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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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Jensen 76 Vintage Steam Engine
Jun 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Jensen 76 Vintage Steam Engine
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$555 Bids
COUNTRY STORE COIN-OPERATED COUNTER-TOP TRADE STIMULATOR / STEAM ENGINE MODEL
Jun 21, 9:00 AM EDT
COUNTRY STORE COIN-OPERATED COUNTER-TOP TRADE STIMULATOR / STEAM ENGINE MODEL
by Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates
Est: $600- $900
$3754 Bids
Two Custom S Scale Steam Locomotive & Tenders. NYC & NJC
Jun 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Two Custom S Scale Steam Locomotive & Tenders. NYC & NJC
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $140
$202 Bids
A 1930'S GERMAN LIVE STEAM ENGINE
Jul 10, 10:00 AM BST
A 1930'S GERMAN LIVE STEAM ENGINE
by Hutchinson Scott Limited
Est: £600- £800
£3001 Bid
Unique Art No. 1950 steam locomotive with freight cars
Jun 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Unique Art No. 1950 steam locomotive with freight cars
by Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists
Est: $20- $140
$101 Bid
VERY LARGE MODEL OF A STEAM LOCOMOT
Jun 24, 10:00 AM CEST
VERY LARGE MODEL OF A STEAM LOCOMOT
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids
A Vintage working steam engine model well 41 x 24 cm.
Jun 21, 10:00 AM BST
A Vintage working steam engine model well 41 x 24 cm.
by Hannam's Auctioneers
Est: £20- £40
£150 Bids
Airfix 1804 Steam Locomotive plastic Kit
Jun 17, 6:00 PM AEST
Airfix 1804 Steam Locomotive plastic Kit
by Trains, Planes and Automobiles
Est: AUD50- AUD100
AUD200 Bids
Steam Machine
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CEST
Steam Machine
by Deutsch Auktionen
Est: €50- €100
€500 Bids
STEAM ENGINE DRIVING A FLYWHEEL, MID
Jun 22, 10:00 AM CEST
STEAM ENGINE DRIVING A FLYWHEEL, MID
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€800 Bids
Stationary Steam Engine with Three Tools
Jun 22, 11:00 AM EDT
Stationary Steam Engine with Three Tools
by Fontaine's Auction Gallery
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$7500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Live Steam Trains & Model Railroads


Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Stout Auctions Toy and Train Specialists

Historia Auctionata

Historia Auctionata

Fontaine's Auction Gallery

Fontaine's Auction Gallery

Hutchinson Scott Limited

Hutchinson Scott Limited