Small-Scale Live Steam Locomotives

Resources and Frequently Asked Questions

Shortcuts: [Contents] [What's New] [Introduction] [Where to start?] [Resources] [Manufacturers and Distributors] [Steam in the Garden magazine Index] [Plans and Drawings] [Locomotive Wheels] [Valve Gear simulator] [Things to do with "RUBY"]

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Foreword: what is the Small Scale Live Steam Resources site?

A boy with a steam locomotive is a happy boy!

This site started life as a set of frequently asked questions and answers (FAQ) about small-scale live steam. It was originally written to go in the General section of the rec.models.railroads FAQ, which had a good section on larger live steam -- the kind you can ride on -- but nothing on 1 gauge or 0 gauge steamers.

After I suggested to Large Scale Steam FAQ compiler Frank Kerfoot that he include information on small scale steam locomotives, he suggested that I write it myself. So I did. The topic is across between "large scale" (gauge 1) model railroading general information and "large scale" (1.5 inch scale) live steam information. I have drawn from personal experience, but also from the experience of long-time gauge 1 live steamers like Marc Horovitz (editor of Garden Railways magazine) and Ron Brown (editor of Steam in the Garden magazine), as well as many others I have met at live-steam events.

As I have gathered more information, the FAQ has taken on more of a magazine or reference book format. I have tried to give a thorough but general introduction to hot-water power in 1 gauge and 0 gauge, with the intent to take the mystery out of it and encourage the curious to take the plunge and try it! Lacking a complete book on the subject, and given that most clubs have only one or two live steamers at most, I have also emphasized participation and personal contact. Read the information on this site and you can get a good start. If you can make it to one of the small-scale live steam events (see Resources section for listing and dates), you'll see it for yourself and you can learn the basics first-hand. 


  1. Introduction: what's small-scale live steam all about?
  2. Where to start?
  3. Resources
  4. Manufacturers and Distributors.
  5. Index to Selected Articles from Steam in the Garden Magazine
  6. Making Model Locomotive Wheels
  7. Charles Dockstader's Valve Gear simulator
  8. Things to do with Accucraft's "Ruby"

Also of interest:

ThePages, devoted to flash steam "pop-pop" boats. 

Go to next section(Frequently Asked Questions about Small Scale Live Steam).

Thanks to: Bill Bolton, Ron Brown, Mike Chaney, Benn Coifman (creator of great railroad fonts), Stephen Cox, Geoff H Calver (G1MRA), Dennis Carney, Richard Finlayson, Marc Horovitz (Garden Railways Magazine), Roger Loxley (Roundhouse Engineering), Henner Meinhold, Christoph Ozdoba, Bob Stiegler, Ron Stewart, Harry Wade (Willow Works) and many, many other contributors.  This hobby is just full of wonderful people!

This page last updated: 14 September 2020. Compiled and © copyright 1995-2020 by: Vance R. Bass. 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.