possibility is SN2352 remained as #12, while SN2351 changed to #13. Because there are no original SN records left on these Shay locomotives, it is very hard to tell which one is correct. However, from Charles S. Small's record, it is clear that all the SN and the Alishan road numbers are known for locomotives #14 to #18. This is basically Usui's assumption

Possibility 1

11(SN2351)->12(SN2351)

12(SN2352)->13(SN2352)

13(SN2474)->Wrecked

Possibility 2

11(SN2351)-> 13(SN2351)

12(SN2352)-> 12(SN2352)

13(SN2474)->Wrecked

The 28-t Shay in Koch's list is SN2714 but has no Alishan road number, while the same source from Lima provided by Ogumu listed SN2714 as #23 and shifted one number for the following 28-t Shays. Because the #32 is preserved, and was the very last Shay operated until the early 1980s, Koch's list is not accurate. The Ogumu and Usui lists are closer to the real facts.

The assumption of road numbers for the 18-t Alishan Shay locomotives

SN number

Built date

Koch

Oguma

Usui

SN2351

08-10-1910

11

11

11, became 12 or 13

SN2352

08-10-1910

12

12

12, became 12 or 13

SN2474

10-31-1911

---

13-1

13, wrecked

SN2549

06-22-1912

13

13-2

14

SN2550

06-22-1912

14

14

15

SN2632

01-18-1913

15

15

16

SN2633

01-18-1913

16

16

17

SN2634

01-18-1913

17

17

18

Koch = Koch, Michael

Oguma = Oguma, Yoneo

Usui = Usui, Shigenobu

The assumption of road numbers for the 28-t Alishan Shay locomotives

SN number

Built date

Koch

Oguma

Usui

SN2557

07-18-1912

21

21

21

SN2664

05-30-1913

22

22

22

SN2714

08-30-1913

---

23

23

SN2724

09-30-1913

23

24

24

SN2787

08-26-1914

24

25

25

SN2788

08-26-1914

25

26

26

SN2789

08-26-1914

26

27

27

SN2790

08-26-1914

27

28

28

SN2791

08-26-1914

28

29

29

SN2817

07-24-1915

29

30

30

SN2946

11-16-1917

30

31

31

SN2947

11-16-1917

31

32

32

Koch = Koch, Michael

Oguma = Oguma, Yoneo

Usui = Usui, Shigenobu

(II) The current status of the Alishan Shay locomotives

According to photo records, #11 has not been since before the WWII, and #27 and #30 were not in service in 1966. There are only 17 Alishan Shays remaining now. #14 went to Australia's Puffing Billy museum. All the others are still in Taiwan. #26 has been returned to operating condition.

The current status of the 18-t Alishan Shay locomotives

Number

Displaying location

Note

11

--------

 

12

Alishan new station

**

13

Central Film Co.’s cultural city, Taipei

 

14

Puffing Billy, Australia

 

15

Pei-men yard, Cha-yi

Not in good condition.

16

Tzi-nan Forestry Park

 

17

Rail Hotel on Alishan

 

18

Fen-chi-hu engine house

*

 

The current status of the 28-t Alishan Shay locomotives

Number

Displaying location

Note

21

Chung-shan Park, Chia-yi

 

22

Cheng-kung-ling Army Basement, Tai-chung

 

23

Alishan new station

**

24

Rail Hotel in Alishan

 

25

Pei-men yard, Chia-yi

*

26

Pei-men yard, Chia-yi

*The only Alishan Shay in operating condition.

27

--------

Scrapped

28

Miao-li Rail Park, Miao-li

 

29

Fen-chi-hu engine house

*

30

--------

Scrapped

31

Pei-men yard, Chia-yi

*

32

Chu-chi, Chia-yi

 

* This location might change in the future.

** Due to the earthquake on September 21st, 1999, these locomotives have been temporarily moved to Alishan new station. They will be moved to another location in the future.


SLc Note: Go To Alishan Forest Railroad in Taiwan For more information from Jason.