Is the live steam hobby in decline?

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shild
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by shild » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:16 pm

FKreider wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:59 pm
shild wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:24 pm
JohnK wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:16 am
Built a track, too. Own and take care of a house. Got my Raritan 60% finished.
Did you build the track at your own house? Is it highline or groundline?
John has some youtube video's about it on his website:

http://www.friendsmodels.com/youtubevideos.html

Pretty neat, I'd love to do a small old school highline in my backyard some day.
Nice! So John, that's your highline? I've seen all those videos before, that's very nice! I wonder if there would be enough room for you to move the shed and make the line U shaped?

JohnK
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by JohnK » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:07 am

Thank you.

I did a bunch of videos and took pictures as we built it; I will publish soon on my site, a brief presentation of how it was built. The main point is, is that with very little land you can nevertheless still squeeze in a live steam RR on your property.

Removing the shed and making it a U, would make the radius too small for my liking; also, the other side of the yard is a driveway with absolutely no land on which to build. It would only be able to be a "J" shape, with too tight of a curve. As it is, it's 90 feet long and has a nice grade in the side yard. This is 90 feet longer than what we had before I built it, and 82 feet longer than my "HO" train set was when I was a kid.

Having a short highline at your home opens up a world of possibilities for enjoyment of steam. One thing I look forward to, is having steam pull the work train when the track needs maintenance. I can work on the track, and one of our kids or a friend can use the steam loco and a work car to run tools or hardware out to me from the shed. It turns "work", into an enjoyable steam run day. The work isn't work, though...I have always enjoyed working on the track.

Also, consider: I detest landscaping & yard work, but love weed wacking under the track with the string trimmer. (It makes you feel a little like you're on a track crew clearing brush with a scythe 100 years ago on the real RR!)

And pouring fresh gravel in the yard isn't the boring landscape chore it normally would be.....it's reballasting the railroad!

As you walk on the ballast, it sounds just like you're walking on a real RR as you, foreman of tracks, walk your section.

The track has been a phenomenal way to enjoy other aspects of live steam (civil enginering/layout, track building/carpentry, track crew, grounds crew/landscaping, and running on a track that YOU built) that most people don't get to do, and a great way for my wife to get me to do, and to enjoy, yard work.

You can even host running meets, and have guests and their engines visit.

If you have ANY available land, try a short "back and forth" highline!

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NP317
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by NP317 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:09 am

My first introduction to Live Steam was when I was about 8 years old (~1958). I lived in Los Altos, CA, and there was a Gentleman in town with an "L" shaped highline 3.5" gauge track in his yard. He gave me (and other kids) rides behind his 4-6-4 Hudson. We learned about it for a photo article in the local newspaper "The Town Crier." 'Left a HUGE impression on me.

I later (1990?) discovered his locomotive on display at the Seattle Museum of History and Industry (MOHI), now located in the former Naval building on the south shore of Lake Union, home of Amazon. I wonder if it is still there? It was apparently donated by his daughter.

Anyway, I got my Live Steam start with that 3.5" gauge Hudson.
~RN

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Marty_Knox
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by Marty_Knox » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:17 am

A machinist who made parts for my father's and uncle's business had a 1/2" scale Pacific. He had an elevated track 75 feet long in the backyard of his city lot in Rahway, New Jersey. When I was 5 years old I would ride back and forth as long as he was running the locomotive. Once a year or so my father would take me to the Eastern Live Steamers track in Lyndhurst, NJ. I later joined the New Jersey Live Steamers.
I don't see the live steam hobby being in decline - it is far larger than it was in 1973 when I first became actively involved. There are far more clubs and track than there were back then. There are far more suppliers since there are now far more potential customers. But building and running steam locomotives is now a far smaller part of the Large Scale Railroading hobby.
I don't agree that the live steam hobby is in decline. I currently have orders for 24 boilers.
People are still building and rebuilding steam locomotives.

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NP317
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by NP317 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:24 am

Orders for 24 boilers?!!!!!
That says a lot about the health of The Hobby!
Is this backlog unusually large for you? I really have no idea how large your boiler business is now.
Good to hear, though.
~RN

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LVRR2095
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by LVRR2095 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:50 am

Marty_Knox wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:17 am
A machinist who made parts for my father's and uncle's business had a 1/2" scale Pacific. He had an elevated track 75 feet long in the backyard of his city lot in Rahway, New Jersey. When I was 5 years old I would ride back and forth as long as he was running the locomotive. Once a year or so my father would take me to the Eastern Live Steamers track in Lyndhurst, NJ. I later joined the New Jersey Live Steamers.
Ah....the old Eastern Live Steamers track at Riverside Park in Lyndhurst, that was the start for more than a few of us!

So Marty, do you know what ever became of the old fellow’s 1/2” scale Pacific?
I agree that the Live Steam hobby is not in decline, but it is (as everything does) changing.
So long as everyone is having fun, that is all that matters!

Keith Taylor

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Marty_Knox
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by Marty_Knox » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:38 pm

NP317 wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:24 am
Orders for 24 boilers?!!!!!
That says a lot about the health of The Hobby!
Is this backlog unusually large for you? I really have no idea how large your boiler business is now.
Good to hear, though.
~RN
Russ, for the last 10 years my order book has had twenty to twenty-six boilers. We have been doing 20 or so a year. When I retired from the Huckleberry Railroad I was at boiler no. 107. We just shipped no. 312 - 205 in eleven years, plus some full-size locomotive work.

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NP317
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by NP317 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:16 pm

Marty:
Thanks for that info.
And especially for providing so many boilers to The Hobby.
~RussN

Pontiacguy1
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:57 am

Well, I guess that settles it... Building that many boilers means that SOMEBODY out there is building and working on a lot of stuff! Maybe it's just that we've gotten so spread out then. Like I said earlier, there are now at least 3 clubs that are within 4 or 5 hour drive of our club, and none of those existed back in 1999-2003 time frame.
Also, I've noticed that a lot more people are building home tracks nowadays. There used to be about 3 or 4 private tracks in Tennessee, mostly just small loops for testing purposes, but maybe a couple that were decently sized. Now, it seems that there are at least 7 or 8 private tracks, and at least 3 or 4 of them are 2,500+ feet in size. One thing I have noticed is that MOST members who build a private track then stop helping maintain the club track.
So maybe we aren't declining, but we are spreading out, and also becoming more isolated in some ways.

FKreider
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by FKreider » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:33 am

Pontiacguy1 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:57 am
..."we are spreading out, and also becoming more isolated in some ways."
I think this is a product of technology and today's society. You no longer need to go to a club meeting with your project to get advice on how to make a part or to show off your progress. Its easy enough to throw your question up on-line or post some pictures for people to view/comment on. But often this does not form real friendships and so you have no friends at the local clubs and therefore feel much less inclined to spend a Saturday/Sunday there. I have seen this trend with several hobbies that I have tried to get involved with in the last few years.
-Frank K.

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ctwo
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Re: Is the live steam hobby in decline?

Post by ctwo » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:19 pm

Without this, I likely would never have known there even is a live steam hobby. I was not even aware that there were model steam engines before joining this forum.

It has not made me a steam hobbyist, however... but I have played with making various steam related components, such as a steam piston valve and someday I would like to build a small steam engine (just a simple engine).

My impression of the steam hobby is that it takes a half life investment, either in time or money. I know of no hobby steam tracks around where I am.
Standards are so important that everyone must have their own...
To measure is to know - Lord Kelvin
Disclaimer: I'm just a guy with a few machines...

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