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HOn3 Climax

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  • HOn3 Climax

    Hey gang. Wonderful forum here. I have a thread going over on the Early Rail subforum about research I’m doing on small 1900-ish Pennsylvania railroads, many of which are 3’ narrow gauge lines. There’s been some great input. Thought the narrow gauge gang might be interested. It’s here:

    I do have one narrow gauge specific question. Most of the small railroads I’m interested in ran 3’ gauge Climaxes. I’ve researched what’s available in HOn3, and came up with some Class A locomotives and the little 18-ton Flying Bee(?) brass. The lines I’d like to model all ran 25-30 ton engines. I was wondering if I had missed something that might be available. Or a kit bash that’s possible. Looks like the 18-ton loco could be “up-rated” to 25-tons with a larger boiler and bunker.

    Here’s White Deer & Loganton No. 1 at Loganton:

    Anyway, thought I’d say hello. Appreciate any help!

  • #2
    Neat photo.
    Karl Scribner-Curmudgeon

    Cedar Swamp
    SW of Manistique, MI

    AVATAR Image stolen from Model Train Stuff advertisement in my e-mail


    • #3
      Small class B Climax in Hon3 is rare. You mentioned the Flying Zoo 18-ton engine but there is also a SUGIYAMA MODELS 25-TON CLASS "B" Climax, modern, wagontop boiler and steel cab.

      Fellow PA modeler George Pierson, built a Class B climax using another mechanism and published a how to article in the May 2006 NG&SLG

      He also made a 45-ton climax as discussed in the Feb 1996 MR

      You can check out his nice layout on You Tube:

      Finally, you also mentioned Class A climax loco's there was one operating on the logging line off the WD&L.



      My Website:


      • #4
        Hi, Brian. Thanks for the lead on the Sugiyama 25-ton Class B. I’ll look it up. I think the little Flying Zoo could be kit bashed if the mechanism is good. Looks like a lot of the dimensions are right except for the smaller boiler and bunker.

        George Pierson’s layout is fantastic. I’ve been a fan since I ran across it. But I wasn’t aware of the build of the Climax. I’ll be sure to look up that issue of the Gazzette.

        From what I can gather, the Class A that was owned by the WD&L (or White Deer Valley RR...) stayed in White Deer around the mill and shops until it was sold to Watsontown Brick.

        BTW... incredible layout. I’ve had it bookmarked for a few months since starting down this little road and I gotta say, for a freelanced railroad, everything really rings true. Very well done!!



        • #5
          I may have found the basis for a bash. Apparently, in addition to the tiny 18-ton Climax, Sugiyama made a 25-ton. Haven’t been able to locate one for sale though...


          • #6
            That would be a dandy, Ryan.


            • #7
              Finders fee if anyone can help me locate one!!


              • #8
                Ryan, I just noticed the huge head lamp on the rear of the Climax. Where I'm from, that was a sure sign that a loco spent just as much time going in reverse as it did going forward. Maybe there was no turntable at Loganton.


                • #9
                  There wasn’t a turntable at Loganton... but I have a few contemporary accounts that say that eventually there was a wye. I’m not sure. All photos I have of Loganton show the smokey end of the Climax ‘uphill’, whether the train was arriving or leaving. So for a portion of history, the locomotive wasn’t turned, and that’s how I’ll model it. I’ve eliminated the turntable from my Loganton layout design. And if I can get this HOn3 25-ton Climax built, I’d eliminate the turntable from Werley as well.

                  Other interesting facts about the White Deer & Loganton Climaxes: No. 1 and 2 both were equipped with knuckle couplers, air brakes, and steam heat for the coaches. No. 1 had the large headlamp on the tender, but No. 2 did not. Both were geared for higher speeds than typical. These are pretty rare features since the WD&L was a common carrier rather than a logging or mining railroad where most Climaxes were utilized. The Eagles Mere 30-tonner was similarly equipped.

                  Neat stuff, eh?

                  I’m serious about a finders fee. Otherwise I’m gonna have to butcher a Bachmann 50-ton HO and a Westside Class A to bash one together...


                  • #10
                    LOL ... I guess I fell behind on the status of the TT on the Loganton layout.


                    • #11
                      Hi Ryan,

                      Would have replied earlier, but had some logging in trouble, probably from my end.

