Climax Engine

Adapted from article written by Walter Casler

The Climax locomotive shown below was one built in 1912 for the Clear Lake Lumber Company at Clear Lake, Washington.  It was used to haul giant timber from the woods to the mill.  Some of the logs were 8 to 10 feet in diameter.

This locomotive was one of many built by the Climax Manufacturing Company of Corry, Pennsylvania, for logging railroads and which were used all over the world.  The Climax Locomotive gained lasting fame in the woods over the years of the logging railroad, by its masterful performance.  It would run on the lightest rail and rough and uneven road bed, very cheaply constructed.  It would climb grades up to 16 percent and over, and negotiate 50-foot radius curves.  It would go any place that it was possible to haul out a loaded car. 

Climax Manufacturing Company began building geared locomotives back in the 1880s and the first one on record was shipped from the plant in March 1888.  The last one was shipped out of the plant in 1930.

Over the years, Climax built 1,050 locomotives of sizes varying from 7 tons to 100 tons.  They were built to operate on any gauge track from 24 inches to standard gauge.  They were built to run on steel or wood rail and pole track.  One is known to have run on a pole track with a 9 foot gauge.

They were used for many purposes besides logging.  Coal mines and other types of mining used them as well as industrial plants for switching.  Sugar cane plantations had them; wood chemical plants used them to haul wood to ovens to make charcoal.  Contractors operated them on earth-moving jobs, too.  And lastly, short line railroads used a lot of them, even using them on passenger trains where grades were steep.

In order to preserve one for posterity, a group of interested citizens of Corry raised funds and purchased a Climax locomotive.   The locomotive bought was s 30-ton standard gauge Climax.  It was originally shipped on March 20, 1927, for Barclay Chemical Company No. 1 at Laquin, Pennsylvania.  It was used there to haul wood until 1941.  It was sold in December 1941 to the Southern New York Railroad at Oneonta, New York.  This railroad used it there on a two-mile line to deliver carload lots to various industries on its line.  It was used until 1956 by them when it was retired and replaced by Diesel locomotives.

The Corry group purchased it in January, 1960.  It now rests in the historical building at Mead Park and has been refurbished to look as it did when it originally left the builder.




Climax Locomotive WebPage - Ed Vasser of Frankfurt, Kentucky provides some historical perspective on the Climax Locomotive.

The Philadelphia & Erie Railroad - Old and New Photos of Railroad Towers in and around the Corry Area.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission - The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum commission was created by Act No. 446, approved June 6, 1945, amending the Administrative Code to consolidate the functions of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission, The State Museum and the State Archives. This site provides Historical information and links.