Mayo Lumber Co. No. 3

Technical Data:

  • Catalog Designation: Type “B” Class 50-2 (50 ton 2-truck).
  • Weight in working order: 121,000 pounds (standard class weight 105,200 pounds).
  • Built: 1924, as c/n 3262.
  • Purchase price: $16,291.
  • Cylinder dimensions: 11×12.
  • Boiler pressure: 200 pounds per square inch.
  • Hauling capacity on straight level track: 2770 tons.
  • Gauge: standard (56.5 inches).
  •  Fuel: wood (later converted to oil).
  • Brake system: air (Westinghouse).


  • The Mayo Lumber Company was formed in 1917, by a group of Sikhs from the Punjab region of India. Management rested with Mayo Singh and Kapoor Singh (unrelated). Kapoor was the only shareholder who could speak English. Like Hillcrest Lumber, Mayo Lumber was known as being a good company to work for. Both companies had large numbers of Chinese, Japanese and East-Indian workers.
  • The company operated railway logging operations and sawmills at Paldi (originally Mayo) and at Kapoor. The Mayo Sawmill was on the E&N Cowichan Sub. near the Hillcrest Lumber and McNeill and Munn sites. The Kapoor Lumber Company mill was on the CNR line at Sooke Lake, now part of the Greater Victoria Watershed. Shay No.3 worked at Kapoor between 1928 and 1940. In 1942, Lake Logging bought the company’s Meade Creek timber holdings and Paldi sawmill. No.3 was leased to Lake Logging to service the Paldi mill from 1942 until 1945, when a fire at Lake Logging’s Rounds Camp destroyed 27 million board feet of felled and bucked timber, ending the surplus of logs that had been sent to Paldi for milling. Most of the Paldi employees then transferred to Lake Logging’s large new mill at Honeymoon Bay.
  • No.3 was on display at Paldi until 1967, when Rajindi Mayo donated it to the Cowichan Valley Forest Museum, in memory of Pioneer Lumberman Mayo Sing.
  • In 1995, No.3 was restored to operation by museum staff and volunteers for temporary loan to the (then) Kettle Valley Railway Historical Society. The boiler was converted to burn fuel oil at that time, but the Radley-Hunter stack was left on for appearance sake.
  • No.3 was the first Shay in BC to use superheated steam. It also featured an enclosed steel cab, cast trucks and a girder frame. What was not modern was its use of wood as a fuel. Mayo favoured wood because plenty of slab wood was available from his sawmills, labour was plentiful and cheap and the hauls were relatively short. On an average day, the boiler consumed approximately 8 cords (1024 cubic feet) of wood.