Running Live Steam Engines in the Garden

We have had a little Ruby live steam engine for a few years and enjoy running it. There is something very pleasing about adding some water, gas and a little flame to make your train run.  It is about as close to real railroading as you can get. Could you imagine pouring some diesel into your train before starting up the motor! So if you are not into live steam what is keeping you from getting started and giving it a try?

David Clapper: Live steam has been running through my blood stream since I was a young boy back in the 1940s. I had a stationary steam engine that I used to power Erector Set projects. (Wish I still had them!!!) As an "older boy" I have a Mamod steam tractor and a live steam locomotive. I don't run them as often as I should, it does take a bit of effort to prepare them for running. The loco will pull a light 2 axle car for 20-30 minutes. Love the chuff sound and the steam exhaust!

Geran Miller: I have several live steam engines from the Ruby to a Roundhouse SR&RL and several I have built from kits or from scratch. I also run track power and battery power. My Ruby runs ok but you get what you pay for, my Roundhouse Millie is a much better runner and requires less upkeep. Try live steam if you get the chance, it is really something to watch, it's almost live the engine is alive.

Mike Evans: I've watched the Ruby on some demo layouts at shows and noticed it is hard to control and has limited pulling capacity. However, the little Shay I saw run looked to be very reliable and powerful but was a little over my price range. I am also concerned about depositing so much steam oil on my rails - how difficult would it be to clean it off to run conventionally powered trains or even battery operated? Also concerned about how to radio control the live steamer.

John Fuller: I have battery, R/C electrics that I started with and still run from time-to-time. There is just something about the working mechanics of a Live Steamer. The sound of the chuffs, the steam from the stack, the live steam whistle making everyone’s head turn. Live steamers come to life and it is a whole different experience!

Chris Wolcott: Just as some folks like steam era and some like diesel, some like battery and others like track power, Live Steam is not for every one. I got into it because I was spending $900+/- on LGB steam engines and the Ruby came out for half that. I thought I'd try the real thing thinking I could always sell it if I didn't like it. For me, I like the mechanical aspect of it. The constant tinkering and hands-on requirements is what draws me to it. I have R/C'd my Ruby, and plan to R/C my Americanized Lady Anne and Accucraft C-21 when I can.
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