Small-Scale Live Steam

Where to start?

For the eager beginner, or for the merely curious, I would recommend two sources of information. Both are, not coincidentally, from tireless small-scale steam promoter Marc Horovitz. Details on finding both are below.

For a thorough introduction to how steamers work, how they differ from electric models, how to buy or build them, and how to run them, get Marc Horovitz' A Passion for Steam. The information is enough to give you an idea of whether you would like to pursue steam further, and you will know a great deal about how the locos work and are built.

While less focused, a good broad education in little steamers can be gained by reading the early issues of Steam in the Garden magazine. I have indexed a number of SitG articles from back issues which I think will give a good, basic education in buying, running, maintaining and building little steamers. Steam in the Garden back issues are available from SitG.

If, after reading the book chapter and seeing the videotape, you're even more interested, it's time to find some nearby steam mentors. Your local garden railroading club is likely to have at least one other member with a live steamer. (Ask around, even if you've been in the club a long time. Some people don't bring them out until someone else expresses interest in steam.) Try Ron Stewart's steamers' e-mail address list (reference below) to locate a steam fan near you. Write or call a lot of manufacturers and dealers and order catalogs or get product lists to learn what's available, new and used.

And book your hotel room for the next steam-up. You're hooked!

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Compiled and © copyright 1995-2011 by: Vance R. Bass. All rights reserved.  Please use any and all information contained herein for your hobby enjoyment. If you're going to make money from it, talk to me first.

Last updated: 5 July, 2011.