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Cold weather 16mm narrow gauge live steaming

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  • Member since
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  • From: Kokomo, Indiana
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Cold weather 16mm narrow gauge live steaming
Posted by emdmike on Saturday, December 5, 2020 3:41 PM

With Covid going haywire around here, all big gatherings and shows are canceled.  So we live steamers do what we can, small get togethers with lots of social distancing outdoors on our own railways.  My friend brought his Roundhouse Engineering Lilla, a quarry Hunslet locomotive, gas fired and RC controled over to run.  I ran my venrable old Merlin Locomotive Works Mayflower named Smaug.  Also gas fired and RC controled.  Both have updated RC from RCS with palm size controlers, which fit nicely in one's pocket to keep that hand warm.  With the temp at 36'F, nice steam plumes can be seen.   Enjoy!    Mike

 

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Saturday, December 5, 2020 5:30 PM

Mike,

very cool! I may still dabble in live steam one day.....

I look at you tube a lot, apparently Regner made a live steam cog engine. Just saying.... sounds like something I would do....

Paul

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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, December 5, 2020 7:05 PM

Regner does a nice geared logging engine called the Lumberjack, both as a screwdriver assembly kit(already painted ect) or ready to run.  Roundhouse does a neat little 0-4-0 saddle tank engine called Sammie in their basic model range for well under 1K.  Live steam is fun, no track power required, you can get the fuel at the local Walmart sporting goods dept.   Mike

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Saturday, December 5, 2020 7:15 PM

O.k., thanks, Mike. I'll look into it. I have a question, though:

the majority of my fleet is track powered conventional power. This works well enough for my modest system. If I run live steam, do the engines throw oil and grease that might interfere with running track power afterwords? This has been something that has held me back.

Thanks,

Paul

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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, December 5, 2020 8:44 PM

They do make the track a bit oily if you run them alot.  But for the average person with one live steamer that runs it only on occasion there really isnt a problem.  I ran track power and live steam for many years till rail joint issues from corrsion pushed me to onboard battery power(Highly Recommended!!).  I have slowly shifted to mostly live steam operation as its sooo much more enjoyable to me. From the smells and honest steam sounds.  Sources for second hand live steam are Anything Narrow Gauge, John Sutton Books & Models and The Train Dept.  Even if its not listed on the website, message the owner as that is how I have found a few UK models for friends.  An LGB track cleaning block(should be required for all track powred set ups) makes quick work on putting a clean shine back on the rails.   Mike

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Saturday, December 5, 2020 9:11 PM

O.k. Sounds good. I'll keep an eye out , and hopefully find what I like. Still looking for another cog engine. Like to find the LGB 20471 Ballenberg rack engine, or another LGB electric engine. LGB / Marklin has a new cog engine, but out of my price range, unfortunately. Not sure what the Regner might go for...

Paul

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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, December 5, 2020 9:27 PM

There has been a LGB/Aster Frank S live steamer on ebay just recently for well under 1K that is an excellent starter engine, they normally run excellent, have an easy to see water site glass on the back of the boiler and will run on any of LGB's curve radius and smoothly thru their switches.  Roundhouse is my current suggested brand if your going to go brand new.  They are made in batches, so might be a year to 18 months before you receive your model.  They run flawlessly with lots of extra upgrades you can add.  They are also great beginner models.  The Billy has a LGB look to it and can be ordered with red frames and black boiler/cab to keep the German look if so desired.  For the UK look, the Lady Anne or Katie.  For the less expensive, the Bertie is UK, the Jennie could be UK or even USA/German with the right color choices and some added details.  Sammie is a USA style saddle tank.  Just depends how much $$ you wish to spend.  You cannot go wrong with ANY Roundhouse Engineering model.  Mike

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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, December 5, 2020 9:35 PM

Here are a few of my engines I have owned over the years.  This one is Bertie, manual controled from the Roundhouse basic range

Roundhouse Fowler built from a kit(really wish I still had this one)

Roundhouse Lady Anne

And LGB/Aster Frank S

I currently own 2 live steamers. the already mentioned Merlin Mayflower and my wife has a Pearse 0-4-0 with slope back tender(very hard to find model).  

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Sunday, December 6, 2020 9:24 AM

Thanks, Mike! I agree the Fowler is a gtreat looking engine. Reminiscent of Queensland cane operations. But for my current system, the Aster Frank S would fit right in. A lot to consider, but looks a lot more do- able....

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, December 6, 2020 4:19 PM
Mike, thanks for the informative thread. Like Paul, this is a direction I'd consider exploring, but it is currently out of my price range. I am also dubious on the logistics, given there are no hobby shops that cater to this out here. I'd hate to find the funds only to find I cannot find the steam oil. - eric
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Posted by emdmike on Monday, December 7, 2020 1:53 PM

Steam oil you can get from The Train Department out in NJ via mail order easy peasy.  The butane gas mix aka IsoButane that I burn, which works better in various temps than straight butane comes from the sporting goods department at Walmart, comes in short or taller cans.  You will need a screw on adapter for those cans and the place with steam oil has all of these things.   Distilled water is what you need to use in the boiler, NOT Deionized or tap water.  That can be gotten at Walmart or any grocery in gallon or later jugs.  The place I mentioned at the beginning of this post has all the steam supplies you will need right here in the states and you can point/click/order right on his site.  You can save $$ going direct to Roundhouse or order from him,  Regner you have to get thru his site.  Regner does have a sharp little tramway engine for under $1300 that is geared comming out in a couple months that is really sharp.  Regners are good runners but use brass for the boiler instead of copper, so you need to drain them totally empty and leave the safety valve off so it can dry out if the engine is to not be run for a period of time.   Leaving water in them can draw the zinc out of the brass and lead to pin holes developing in the boiler.   No these will not go boom if there is a boiler issue.  They are low pressure steam, under 3 bar.  G gauge live steam is way over engineered and very very safe.  Mike

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Monday, December 7, 2020 9:24 PM

Mike,

 you seem to have the passion for live steam, as well as the knowledge. When I actually decide on a loco purchase, I will bring my many questions to you. I'm sure I will at some point.

Paul

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 12:22 AM

Mike,

 

Mahalo (Thanks!)!  I have been pondering this for some time.  I even bought Marc Horovitz's book "A Passion for Steam" to build a modicum of knowledge. Your answer says it can be done.  The crew is getting older, so the experience of running live steam may make it something that should be done.  It is really going to come down to the initial investment weighed against what else is going on around here. 

 

Eric

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Posted by emdmike on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 12:28 AM

Its gotten to where I mostly run live steam, over my battery powered stuff or even my indoor Lionel stuff.  The smells, the sounds, its honest and not some computer program on a chip being played thru a speaker.  With RC control(very imporatant for me to keep my anxiety at bay), its fun to trundle around the layout at a scale speed, stop at the station, shunt wagons into the saw mill and brewery.  Live steam was the main reason I got into G scale.  While I would love a ride on scale engine in 7.5 gauge, the cost, the infastructure to handle and load such a heavy engine is well beyond my means.  But I can carry G scale steamers around with ease.  Another great book is Steam in your Garden by Tag Gorton, while heavy on the British focus, its a great read and covers important points when buying your first engine.   Mike

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