Mendocino Lumber Co. Loco #2 – a geared Climax

A Climax locomotive is a type of geared steam locomotive in which the two steam cylinders were attached to a transmission located under the center of the boiler. This transmits power to driveshafts running to the front and rear trucks.

Rush S. Battles patented the basic design in 1891. Battles’ design had horizontal cylinders connected to the drive shaft through a 2-speed transmission. The drive shaft passed just above the axle centers, requiring the use of hypoid bevel gears to transfer power to each axle. Unlike the later and somewhat similar Heisler design, there were no side rods on the trucks and all gearing was open, exposed to the elements. Battles’ patent describes the core design that became the Class B Climax, and as his patent illustrations show the name Climax emblazoned on the locomotive cab.

Charles D. Scott, an inventor who had previously proposed a less successful geared steam locomotive, patented improved versions of Battles’ trucks in 1892 and 1893.Scott’s 1892 patent was the basis of the Class A Climax. His 1892 patent included gear-case enclosures.

Many loggers considered the Climax superior to the Shay in hauling capability and stability, particularly in a smaller locomotive, although the ride was characteristically rough for the crew. Mendocino Lumber Co. owned one of the two Climaxes along the Mendocino Coast – Caspar Lumber Co, owned the other.

Mendocino Lumber Co, #2 Climax loco

Mendocino Lumber Co, #2 Climax loco

 

Building Tunnel #1 on the CWR’s Skunk Train Route Just outside Fort Bragg

Just outside Fort Bragg a 1,112 foot bore, CWR (California Western Railroad) Tunnel #1, runs through the rocky hill between Pudding Creek and the Noyo River. The tunnel was completed more than a century ago, in 1893 and is still in use on the CWR’s Skunk line . The tunnel was built by skilled Chinese laborers but not before there a near riot in Fort Bragg. A mob decided that it was improper for the work to be given to the Chinese. The sheriff rode over on his horse from Ukiah and told the mob they could do the job if they wanted but when it came time to start none of the mob was willing to do the tough, dangerous job of digging through the mountain.

If you look at the pic below you can see some of the Chinese labourers,

Tunnel #1 1892

Tunnel #1 1892

The Unionj Lumber Company’s Picnic, July 12th 1919

Eagle’s nest was located twenty miles from Fort Braggon along the Skunk Train Route. Eagle’s Nest was on the north side of the tracks across from Rest Haven just east of Camp 7. The annual Union Lumber Company picnic was held there every year. Hank Simonson (a club member who has passed) was a regular on the picnic and he fondly remembered the swimming hole there and the wonderful food. Hank’s father was an accomplished violinist and was one of the band that played at the picnic. Below is a picture of the 1919 picnic trains.

July 12th 1919 Union Lumber Picnic Train

July 12th 1919 Union Lumber Picnic Train