Hillcrest Lumber Co. No. 1

Technical Data:

  • Catalog designation: Class “B” Code Word “Bay” (24 ton 2-truck).Code Word “Bay” Shays constructed in this period were considerably heavier than their nominal weight of 24 tons. Shays tended to get heavier in later production, due to buyer-selected options, sometimes requiring an upward re-classification.
  • Weight in working order: 59,700 pounds (27 tonnes)
  • Built: 1920, as c/n 3147.
  • Purchase price: $14,428.
  • Cylinder dimensions: 8×8.
  • Boiler pressure: 160 pounds per square inch.
  • Hauling capacity on straight level track: 1193 tons.
  • Gauge: narrow (36 inches). (was standard gauge)
  • Fuel: (currently) fuel oil.
  • Braking system: Westinghouse (air).


  • The Hillcrest Lumber Company was founded by Carleton Stone, a British merchant mariner who came to BC to escape the hardships of life at sea. Entering the lumber trade as a sawmill labourer, he learned the business from the ground up. In 1917 he established the HLCo in the Sahtlam District, 4 miles west of Duncan on the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway’s newly constructed Cowichan Lake Sub-Division.
  • By 1920, the post World War I building boom and Stone’s attention to the requirements of the British construction industry had increased business beyond the capability of his small homemade gasoline locomotive. He decided to buy a new Shay, but the only suitable one available was a narrow gauge model that had been constructed for dealer stock. Lima converted the locomotive to standard gauge in order to meet the rush order. NB: In 1920, a Class-24 (nominal weight of 24 tons) locomotive was considered to be in the correct size range for smaller operations such as Hillcrest Lumber, and narrow gauge logging railways were about to be prohibited by the Department of Railways.
  • No.1 was converted from wood to fuel oil and served the company until the purchase of a larger locomotive in 1931. In 1934 it was sold to McNeil and Munn (later Export Lumber Co.), 2 miles down the track, as their No.1.
  • In 1943, the locomotive was sold to the Mayo Lumber Company, which operated a used locomotive business. It then sat idle until 1947, when it was sold to the newly formed Osborn Bay Wharf Company, a consortium of mill owners (lead by Hillcrest Lumber Company), which operated a deep sea dock served by the E&N Railway’s Crofton Spur. While at Crofton, the locomotive was fired with coal.
  • In 1963, the dock’s lease expired and No.1 was sent to Hillcrest Lumber’s new operation at Mesachie Lake to be converted back to narrow gauge and oil firing, for donation to the soon to be opened Cowichan Valley Forest Museum.
  • The locomotive is currently out of service, pending boiler work.
  •  Two versions of the locomotive have been manufactured in HO Scale. The standard gauge version is known as the “Hillcrest Shay” and the narrow gauge version as the “Cowichan Shay.”