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Live Steam Trains & Model Railroads

Live steam locomotives are models that operate by steam under pressure, produced by heating water in a boiler. Live steam model trains are usually larger scales that allow people to ride on them. These model trains are often found at amusement parks, tourist attractions, carnivals, and similar locations. Hobbyists may also have their own private live steam trains.

Live steam trains differ from garden railroads in size. Garden railroads are usually built in G scale, which ranges from 1:24 to 1:29 model scale. Live steam trains, on the other hand, are larger, typically 1:8 model scale. Live steam hobbyists often build their own model railroads from scratch, taking years to complete a private railway. Purchasing live steam trains that are already built can be very costly, from a few thousand for used equipment to over $100,000 for a complete brand new train.

One of the most famous live steam model railroads was located in Walt Disney's backyard. The animator and film producer had a fascination with trains. Helped by studio staff, Disney constructed a half mile 1:8 live steam train layout in his backyard in 1949. This train inspired Disney to include a narrow gauge steam train in his Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim, California.


Quick Facts

  • Some of the first model trains produced in the 1800s ran on live steam. These model trains were toy sized and were designed to run on the floor. They were abandoned in favor of clockworks due to the puddles of water they left behind
  • The world's largest live steam model railroad is Train Mountain, located near Chiloquin, Oregon
  • Founded in 1987 by Quentin Breen, Train Mountain includes 36 miles of 7.5 gauge track on 2,205 acres of pine forest. Train Mountain is now owned by the Train Mountain Institute

Recommended Items at Auction

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Four Stationary Brass Steam Engines
May 26, 10:00 AM EDT
Four Stationary Brass Steam Engines
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $40
$504 Bids
4 Ga Stevens For Clyde Dock Yard Live Steam Loco
May 25, 10:00 AM EDT
4 Ga Stevens For Clyde Dock Yard Live Steam Loco
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $800- $1,600
$4001 Bid
GRP inc Mamod boxed Mamod Steam Tractor, 2x
May 26, 10:00 AM BST
GRP inc Mamod boxed Mamod Steam Tractor, 2x
by Vectis Auctions Ltd
Est: £40- £60
£201 Bid
A GOOD QUALITY 3 1/2" GAUGE LIVE STEAM LOCOMOTIVE "TICH"
May 27, 10:00 AM BST
A GOOD QUALITY 3 1/2" GAUGE LIVE STEAM LOCOMOTIVE "TICH"
by Hutchinson Scott Limited
Est: £800- £1,200
£4000 Bids
Bing 1 Gauge 4021 Live Steam Locomotive
May 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Bing 1 Gauge 4021 Live Steam Locomotive
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $400- $800
$2000 Bids
3 Gauge Bing For Bassette Lowke Live Steam Tender
May 25, 10:00 AM EDT
3 Gauge Bing For Bassette Lowke Live Steam Tender
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $300- $600
$1500 Bids
Early Bing 0-35 Live Steam Locomotive
May 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Early Bing 0-35 Live Steam Locomotive
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Southwind Union Pacific 318 S Scale Brass Consolidation Steam Engine
May 29, 11:00 AM EDT
Southwind Union Pacific 318 S Scale Brass Consolidation Steam Engine
by Railroad Super Galaxy
Est: $750- $1,250
$5000 Bids
Vintage EP Live Steam Engine
May 29, 11:00 AM EDT
Vintage EP Live Steam Engine
by Railroad Super Galaxy
Est: $75- $125
$350 Bids
Ideal Large Scale Steam Engines
May 29, 11:00 AM EDT
Ideal Large Scale Steam Engines
by Railroad Super Galaxy
Est: $25- $50
$50 Bids
KMP Models O Scale Yarder Steam Donkey Kit
May 29, 11:00 AM EDT
KMP Models O Scale Yarder Steam Donkey Kit
by Railroad Super Galaxy
Est: $150- $250
$800 Bids
Mamod TE1a Steam Tractor, appears unused
May 27, 10:00 AM BST
Mamod TE1a Steam Tractor, appears unused
by Vectis Auctions Ltd
Est: £60- £90
£350 Bids
Scratchbuilt Horizontal Single Cylinder Steam
May 27, 10:00 AM BST
Scratchbuilt Horizontal Single Cylinder Steam
by Vectis Auctions Ltd
Est: £30- £40
£150 Bids
Twin Simple Vertical Marine Steam Engine
May 27, 10:00 AM BST
Twin Simple Vertical Marine Steam Engine
by Vectis Auctions Ltd
Est: £80- £120
£450 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Live Steam Trains & Model Railroads


Weiss Auctions

Weiss Auctions

Vectis Auctions Ltd

Vectis Auctions Ltd

Railroad Super Galaxy

Railroad Super Galaxy

Hutchinson Scott Limited

Hutchinson Scott Limited