Douglas Massie

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The North American Live Steamer, Volume 1 Number 6

Montreal Live Steamers

It is with very much regret we advise you of the death of Mr. Douglas W. Massie on April 8th, 1955. He was, as you are aware, widely known in the Brotherhood of Live Steamers for his Massive models of Live Steam Locomotives.

Doug's passing away, after a lengthy illness, will be felt not only by Montrealers but by his many friends across Canada and in both England and the United States.

He was a leading light in our Group in Montreal for many years. He was instrumental in getting the Montreal Society of Model Engineers organized some 25 years ago and this group eventually became the Montreal Live Steamers.

He served as President and Director of both these organizations for some years. He was an ardent Model Engineer and during his lifetime spent a great deal of his spare time in his workshop which was well equipped.

Besides building an entire electric train complete with 11/16 inch scale locomotive he has produced a C.P.R. Hudson type in 2-1/2 inch gauge and a 4-8-4 Mountain type in 3-1/2 inch gauge and a 4-6-6-4 Articulated in 3-1/2 inch gauge. He had just finished a Traction Engine in 1 inch scale and was to have surprised the boys this summer with a 3/4 inch scale Diesel Locomotive.

3/4 inch scale live steam model of a Union Pacific Challenger built by D. W. Massie of Montreal, Canada. Drawings and castings were supplied by Les Friend of Danvers, Mass. Engine and Tender measure over 8 feet long presenting a transportation problem to and from the track. It is now hauled on a two wheel trailer and when in the shop is handled on a stand fitted with casters. Posted by Steve Bratina on

Wandering Locomotive Book

Steve Bratina wrote the following, 24 August 2020:

Here are the copied pages from the Wandering Locomotive Books written by Doug Massie in 1934. I thought you could add them to his section. I have the engine and will send pictures of it running in a few weeks. The pages were copied courtesy of John at Friends Models. Along with my pictures, I will also include an up to date story of the engines history.

Transcription of Doug Massie's letter is as follows (thanks to Steve Bratina):