                      That 25 ton climax was brought in by Jonan, built by Sugiama, same folks who made the Flying Zoo and Jonan 18 ton climax. Decent mechanism, in my experience the Jonan climax is much noisier than the earlier Flying Zoo model.

                      The 25 ton engine is quite rare. Very small run, some ho, some hon3, some hon30. All I've seen were factory painted, just like your picture. Years ago I saw an hon30 example at Howard Zanes brass show in Timonium Maryland, and it was well over 500.00. In the last few years an hon3 one went for over 900.00 on e bay. So..., they are rare, and pricey when they come up. I usually have no problem cutting up brass to get what I want, but I would hesitate to spend so much on a model and then replace the whole superstructure. If you can find one, and have the deep pockets, I think I'd letter it WD&L and be happy with it. Its kind of like cutting up a Deusenberg to make a hot rod. I would also want to hear one of these run, as my Jonan climax is really irritating to run, just far too noisy. I'm looking into replacing the reduction gears with little drive belts from Nigel Lawton, hopefully that will quiet the little monster down.

                      There is a very nice Jonan 14 ton Heisler on e bay right now. Not cheap, but would be a terrific engine for a one engine railroad display, like you are making.

                      The NWSL Gilbert Patent/Dunkirk engine is the best running hon3 geared engine I've encountered. Some go for a decent price on e bay, less than when new. Dave Hoffman has all of the parts from the original run, and offered new ones some time ago. He probably still has some, or would build one for you. Some modelers don't like the Gilbert for its lack of monkey motion like a shay, but its quiet, runs smooth, and pulls well for its size.

                      As far as small rod engines in hon3, in my opinion the Lambert C&S 2-6-0 is your best choice, to convert into a more generic 2-6-0. Runs well, and Wayne Weiss makes a Faulhaber conversion that would make it your favorite engine. I'm converting a very old Gem NB&W 2-6-0 into an EBT engine and so far I would't recommend one, built fairly crude, and difficult to get to run well. The FED engines are still easy to get, and small, but need some work to run well, starting with a better motor.

                      Save your money, keep looking, you will find the right engine.

                      brian b


                      • #12
                        Hey, Brian. Was hoping you’d chime in!

                        GREAT to know just how rare this model is. You’re right, I’d hesitate to do anything permanent to a scarce piece of brass. The 18-tonners come up fairly regularly... I’d feel better following your pattern for bashing it. The real challenge is getting HOn3 Climax trucks and a good plan for the cross box to turn the flywheels. I have a good plan if those can be sourced. Bachmann for motor and gearing. Westside or NWSL for trucks. Or an HOn3 18-ton and put the effort into making it run smoothly.

                        I’ll take a look at the Heisler. I like them a lot too. Can’t get excited about a Shay though. The NWSL Dunkirk is another I’m actively hunting. I really like Dunkirks. The Eagles Mere R.R. had several. (I’m actually passing through Sonestown in about an hour...) I'm really motivated to get a Climax going, followed by a Dunkirk.

                        I don’t know much about small narrow gauge rod engines in brass, so I appreciate the guidance there. I’ll take a look.

                        Your Alfarata Climax gives me all the confidence in the world that this is achievable. Thanks for jumping in!


                        • #13
                          PS - good to know about the NB&W 2-6-0... I’ve looked at them a number of times and thought they looked a bit crude. That’s a neat local narrow gauge as well and I drive the valley between New Berlin and Winfield a couple times a month.

                          Drove the Williamsport & N. Branch from Halls to Ringdale yesterday on the way to our camp. Stopped in Sonestown where I located the site of the narrow gauge EMRR wye. Always impressed by this railroad. The W&NB really pushed through some rugged and beautiful country.


                          • #14
                            I have a 18T Climax in HOn30 and a 14T Heisler. The Heisler is pretty rare, but the 25T Climax is even rarer. You might end up paying over a $1000 if you find one.

                            Have you considered O scale? The Bachmann On30 Climax can be had for under $200 and they can be re-gauged to On3 easy as well. Not trying to rain on the parade, but what you want is easy in O scale.

                            If you really want that 25T Climax in HOn3 I'd look up Katsumi Yamamoto in Japan and see if he can find you one.


                            • #15

                              Here's a place you might find what you need/want. It's a brass dealer. They have all scales and gauges. The link leads to their HOn3 stock of equipment.


                              New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds