Celebrating a Century: Durbinﾒs Climax #3 engine turns 100
As anyone prepares to celebrate another birthday, especially a special one, they look back and reminisce on the times they have had and the stories of their lives.
This holds true for everything, including the Climax #3 engine in Durbin. As her 100th birthday slowly approaches, the engine continues her daily routine of leading the Durbin Rocket on itﾒs route into the mountains.
She is one of three working Climaxes in the world and one of two still in regular use. A fellow Climax engine, Climax #9, resides at Cass Scenic Railroad and is currently being refurbished. She has experienced a lot in her time on the tracks before she came to her current home in Durbin.
Oh, the stories she could tell.
Climax #3 began her life in Corry, Pennsylvania, where she was built by the Climax Manufacturing Company in November 1910 for the Moore-Keppel Lumber Company.
A Class B engine, she is a 55-ton, two-truck geared logging locomotive.
Between 1911 and 1932, she hauled logs to the Moore-Keppel mill in Ellamore. From 1933 to 1947, she hauled coal and the minerﾒs passenger train from Cassidy to Ellamore.
As lumber and coal companies steered away from using trains, Climax #3 found herself out of a job and lodging at The Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor.
Climax #3 became part of a collection of a variety of modes of transportation from the 1890s to 1950s at the museum.
In 2001, rumors the museum was selling Climax #3 reached John and Kathy Smith, owners of the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad. John wrote to the museum, conveying his wish to return the engine to her home in West Virginia.
As the Smiths entered a bidding war with a Japanese company, the museum asked them if they had any equipment they would be willing to donate to the museum as part of their payment for the engine.
Kathy suggested giving the museum the Leyland Railbus the Smiths owned. The railbus was unfit for the sharp curves on the mountain, so it couldnﾒt be used by the DGVR.
The museum accepted the Smithﾒs offer and sent Climax #3 to her new home in Durbin.
After her long journey, Climax #3 now enjoys taking trips into the mountains of Pocahontas County from May to October.
The Durbin Rocket offers a two-hour ride which covers 10.5 miles along the Greenbrier River and into the Monongahela National Forest.
For more information on times and dates of train rides, visit www.mountainrailwv.com or call 304-636-9477 or toll-free, 877-MTN-RAIL.W