Members of the Queensland Division of the Australian Railway Historical Society with a commemorative plaque for the 'Shay' locomotive, Nambour, 1966
Shay locomotive
Shay Locomotive
  • Last updated:
  • 28 Nov 2015

The Shay locomotive is one of the most significant objects in council’s heritage collection.


In 1908, the Moreton Central Sugar Mill purchased a Shay-geared locomotive. Lima Locomotive Works in Ohio built it. This locomotive was called Dulong and was used on the steep tramline from Nambour to Dulong.

Maroochy Shire Council purchased the tramline and the Dulong in 1914 extending the line to Mapleton. A second Shay locomotive was purchased in 1914. It was named Mapleton.

The Mapleton Tramway operated for 29 years. It carried:

  • timber
  • fruit
  • milk and cream
  • general goods
  • livestock
  • sugar cane
  • parcels
  • passengers.

In 1944, the Mapleton Tramway stopped operating after it became financially unviable. Better roads and cars decreased the need for the tram.

The Moreton Central Sugar Mill purchased the locomotives, rolling stock and track in 1945. In 1948, the two Shays were rebuilt into one and simply become known as Shay. The Shay was retired by the Mill in 1960. Council gained full ownership of the Shay locomotive in 2003.


The Shay locomotive is now located at the Nambour Museum. Volunteers from the museum continue working to preserve the Shay. Highlights include fitting a new smoke box and new cabin sides. The Sunshine Coast Cultural Heritage Levy funds the materials for the preservation. The Nambour Museum volunteers provide the labour.

View the Shay locomotive at the Nambour Museum on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.