Running Live Steam Engines in the Garden
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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