Massie Railroad Company
Verdome Avenue
March, 1934.
Although we are at present constructing steam engines, we have 170 feet of 3-1/4 inch gauge electrified track. At present the steam mileage amounts to 50 feet. The one great drawback is the three different gauges of the locomotive power (2-1/2 inch - 3-1/4 inch and 3-1/2 inch).
The rolling stock consists of:
  • 2 passenger cars : 1 baggage car
  • 2 coal cars : 1 oil car
  • 1 electric locomotive
The above mentioned are all 3-1/4 inch gauge
  • 1 - 1/2 inch scale Locomotive
  • 1 - flat car (for above)
Under construction:
  • 1 - 3/4 inch scale steam locomotive
  • 3 - 3/4 inch scale flat cars
The electric outfit has been running for the past 15 years much to our enjoyment. The locomotive has a pulling power of about 150 lbs.
In January 1930 a copy of LBSC's Fayette was started. After a few weeks work on it, and he plans were changed so as to make it resemble the CPR 2800 class. Many details were changed, a 4 wheel trailing truck replaced the 2 wheel one. The boiler was re designed making it much larger.
All told 3 boilers were built for this engine. The first one was scrapped in the redesigning. The second one was a bad steamer and a constant primer. The 3rd boiler was then built and it has been doing faithful service for the past year.
The frames were milled out of 1/4 inch cold rolled. The driving wheels were turned from English castings while the cylinders and a few other castings were supplied by H.J. Coventry as they were able to be used in the engine.
The cylinders are 13/16 inch x 1-1/2 inch being fed superheated steam generated in the usual spearhead tubes recommended by L.B.S.C.
There are two pumps working off the back driving axle. An injector which was supplied by F. Birch and a third pump is located in the tender. This is the hand pump and it has considerable work to do on account of the short track and numerous stops.
The model was finished in brass and it has never been painted because it has been on the road practically without rest since its test run. When the 3/4 inch scale comes along and helps its co-worker out we may get time to paint the brass one.
At present a second locomotive is under construction in the shops. This one is a 3/4 inch scale 4-8-4. In it are incorporated the main principles of the C.P.R. And C.N.R. The general outline is a copy of the 3100 C.P.R. The motion is a copy of the Walschaert Gear as used on the B&O (Coventry's drawings) the C.N.R. running boards and ladders were copied as they fitted in better with the general outline. The tender for this engine will be a combination of the Great Northern and the C.N.R. The length of the engine is 4 feet. And with a 30 inch tender, it will have an overall length of 6 feet - 6 inches. The overall width is 8-1/2 inches while the overall height is 11-1/4 inches.
The total weight should be in the neighbourhood of 250 pounds.
The cylinders are 1-3/8 inch x 1-3/4 inch with 9/16 inch piston valves with 4-1/16 inch bronze rings on each. These are fed from a copper boiler 5 inch in diameter 1/8 inch thick while the tube plate is 3/16 inch thick. There are 16 - 1/2 inch tubes of 18 gauge, 2 - 1 inch tubes of 15 gauge containing the spearhead super heaters. All joints were riveted and blazed and it has been tested to 300 pounds hydraulic while it will run at 100 pounds.
The fire box contains two sets of shaking grates from Mr Carter's design and a baffle plate bent from a piece of steel. The area of the grate is about 40 square inches.
The drivers are 5 inches in diameter and each is sprung on leaf springs. These were made from 3/8 inch band saw steel with brass spacers between each leaf. These springs are all equalized and this should give the utmost traction.
There is one item which is a special feature on this model and that is the method of holding on the running boards, hand rails and lagging. Three brass rings were cast and then each turned to fit over the boiler. As each ring was in two pieces when they were screwed tight we had three rigid rings to work from. In these rings was placed a flat piece to which the handrails will be screwed. The brackets for holding on the running boards were also screwed into these rings. The advantage of these rings is that it is not necessary to make a lot of small holes in the boiler.
The axle driven pumps have been replaced by a small double acting Worthington Boiler Feed Pump, made from drawing supplied by Mr H. Sait, mounted below the smokebox at the front. This pump is controlled from the cab and it will draw water from the tender and force it into the boiler at the top.
The cab is the standard C.P.R. Vestibule type. There is a centre turret and all the valves are connected to this. The water glass has a water column to give a truer reading. On the drivers side (right) are the throttle lever, reverse lever, steam brake lever and the steam gauge.
The throttle is situated in the smokebox and it is the outside operated type. The reverser is steam operated as are the brake cylinders. There is also a valve for the blower system in the cab as well as a connection on the side of the smokebox for compressed air. The lubricators will be the mechanical type worked from the cross head.
Situated directly under he cab floor is the hand pump. This being on the engine and not in the tender reduces all strain on the hose connections.
The frames were milled from 3/8 inch x 2 inch steel while the cylinders, wheels, powered reverse, brake hangers and short circuit connecting rod castings were supplied by Mr Coventry. The trailing truck is cast to our own pattern. This has provision for a booster. Practically everything else is home made except for some 0-80 and 2-56 screws. The tender trucks are of the commonwealth type. The patterns were made by Mr Jerome of Brockville.
This book is a splendid idea and we are pleased to be able to add our portion to it. The pictures show the 1/2 inch scale Model and the 3/4 inch scale under construction. When the book gets around again we may be able to give some results of tests to be made on the 3/4 inch scale.
The writer has been in the Electrical Supply business for the last 30 years and model making has always been my hobby. Clicks, stationary engines, etc, gasoline engines, motors.
The pictures are
1- 3/4 scale under construction
2- 1/2 inch scale
3- Front view 3/4 scale
4- 3/4 scale
5- "the writer"
6- M Massie (assistant) and a visitor
7- 1/2 inch scale with a good load

Northern Rebuild

Steve Bratina wrote the following, 29 August 2020:

Here are the pictures of when I was rebuilding Doug Massie's Northern during 2018/2019. I will send some pictures of her running in a few weeks. The last picture shows the engine at the start of the rebuild.
This engine is on its second boiler. From the original pictures to around the early 1940's, the boiler had a top check, different dome positions and the original style of cast rings for mounting handrails and running boards. There was also an outlet for the power reverse by the firebox.
This boiler has side checks, a fabricated mount for the handrails and running boards and repositioned domes. At the time of this new boiler being installed, (middle 1940's) the smoke lifters, a gear driven reverser from the cab and new running board sides were also installed. The steam pump was also removed and the axle pumps re installed. The original hand pump was used in its original location. In the picture showing the engine at the start of the rebuild, you can see a knobby wheel in the cab. This goes down to a 90 degree gear box. This is what is used to run the screw reverse under the running board. A slight bulge needed to be placed in the cab roof to accommodate putting the roof on. This was also done by Mr Massie at the time of rebuild.
There is no information as to what happened to the original boiler but since the steam pump was removed and the axle pumps replaced during the installation of this second boiler, water issues may have arisen.
I found out about the engine by a chance meeting of Mr Massie's grandson Doug (Merideth's son) at a club steam up. I remember him introducing himself and my response was "Are you related to the famous Massie's?" He was quite surprised by this statement and this started into a discussion of his family, the engines and the Montreal club. Later, I was privileged to be able to get the engine from the family. It is kept original as possible except for reprinting the boiler jacket which had been damaged by rust over the years. The original paint and lettering has been maintained as this is part of the history of the engine.
It now runs using an alcohol burner and performs very well on my track. It is always gratifying to see and run historic engines.