By the late 1880's the need for geared steam locomotives
to harvest timber across the country was increasing by the month.
Ephram Shay had already entered the market with his successful
Shay locomotive design. Competition was only natural in this growing
Charles D. Scott was a logger and inventor who lived in
Pennsylvania during this era. He
had operated a tram railroad with a second hand locomotive that he found
ill-suited for his needs. Mr.
Scott undertook to develop his own locomotive design that he felt would
do a better job on steep and un-even track.
He took his plans to the Climax Manufacturing Company of Corry,
PA for them to construct.
The design worked even better than expected and the
Climax Locomotive was born. Loggers
used to say about a Climax Locomotive that, "She'd follow 2 lines
scratched in the dirt" as a compliment to the engines ability to
operate over rough and uneven logging track. This engine is best
identified by the 2 power cylinders on each side of the boiler, which
operate at a 45-degree angle as compared with the cylinders on a Shay or
The Climax became the second most popular locomotive
design behind the Shay. The
engines were popular for being less expensive to purchase than the Shay. Crews often disliked the Climax because of the pounding
action of the cylinders during operation caused by the up-and-own
movement of the piston rods. Our
Climax is nick named "Old Humpy" as a result of this action.
Hillcrest Lumber purchased the locomotive in March 1928
just as the Climax Locomotive Works was shutting down its business.
This was the second to the last Climax ever built. She has all
the refinements found on any Climaxes built in later years.
Originally built as #3 she was delivered in May 1928 to the
Hillcrest operations on Vancouver Island, B.C. where she spent her
entire 40-year logging career.
She operated for Hillcrest until 1968 when the mill shut
down for good. She was the
last Climax in regular operation in the world at that time.
She was sold to a collector in 1968 that hoped to use her on a
tourist railroad in Victoria, B.C. but that operation never got started.
In 1979 she
was purchased by the Mount Rainier Scenic RR, was restored and is the
first steam engine to operate for the MRSRR.
70 ton Geared Locomotive was built by the Climax Locomotive Works in
Corey, PA for the Hillcrest Lumber Company of Messachie Lake, BC:
Pressure: 180 lbs.
Lumber Co. (#3) – Messsachie Lake, British Columbia
Ferguson (#10) – British Columbia
Pacific (#10) – Victoria, British Columbia
Rainier Scenic Railroad (#10) – Mineral, Washington
and information courtesy of Martin E. Hansen