The Line Shaft at Reedville Marine Railway

A huge thanks to Bill Basler for providing the correct term for the gear belt thing in the ceiling. It’s called a “Line Shaft” he claimed I would sound smarter by using that term. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! hold on! I need to wipe the dribble of the keyboards. If thats all it took, I would figure out how to integrate LINE SHAFT into all my conversations.

Not the Railway, just a reference image

“Yes, Mr Thompson, I feel that your issue of getting all your companies around the globe could be solved by a Line Shaft! So they all work together in harmony and utilize one source of power, thus saving you 90% on your energy bills.”See? I am even impressed with myself.

Almost done, and I still have most of my fingers.. knock on wood!

Anyway, today, I am back in the Railway Office hopefully finishing up with Jim on the ceiling. George came in and knew each piece and where it came from. The green ones are from an old Byboat workshop down the way. AHHHHHHistory! I love it.


Of course I think George thinks now for sure I am completely nuts. Until I whip out.. Yes George, the historical nature of the metal roofing inside brings a complete bond of time, materials and aligned with the LINE SHAFT that threads it all though a timeless HBKDUDYVBJYTVCJDY, dam it, I dribbled some Joe on the keyboard again.

A balance of Rust, Green paint and more rust!


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21 Responses to “Two Words That Will Make You Sound Smart. LINE SHAFT!”
  1. Bilge Rat

    Line shaft drive, back when men were men. All those open pulleys and belts whirring around make me nervous. I don’t like any of todays’ machinery operating without a guard around the shafts, belts or pulleys. Back then, men didn’t have long hair to get caught up in it but a long sleeve shirt carelessly near a pulley would end in disaster.

    Locally, there was a case years ago of a long haired machine operator who got his hair caught in rotating equipment. It literally scalped him. One of the EMTs responding to the call passed out upon looking at him. They had to graft tissue from his butt to repair the damage and yes, from then on he was known as butt head. True story.

    • Dick Hansen

      While visiting the mining town of Bodie, CA I learned the origin of the term “grease monkey”, this is what they called the small boys they sent up into the very high rafters of the stamping mill to grease the many bearings that ran the stamps. Since this machinery ran 24/7 the “grease monkeys” had to scurry amongst the spinning belts of the line-shaft to keep the bearings from burning up. Quite obviously this was an extremely dangerous job, one that OSHA would not like, and in today’s world would be a Work Comp underwriters nightmare.

  2. m-fine

    I came here for a boat story and instead I got shafted! Line shafted!!! That’s worse right? Like a so many individual shafts one after another that they form a single continuous line shaft? This is starting to sound a bit painful. I hope you have some period correct vintage Vaseline for that thing!

    Oh well, It’s only 390 days until Sunnyland, is it too soon to start the count down?

  3. Rick

    There must be some complex way to reuse that line shaft to do a menial job in a Rube Goldberg fashion. Maybe sharpen a pencil?

  4. John Rothert

    I am getting the SECOND SHAFT TODAY! In the form of a needle with my second pfizer vac.
    Second the notion of sealing that tin….going to shower little rust specs into your keyboard.

    John in Va.

    • m-fine

      We should take a poll: Will little rust specks in Matt’s keyboard make his spelling worse or better? I would have bet “better” up until this last week when he spelled Riviera correctly several times in the same story. Now I am not so sure. Crazy times we live in!

  5. Old Salt

    Not to get personal Matt but how long is your Line Shaft?
    You may be able to use your line shaft with some straps to roll your smaller boats to work on the bottoms? If the shaft is long enough you might be able to roll multiple boats at the same time.

  6. Greg Seibold

    I grew up around old buildings like your new acquisition. Congratulations. I love just looking at the interior. I can smell the smells. Nothing like an old workshed near water with the smell with a wood, canvas and kapok handing in the air…with a twist of “musty.”

  7. Mark in Ohio (back from da U P )

    I’m getting the shaft on Thursday. Having a colonoscopy. Lets hope they don’t find any rot.

    • floyd r turbo

      Before your exam When you ask your proctologist where to hang your pants and he says “Over there, next to mine.” you might want to reconsider you appointment.

  8. Shep22

    Your ceiling idea is great and will always look like the interior of the exterior — without indicating there is any insulation between.

  9. Dick Dow

    One question: In that last picture am I seeing moisture from above down the center of the floor, (ie: leaking roof) or line shaft lubricant??? 😉 As for getting one’s hair caught up in machinery, one of my high school friends got her beautiful long brunette locks tangled in the rope tow one day when we were skiing. Fortunately, the operator got it shut down before much damage was done. Lesson learned, though! The shop is looking really cool – loving the reports as this project develops!

  10. Ray


    The real question when you are being shafted, is knowing if you have been punched, bored or reamed!

  11. Jim Staib

    Had a large line shaft pulley that I had turned into a railing at my last house. Took it to a welder and told him to weld two horizontal bars to it. Went back to find the railing with a strap around the wheel and square bars bent on edge to fill in the sides. When I asked why the fancy work he told me the wheel was art and he couldn’t destroy it he had to add to it.

  12. thomas d

    fan blades, made like sails, on the shaft with a variable speed motor for a cool breeze.

  13. Russ In Bolton

    I am told that line shafts with pulleys were replaced with sprockets because “tooth is stronger than friction.”

  14. Ross

    How about using the line shaft to run belt driven ceiling fans in the summer, with really big blades!