<strong>By William \u201cSkip\u201d Deegans<\/strong>\r\n\r\n<img class=" wp-image-61176 alignleft" src="https:\/\/mountainmessenger.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2021\/03\/A-Look-Back-1.jpg" alt="" width="729" height="466" \/>If one had to\u00a0choose one machine that most impacted the industrial development of Greenbrier County, it might be the Shay locomotive. Shown this week is an undated photo of Rainelle\u2019s Meadow River Lumber Company\u2019s Shay No. 2 and its crew. The steep hills in western Greenbrier County made transporting logs a challenge. Conventional steam locomotives did not have good traction, and their long frames made it impossible to make tight turns. Ephraim Shay came to realize there was a need for a better locomotive for logging. He was born in 1893, and became a teacher, doctor, and served in the Union Army\u2019s Corps of Engineers during the Civil War. After the war, he became a\u00a0timber man in Cadillac, Michigan. Shay designed a new geared locomotive that had good traction, could pull large loads, and would run equally well forward and backward. In 1881, he received a patent for his new design and\u00a0gave the Lima Locomotive Works the exclusive right to manufacture Shays.\r\n\r\nWhile the days of steam locomotives hauling logs are long gone, the\u00a0Cass Scenic Railroad allows us an opportunity to ride behind a Shay. There are nine Shays - operational, on display, or being restored - in Cass. Two of the Shays had been in service by Meadow River Lumber Co., and two were used by Cass\u2019s Mower Lower Company.\r\n\r\nPhoto courtesy of West Virginia University Regional History Center.\r\n\r\nSources:\u00a0Logging Locomotives\u00a0by G. Leroy\u00a0Crislip; Mountain State Railroad\u00a0and Logging Historical Association.