Climax Locomotive Infomation

Here's a quick overview of the Climax geared locomotive. Apologies for the load times. Hope you enjoy. For more details, check the links at the bottom of the page.

This small vertical boiler Class A Climax was affectionately known as the "Goldbug". The tank end closest to the photographer was considered to be the front.When the call went out from the Logging camps of the Eastern USA for a geared locomotive, It was the Climax Locomotive Co of Corry Pennsylvania that answered. The Climax locomotive was available in several different configurations over it's production life, from 1888 to 1928. Early units were known as Class A locomotives, and were characterized by a vertical boiler and a twin cylinder donkey engine mounted lengthwise around the centre of the deck. The "Goldbug" at left is a good example. Resembling a wooden flatcar with boiler, water tank, and engine attached, the Climax was a simple loco that could be easily repaired in the bush should the need arise. Indeed, a number of logging companies found them so simple, they built their own "Climax" type locos with whatever they had lying around. These are often referred to as "Bushmill" Climaxes.

22 Ton Tee boiler Class A Climax loco. Note the square tank on the rear deck. Irrespective of the builder, the Climax design is based around an idea originally patented by Charles D Scott, a Pennsylvania lumberman, and George D Gilbert, Scott's civil engineer brother-in-law. The design features a longitudinal drive shaft which connects the "engine" to the inboard axles via bevel gears. The axles on each truck are linked by a stub shaft contained within the truck. As with anything technical, the Climax underwent advancements and changes as the needs of the customer outstripped the capability of the then current models. Class A Climaxes were upgraded with the addition of horizontal boilers and semi enclosed cabs.

Hillcrest Lumber Co #10 rides the Nisqually log branch. #10 is a classic example of a Class C ClimaxClass B Climaxes were later developed, with their main spotting features being an additional crossbox in the drivetrain, and the relocation of the cylinders from inside the cab to either side of the boiler. They still had only two trucks, but were larger than Class As. Still later Class Cs were developed with three trucks, such as this one, ex Hillcrest Lumber Co #10. The extra truck was geared to the rest of the loco by a intermediate shaft, and was used to carry a tank to extend the locos water capacity.

This is just a short history of the Climax loco. For more details there are some very informative sites online:

Geared Steam Loco Works, one stop for all info and links on geared locomotives

Back to the Locomotives of Broughton Vale Tramway


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