Climax Geared Steam Locomotives

Geared Steam Locomotive Works ©

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Animated Climaxes courtesy of Rick Henderson's   PC-Rails




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Master List




Converted to IC  


The basic Climax  consisted of 2 steam cylinders whose piston rods came out of the cylinders and attached to a transmission located under the center part of the engine frame.   Connected to front and rear of the transmission were drive shafts which ran along the center line of the engine below the boiler, cab, and fuel bunker.  The drive shafts were connected to gear boxes in each truck.  These gear boxes, unlike those of the Heisler, supplied power directly to both wheel sets in each truck.


The engines were manufactured with two cylinders with three possible physical arrangements.   See Climax Components for more.
Models with either two or three truck sets were manufactured. The three truck models were used on those engines that required more power and more fuel.   The third truck was powered and carried a tender (similar to those on "rod" engines) to carry additional fuel and water.
The text in the previous two paragraphs is a basic summarization of  a more formal grouping or classification system that existed for the Climaxes.

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Class "A"  - 2 vertical cylinders, 4 wheel, vertical boiler.
About 4 locomotives with  2 axles, 4 wheels, 2 vertical cylinders, and a vertical boiler were produced.  They weighed between 7 - 8 tons.  Note the double flanged wheels with "cleats" for operation on a log "pole" road.  Unlike the other Class "A" units, these were single speed, not utilizing the dual speed transmission typical on the the other Class "A" units.

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Class "A"  - 2 vertical cylinders, 2 truck, vertical boiler

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Class "A"  - 2   vertical cylinders, 2 trucks,  horizontal "tee" boiler
The boiler was positioned vertically or horizontally(tee style).  Two speed gearbox. Frame similar to a flat car with a shed or awning built up over the frame to protect the engineer from the elements.  The two steam cylinders were vertically positioned in the covering super-structure. They were manufactured in weights below 22 tons.

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Class "B" -  2  inclined cylinders,  2 trucks, horizontal "straight" boiler

Horizontal boiler.  The cylinders on a few of the early units in this class were mounted horizontally above the center of the front truck and just below the horizontal center line of the boiler.  However, the cylinders on vast majority of the units manufactured in this class  were mounted on a 30-45 degree incline (from horizontal) above the rear wheel set of the front truck.   They were manufactured in  weights from 17 - 60 tons.

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Class "C" - 2 inclined cylinders, 3 truck, horizontal "wagon top" boiler

Horizontal boiler. With cylinders outside and inclined.  They were manufactured in weights from 50 - 100 tons.


First manufactured by Climax Manufacturing Company and subsequently by Climax Locomotive Works both of which were located in Corry, Pennsylvania.   A factory agency with shop was established in Seattle, Washington to sell and service the locomotives on the West Coast.

The largest quantity of locomotives ever under construction at any one time at the the Corry facility was  5.

When Manufactured:

March 1888 - 1928 (40 years)

Geographic Use:

Although some engines were exported (Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand...), the vast majority were used from coast to coast in the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii).    In the United States, more Climaxes were sold to companies in Washington state than any other. 


1000-1100 were manufactured.  The most manufactured in any one year was 50.

Sizes:  See Classification above.

Fuels: Wood, coal, and oil.

Invented by:

Charles Darwin Scott - Spartansburg, Pennsylvania - circa 1875 -1878

Patented by George D. Gilbert.   Gilbert, who was a relative by marriage of Charles D. Scott, was a design engineer for the Climax Manufacturing Company and subsequently for the Dunkirk Engineering Company.    


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This page changed: Friday October 29, 2021 07:30:53 AM