The first scheduled public operation of J. Neils Lumber Company 5, the Illinois Railway Museum’s Shay steam locomotive, is tentatively planned for the Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day Weekend, May 26th and 27th. The plan is for the Shay to operate those days alongside Frisco 1630, the museum’s famous 2-10-0 Decapod steam engine, making it the first occasion in nearly 20 years that will see two of the museum’s steam engines in operation at the same time.
Shay 5 was approved for regular operation in late October 2018 following a multi-year restoration project. Work completed during the course of the engine’s restoration included a new partial front tube sheet, a new grate system, and a new nozzle and smoke box setup, and rebuilt front truck. Built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1929, Shay 5 was the first steam engine ever to operate at IRM back in 1966. It last ran at the museum in September 1999.