Hillcrest Lumber Co. No. 9

Technical data:

  • Catalog designation: Style “B” Code Word “Cass” (50 ton 2-truck).
  • Weight in working order: 50 tons.
  • Light weight: 44 tons.
  • Built: 1915 as c/n 1359.
  • Cylinder dimensions: 13×16.
  • Boiler pressure: 180 pounds per square inch.
  • Hauling capacity on straight level track: 2500 tons.
  • Gauge: standard (56.5 inches)
  • Fuel: oil.

History:

  • Purchased new by the M.D. Olds Lumber Company of Birch Michigan, No.9 spent time with the Alberta Lumber Company (Vancouver), McNair Timber (Queen Charlotte Islands), the Canadian Robert Dollar Lumber Company (Courtenay area), Abernethy & Lougheed Logging (Port Haney area of the Fraser Valley) and Scottish Palmer Logging (CNR line, 10 miles south of Lake Cowichan), before coming to Hillcrest Lumber as No.2.
  • When the timber supply at Sathlam was exhausted in 1942, the operation was moved from Wheatley to Mesachie Lake, over E&N trackage to Lake Cowichan and then 3 miles to Mesachie Lake over the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Company’s Robertson River Railway.
  • To avoid confusion with other logging engines using VL&M trackage, No.2 was renumbered No.9. When railway logging at Mesachie Lake ended in 1949, No.9 became a backup to No.10, a newer 70-ton Climax that switched the mill and interchanged freight cars with the E&N terminus at Lake Cowichan, until the mill closed in 1968
  • Hillcrest Lumber’s Stone Family donated No.9 to the (then) Cowichan Valley Forest Museum in 1968, where it was on outdoor display until 1989, when it was moved to a newly constructed locomotive shed and restored to operation by Museum staff and volunteers for RailFair 91 at Sacramento, California.
  • For a number of years, No.9 was steamed-up on special event days and run up and down a very short length of standard gauge track. It remains in operational condition, but has not been certified in recent years, due to budgetary and other constraints.
  • Although Climax switched from Stephenson link to Walschaerts valve gear in 1915, No.9 is fitted with the former. As the only operational (authentic) Climax in Canada, and one of a very few in the world, No.9 is a rare locomotive and a very important component of the BC Forest Discovery Centre collection.