World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Climax locomotive

Article Id: WHEBN0000318856
Reproduction Date:

Title: Climax locomotive  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Puffing Billy Railway, Climax Locomotive Works, 0-4-4-0, BC Forest Discovery Centre, Steam locomotive
Collection: Articulated Locomotives, Freight Locomotives, Geared Steam Locomotives
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Climax locomotive

Fruit Growers Number 3 on display at Fairplex in Pomona, California.

A Climax locomotive is a type of geared steam locomotive in which the two steam cylinders are attached to a transmission located under the center of the boiler. This transmits power to driveshafts running to the front and rear trucks.

Rush S. Battles patented the basic design in 1891.[1] Battles' design had horizontal cylinders connected to the drive shaft through a 2-speed transmission. The drive shaft passed just above the axle centers, requiring the use of hypoid bevel gears to transfer power to each axle. Unlike the later and somewhat similar Heisler design, there were no side rods on the trucks and all gearing was open, exposed to the elements. Battles' patent describes the core design that became the Class B Climax, and his patent illustrations show the name Climax emblazoned on the locomotive cab.

Charles D. Scott, an inventor who had previously proposed a less successful geared steam locomotive,[2] patented improved versions of Battles' trucks in 1892 and 1893.[3][4] Scott's 1892 patent was the basis of the Class A Climax. His 1892 patent included gear-case enclosures.

All Climax locomotives were built by the Climax Manufacturing Company (later renamed to the Climax Locomotive Works), of Corry, Pennsylvania. In addition, an agency and service facility was established in Seattle, Washington to sell and maintain locomotives for west coast buyers. Production began in 1888 and the last Climax locomotive was produced in 1928. Between 1000 and 1100 were built.

Many loggers considered the Climax superior to the Shay in hauling capability and stability, particularly in a smaller locomotive, although the ride was characteristically rough for the crew.


  • Classes 1
    • Class A 1.1
    • Class B 1.2
    • Class C 1.3
  • Survivors 2
  • Conversions 3
  • In Fiction 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Climaxes were built in three distinct classes:

Class A

These featured a steam engine unit with two vertical cylinders mounted in the center of the locomotive. Class A Climaxes had a frame similar to a flatcar with wooden boxcar-like bodywork built up above it to protect the crew and fuel from the elements—this could be more or less covering between locomotive to locomotive. The front half of the locomotive, in front of the engine unit, contained the boiler. In smaller examples this may have been a vertical boiler, while in larger ones a tee boiler was employed. Class A Climaxes were small locomotives, generally under seventeen tons. Class A Climaxes, unlike Heisler and Shay locomotives, had two-speed gearboxes.

Class B

Looking more like a regular locomotive, the Class B Climax had the cylinders either side of the boiler, permitting it to be longer and larger than possible with the Class A arrangement. The two cylinders drove a transverse shaft that was geared to the longitudinal driveshaft in the middle; on early Class B climaxes, the cylinders were horizontal and pointing forwards, while later ones had the cylinders angled upwards at about 30 degrees from horizontal. Class B Climaxes weighed approximately 17 tons at minimum to a maximum of approximately 60 tons.

Class C

As in the Shay locomotive, a class C was a three-truck design, the additional powered truck being beneath a fuel-carrying tender articulated to the locomotive. All Class C locomotives had inclined cylinders. A fictional character from Thomas & Friends, named Ferdinand, is a Climax class C.


Approximately 20 Climax locomotives survive in North America, of which about five are operational. Two survive in Australia: No. 1694, restored and operational since 8 September 2013, at the Puffing Billy Railway, in Belgrave,[5] and No. 1653, on display at Hobart, Tasmania.[6]

The New Zealand Climaxes are: No. 522, stored at Tokomaru, No. 1203, stored in Shantytown near Greymouth, No. 1317, under static restoration at Te Awamutu, and No. 1650, as of 2013 under restoration at Pukemiro. Hence four of the seven B-class Climax locos delivered to New Zealand have survived.

The Climax locomotive at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in West Virginia is currently being restored by the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association. The work is scheduled to be completed by 2015.

The White Mountain Central Railroad runs a Climax as their primary locomotive.

The "Durbin Rocket", of the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad in Durbin, West Virginia, is hauled by a Climax on its regular excursions.

Hillcrest Lumber Co. No. 9, preserved at the BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, British Columbia

The Corry Historical Museum in Corry, Pennsylvania has a Climax on display in its own exhibit room inside the museum, with the locomotive sitting on a section of track. The museum is open from 14:00 – 16:00 on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and admission is free.

Two Climax locomotives are preserved in Canada, both at the BC Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, British Columbia. Shawnigan Lake Lumber Co. No. 2 is a 25 ton Class B locomotive, and was built in 1910 as shop number 1057.[7] Hillcrest Lumber Co. No. 9 was built to a larger, 50 ton Class B design in 1915, and is Climax shop number 1359.[8]


A number of Climaxes, especially Class A, were later converted to Diesel or gasoline power, and some still exist in this form, using the original frame and drive mechanism.

In Fiction


  1. ^ Rush S. Battles, Locomotive, U.S. Patent 455,154, June 30, 1891.
  2. ^ Charles D. Scott, Locomotive for Tramways, U.S. Patent 452,124, May 12, 1891.
  3. ^ Charles D. Scott, Locomotive for Tramways, U.S. Patent 488,484, Dec. 20, 1892.
  4. ^ Charles D. Scott, Tramway Locomotive, U.S. Patent 504,541, Sept. 5, 1893.
  5. ^ "Climax Locomotive No. 1694 Recommissioning". Puffing Billy Preservation Society. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  6. ^ "Exhibit - Climax". Tasmanian Transport Museum Society. Retrieved 2015-10-08. 
  7. ^ "Our Trains: Shawnigan Lake Lumber Co. No. 2". BC Forest Discovery Centre. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Our Trains: Hillcrest Lumber Co. No. 9". BC Forest Discovery Centre. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 

External links

  • Geared Steam Locomotive Works' Climax pages
  • Ed Vasser on Climaxes
  • Restoration of Climax No. 1551 by the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association in Cass, WV
  • A 3D pdf of the Frame and Drive Train of Climax CN 1551 may be found here
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.