Playing with trains is fun, playing with bigger and bigger trains gets increasingly more fun.  Take the hobby of Live Steam and Live Diesels.  It doesn't get much better unless you own a real railroad.

One of the best examples of the hobby is Russ Eldridge's White Creek Railroad just north of Grand Rapids Michigan, where he has approximately seven miles of track.  What makes Russ' track interesting is that he has track going all over the place, and it's not just a big loop, thereby providing engineers with multiple opportunities to maximize their fun..... Just watch out for those crossovers!..... :-)  The picture at the top of the page was taken there in 2009, on the trestle coming back from Three Mile Island.

One other railroad that stands out from the others is Train Mountain in Oregon.  They hold the record for the largest "model" railroad in the Guinness Book of Records, with 70,000 feet of mainline (13 1/4 miles), and a total of 133,250 feet (25 1/4 miles).

Below are some of the places I have had a chance to visit.  I've also been to the Los Angeles Live Steamers and the live steam group in Roanoke, many, many years ago before they moved, someday I will scan the slides.

Live Steam and Diesel Railroads I Have A Page For
Unless noted, they are 1/8 scale, 7-1/2 or 7-1/4 gauge

CALS - Chesapeake & Allegheny Live Steamers / Baltimore MD
CALS Homepage (now on Facebook)

White Creek RR / Grand Rapids MI
White Creek's Homepage

The Sykesville Train / Sykesville MD

The Mid-Michigan Railroad Club / Marshall MI
Mid-Michigan Homepage

Junction Valley RR / Bridgeport MI
Was A Quarter Scale Railroad, Closed in 2018

the Traverse Steam Train / formerly in Traverse City MI

Signal Aspects for Train Mountain in Oregon
Train Mountain Homepage

Los Angeles Live Steamers Homepage
Los Angeles Live Steamers on Facebook

Building a 1/8 scale New York City R-33 Subway Car

Note: The pages for Junction Valley and the Traverse Steam Train are part of my railfan guide series.  While the Junction Valley/Bridgeport page is 100% JV, the Traverse Steam Train part of that page is just a small part of the guide to the area.

Links and Additional Information

The Live Steam hobby is a great hobby, regardless of the scale you decide to involve yourself in.  Here are some more links of places you can go for more information and inspiration:

I don't know why, but it seems to me that guys in the UK have more "iron" or something in their blood, cause they sure do have some great railroading over there, and the Live Steam scene is no exception.  For a good place to start, check out Peter's website: http://www.miniaturerailwayworld.co.uk/

A page of links by the Friends of Train Mountain: http://www.friendstm.org/Clubs/AllClubsUSA.shtml

Good all around source of info, and great sales page: http://www.discoverlivesteam.com/

A page of links by RailServe, including manufacturers of supplies and equipment: http://www.railserve.com/Models/Live_Steam/Suppliers/


Here are just a few of them, as there are many:

http://mountaincar.intuitwebsites.com/  is now: http://titantrains.net/
One of the premier gas/hydraulic locomotive manufacturers of 1/8 scale stuff, located in Salem VA
The MCC site will redirect you to the Titan Trains website.

http://ridetrains.net/p1.htm  An inexpensive way to start in the hobby!

http://www.plumcovestudios.com/  Another easy way to break into the 1/8 scale hobby.

http://www.discoverlivesteam.com/forsale/1_braun/index.htm  A Hobby Foundry, all sorts of castings.

http://www.easyhandlingcompany.com/OutdoorTrains/OutdoorTrains.html  "Big Joe Trains", another source for 1/8 scale gas/hydraulic locos

http://thetrainworks.com/  1/8 scale locos available in either gas/hydraulic or electric.

http://www.herringengineer.com/  Custom designed equipment.

http://www.mr-motion.net/  Mr Motion, another inexpensive way to enter the hobby, ~$1400 for a basic loco kit.

http://www.precisionsteelcar.com/  Cast detail parts.

http://www.railroadsupply.com/  Morris RR supply, famous for their 1/8 scale gas powered SW-1500's, is now Railroad Supply Company.

Want to roll your own hydraulic system, here are some formulas to help you:

current as of mid 2021


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in :-)

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Please be NICE!!!  Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


NEW 09/24/2007, JUN25/2017, JAN02/2022
Last Modified:  03-Jan-2022