Climax Notes

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This page provides various additional information about selected individual Climax locomotives found on this site.   The information is organized by  Construction Number  (C/N).


x28 - Phoenix Mine & Gratiot River RR  - 08/05/2002

"This Climax is most often attributed to having been purchased new by the Lac LaBelle & Calumet RR (Conglomerate Mining Co.). This mythology was perpetrated by a small self published work (by Clarence J. Monette) about Delaware Mine (Community) located in Michigan's Copper Country on the Keweenaw Penninsula protruding into Lake Superior. He intimated that an "unusual" locomotive "built in 1897-1899" was a "Climax purchased from Corey Pennsylvania in 1893"... (not a Typo... quoted his dates as seen above)...

After several copper mining companies were formed (beginning in the 1840s) and tried their hand at making a profit at the Delaware Mine Location the Conglomerate Mining Co. was formed in January 1881. They began construction of a 36" gauge RR from the mine shafts to a stamp mill location on Lac Labelle using a small Porter locomotive. On April 4th 1883 articles of Association were filed with the State of Michigan for the Lac LaBelle & Calumet RR (all stock held by Conglomerate Mining) and shortly thereafter two 36" gauge Baldwin 2-8-0's were acquired. This rail operation was short lived and in 1888 the two Baldwins along with rolling stock began to be sold off (disposition of the Porter is currently unknown)... The above is abreviated to show the motive power (which is documented with extant records) and time frame for this rail line...

In 1890 the Wolverine Mining Company was formed (near Calumet Michigan) and by 1893 their "ore" was being shipped to the nearby Allouez Mine stamp mill via a 36" gauge extension. The Allouez Mine had a very early 2-6-4T Mason Bogie and a slightly newer Grant 4-4-0... and access to the mine was also provided by the Fulton 36" gauge Branch Line of the Hancock & Calumet RR begining 10/28/1891...

In 1896 the Mohawk Mine was begun,,, near the Wolverine Mine and controlled and operated by the same financial group who owned the Wolverine,,, about 1893 the Hebard Stone Quarry was established east of the Wolverine/Mohawk mines with a short 36" gauge rail line running to their Traverse Bay shipping dock (There are scant records regarding the Hebard Quarry and we don't know what motive power they owned. They operated in isolation with only their Lake Superior dock as a connection to the outside world)... Once the Mohawk Mine was established they acquired this Hebard rail line and related facilities & equipment and extended it to the Mohawk & Wolverine Mines... Still using 36" gauge. This is where the first account of the Climax is mentioned in known extant records. It was used in constructing the above 18 mile Mohawk & Traverse Bay (industrial) RR...

By 1902 the Wolverine & Mohawk Stamp Mills were completed at Traverse Bay and the Mohawk & Traverse Bay RR was leased to the Mineral Range RR. By now this latter common carrier was mostly converted from 36" gauge to standard gauge (with some dual gauge still in operation). The Mineral Range RR began by removing 36" gauge equipment for both this railroad and its subsidiary Hancock & Calumet RR from an old 16 mile logging line (known locally by "old-timers" as the "Bollman Road"). They sold a group of H&C RR 1896 Penninsular-Michigan Car Works wooden bottom dumping 8 wheeled hopper cars (known throughout the Copper Country as "rock cars") to the newly formed Phoenix Consolidated Mining Company. In turn the Phoenix Mine acquired the Climax (under discussion here) through the Wolverine Mine (Wolverine Mine records do not show an expenditure for a locomotive engine of any kind). The Phoenix Mine also acquired the scrapping rights for the track on the "Bollman Road" (Phoenix began removing it 7/30/1902) which ran from near Phoenix (Community) to Mohawk (Community) and used some of this rail to construct their own line which they termed the Phoenix Mine & Gratiot River RR (whose initials were applied to the Climax cab sides). But this 2-1/2 mile main line, with sidings running to their mine shafts, was almost always referred to as the "Phoenix Mine Ry"...

The attached image of this Climax was taken on the 36" gauge Phoenix Mine & Gratiot River RR near the end of operations. I don't know if the air pump came with it or was added when the Mohawk & Traverse Bay RR was built...

The Keweenaw Central standard gauge Railroad was established 4/27/1905 out of Amended Artices of Association of the old Lac LaBelle & Calumet RR and acquired, in addition, the trackage rights and equipment of the "Phoenix Mine Ry". They sold the Phoenix "rock cars" (still lettered H&C RR) to the Quincy Mine for their Quincy & Torch Lake RR... And sold the Climax to Southern Iron & Equipment (dealer). SI&E listed it as 3' gauge, 28 tons, with 10x12 cylinders on their order #653...

They sold it to Hilgard Lumber Co. of Laurelia, TX 1/30/1909... Hilgard returned it on the same order number (#653) and it was sold again under that number to W.H.Gerhart Lumber Co. of Derry, LA as their Road #1 on 5/1/1913... Gerhart then sold it back to SI&E and SI&E then sold it to "Soniet & Debliux" (Soniat & Debliux) as order #1028 on 7/22/1919 as their Road #1... Long-time Climax student Lee Snover then lists it as Gilmer & Tanner Sand and Gravel Co., then Texas Construction Materials circa 1930, then sold to Jack Biggs of Romayor, Texas circa 1950. My copy of the SI&E records has a footnote after order #1028 indicating this Climax was abandoned at "Raymeyer, Texas" 1965...

