Shaun Mc Mahon Eulogy

AgLoco and the global steam community mourn the sudden and unexpected loss of Ing. Shaun T. Mc Mahon. Shaun was highly respected for his skills as a mechanical engineer, his guidance as a leader and for his tireless efforts to preserve and promote the continued use of advanced steam technology. Over the past four years Shaun has been a wholehearted and committed advisor to AgLoco and a close friend and valued mentor of Sam Mackwell, our Chief Mechanical Engineer. Shaun and Sam spent countless hours in video calls covering all aspects of advanced steam design and its practical implementation.

Sam was thirteen years old and researching advanced steam locomotives when he first encountered Shaun’s work, however Shaun’s long career in this field began much earlier. In fact it was in 1994 and coincidentally the same year Sam was born that the young Welshman, then an aspiring mechanical engineer, made his first expatriation halfway across the world to follow an emerging interest in advanced steam technology. With nine years of experience working on local steam railways, Shaun left his homeland for South Africa accepting the role of Assistant Mechanical Engineer on the Alfred County Railway (ACR). There, his passion and prolific research into advanced steam continued and he soon began regular communication with the highly esteemed Ing. Livio Dante Porta. Through written correspondence the two developed a close working relationship and they soon became great friends sharing a passion to master the intricacies and secrets of advanced steam design.

Shaun Mc Mahon inspecting the firebox of a locomotive he was modernising in Ayacucho / pic: Pablo Rojas

Progressing the design and implementation of advanced steam technology became a life’s calling for Shaun and in 1998 he emigrated again to Argentina to continue his work as a technical manager for the railway development company Tranex Turismo S.A. This move allowed Shaun to both progress his career in railways and further his collaborative efforts with Porta to improve advanced steam technology. Their development of a modern internal boiler water chemical treatment for advanced steam engines is the best system available in the world today. Shaun also successfully led advanced steam projects in Argentina for the TransOceanic Railway Project and the management of railway engineering departments and development projects for Tranex Turismo S.A. In 2009, Shaun began what was to be his final role, heading modern steam development at INTI, Argentina’s National Institute of Industrial Technology, where he ensured the continuation and progression of Porta’s work on advanced steam technology.

Here at AgLoco, we greatly admire the engineering achievements of Shaun Mc Mahon. We were honoured to have Shaun as a key advisor and we were proud of the direct link he provided to the work and knowledge of Porta. Unfortunately, Sam had yet to meet Shaun in person. Sam planned to do so later this year at the event Shaun was organising, in Argentina, to commemorate 100 years of Porta’s life. This would have been an amazing opportunity for Sam to meet his friend for the first time and further discuss the potential for advanced steam. Having the steady guidance of such a highly esteemed locomotive mechanical engineer has been instrumental to the early successes of AgLoco. His passing leaves a presence which Sam and the wider AgLoco family will miss immensely. Shaun lived a life full of passion and adventure and his dedication to advanced steam will always be remembered and celebrated.

AgLoco is the embodiment of Ing. Livio Dante Porta’s work and now Shaun’s. Unfortunately neither of these men will get to see their vision realised however as we go forward we thank, acknowledge and salute them.

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Issac Newton

Kua hinga te tōtara o Te Waonui a Tāne” / The tōtara in the great forest of Tāne has fallen.

Shaun researching tractors for AgLoco®

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