I don't know enough about the rail lines this Climax operated on after it left the 36" gauge Phoenix Mine in Michigan, but it is my understanding that it ended up at Romayor with standard gauge trucks...

That Wolverine Mine might have purchased this Climax is not impossible, but improbable... The best candidate for when the Climax arrived on the Keweenaw Penninsula is the Hebard Stone Quarry (their rail operations would have been seasonal being dependent on non-winter boat traffic so plowing the huge amounts of snowfall of that region would not have been a concideration)... don't know when Climax started using those big round Builders Plates, but one of the first things which struck me on the attached view (and others) is the lack of one..."

Text above provided by John F. Campbell

x45 - Red River & Beattyville Southern #2  - added June 29, 2001

The locomotive was purchased new in 1898 by  W.J. Fell & Stiles for use on their newly constructed Red River & Beattyville Southern Railroad.  It was lettered for the railroad even though it was never formally incorporated.   Located in Kentucky, the 7 mile long line serviced the owner's  Ridgewood Lumber Company.  The road ran from Ridgewood Junction in Wolfe County to Ridgewood in Estill County.   An interesting note is the fact the locomotive was numbered "2" even though it was the only locomotive ever in operation on the railroad. 

The company was taken over on October 10, 1902 by the Eastern Kentucky Stave Company;  a subsidiary of the Swann-Day Lumber Company.  The stave company ceased operations about 1906.   The locomotive was renumbered to "3"  and then transferred to Swann-Day's   Mountain Central Railway at Campton Junction.   It was scrapped in 1926 when  Mountain Central Railway ceased operations. 

Ridgewood Junction is located about 5 miles South of Natural Bridge,  where the line connected with the standard gauge Lexington & Eastern Railway.  The locomotive's construction number is unknown. 10d  

x140 - Dickey & Campbell Lumber Company #4 - added May 31, 2003

There are few Climax locomotives whose construction numbers remain a mystery to historians.   This particular locomotive is among these.   

According to a deed book at the Buncombe County, North Carolina court house, the locomotive was purchased new by Dickey & Campbell in 1912.  It weighed  35 tons and was 36" gauge.   Additional research revealed the owner roster for this locomotive as follows (first to last):   

Dickey & Cambell Lumber Co.  Black Mountain, North Carolina - assigned road #4
- purchased new from Climax in 1912
Perley & Crockett Lumber Co. Black Mountain, North Carolina - purchased from D&C in 1914
-sold after 1923 to undisclosed buyer in Virginia

Other records indicate the locomotive was built in 1913 and was in the 42 ton class "range". 121d

1123  - Dana Lumber Company - added June 15, 2001
Purchased new by Dana Lumber Company on November 16, 1911, as their No. 2. The locomotive was sold to Brodhead-Garrett Lumber on October 14, 1914, along with all holdings of the Dana Lumber Company. The locomotive may have been sold to Turkey Foot Lumber Company at Cresmont, KY, but have not confirmed this yet.

1235 - Dickey & Campbell Lumber Company #5 - added April 26, 2003

According to a deed book at the Buncombe County, North Carolina court house, the locomotive was purchased new by Dickey & Campbell on 8/1/1913 at a cost of $6,000.   Additional research revealed the owner roster for this locomotive as follows (first to last):   

Dickey & Cambell Lumber Co.  Black Mountain, North Carolina - assigned road #5
- purchased new from Climax
Perley & Crockett Lumber Co Black Mountain, North Carolina - purchased from D&C in 1914
Suncrest Lumber Co.  Sunburst, North Carolina  - assigned road #4
Blackwood Lumber Co. East LaPorte, North Carolina - assigned road #5
- converted to standard gauge.

1321 - Perley & Crockett Lumber Co. #8  - added April 22, 2003

According to a deed book at the Buncombe County, North Carolina court house, the locomotive was purchased new by Perley & Crockett on 9/1/1914 at a cost of $6,000.    These records show the company later sold the locomotive in 1923 to an buyer who relocated it to Virginia.   Both the name of the buyer and the location in Virginia were undisclosed. 

???? - Southern Iron & Equipment Co.  #1113 - added December 8, 2015

"The Model B-25 Climax sold by Southern Iron & Equipment Co. as their item #1113 is NOT Climax shop number "222" as has been erroneously shown in the Climax builder's lists for at least 55 years! 

The number 222 was the road number assigned to this engine by secondhand owner Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company.

The Climax shop number for this B-25 locomotive is still unknown, but it would be somewhere in the 100-series.

There is no known CORRECT ownership information for the real Climax s/n 222! "

Note above provided by Thomas Lawson Jr., author of Locomotives of the Southern Iron & Equipment Company


???? - Lutz, D. E. & Sons #2 - added July 17, 2020

The text accompanying the photo was written by a Lutz employee.  He stated the company hauled logs for the Wilson Lumber Co. of the same town.  He also stated Lutz had another locomotive of similar size (of unknown type) operating near Elkwater, West Virginia.  Wilson owned and operated two Class A Climaxes. 


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