This forum is dedicated to the Live Steam Hobbyist Community.

Moderators: cbrew, Harold_V

User avatar
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:25 am
Location: Derby, UK

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by baggo » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:07 am

In the UK, few, if any, clubs use the term 'Live Steam' in their titles. Most are 'XXXX Model Engineering Society' or 'XXXX Society of Model Engineers' so we don't have this particular problem. I suppose you could say though that the term Model Engineer might preclude those who don't make things!

Secretary of The National 2½" Gauge Association
Member of North West Liecestershire SME

Steve Bratina
Posts: 1061
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:39 pm
Location: Cambridge Ontario

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by Steve Bratina » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:01 am

We have Model Engineering Societies here that include all forms of model building. Only a very few seem to have tracks for locomotives.
Since I am waiting for my breakfast at the local beanery, let me ask this question.
Does the mission statement of your club say that you are there to preserve the LIVE STEAM HOBBY, or something to that effect? Now that,Bill my friend, is rattling a can of open snakes as you mentioned! Some mission statements may need updating even if the club doesn't want to change the name.

User avatar
Posts: 1608
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:50 pm
Location: Maine, USA

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by LVRR2095 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:38 am

Ah! Now we get down to the meat of the matter....what was on the breakfast menu?????


Steve Bratina
Posts: 1061
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:39 pm
Location: Cambridge Ontario

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by Steve Bratina » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:21 pm

You had your choice of Spam and eggs, Spam, Spam, Spam and eggs, toast with Spam.....ah, you get the idea. I had The pancakes though!

User avatar
Posts: 2002
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by ccvstmr » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:20 pm

When I first saw the title of this thread...all I could think of was...BS, MS or PhD. BS, More S, or Piled Higher and Deeper! Sorry, couldn't resist. So much for higher education.

When I was Recording Sec'y for my club (long before internet and social media), I came to realize the term "live steamers" had more to do with SIZE of the equipment (scale and gauge) as opposed to what type of locomotive. However, the term could be considered very limiting. And so, when writing up a greeting letter to prospective members (and since posted the website main page)...I referred to our hobby as..."large scale model railroaders". Bigger than table top HO, O, G or other scales...but smaller than Kiddieland 12" thru 18" (?) gauges. Now if you really want to stretch the could also say "model engineers". But this is typically reserved for people with more patience that flowing syrup in the middle of Winter. I am in awe of their workmanship, skills and of course, patience. Some of them contribute to this forum.

So, in the end...what's in a name? To the layman or John Q Public that just can't visualize our train equipment...a more detailed explanation is sometimes warranted. Better yet...a photo is worth a 1000 words. I'm just particularly weary of people that say..."Oh my grand kids would just love this!". Sorry, I don't mind sharing my skills, efforts and experience, but I didn't get into this hobby to provide amusement for other. I amuse myself by how I try to improve my skill level and attention to detail. It's been a great learning experience for almost 30 years. Can't believe I've been in this aspect of model railroading for so long.

Whatever you want to call, share it, explain it...and enjoy it! The alternative might be awfully boring! Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love's some of the people I can't stand!

User avatar
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:33 am
Location: San Diego

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by aopagary » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:17 pm

Steve Bratina wrote: ... At our club, the diesel guys also do the majority of the public rides which puts donations in the coffee can. Can't have it both ways.
If the live steam portion is slowly dying, so be it. ...
at Riverside, the Hunter Locomotive (nearing its 60th year of operation) does just fine pulling the public trains twice a month. of course if they had a diesel, the operators could casually show up at 9:55 to meet the 10am starting time vs 8am to prep and fire the 4-8-4, but what fun is there in that? probably why you so see many diesels up for sale on DLS... owners purchase them, drive it for a while, get bored and ultimately sell them off to the next couch potato.

i believe i've mentioned this before but it's probably worth repeating. when i was in my teens, i frequented the NJLS track and wondered how the hobby would survive with the average club member in their 60's, 70's and even 80's at that time. now, 40 years later, i look at the RLS club and wonder how the hobby will survive with the average club member in their 60's, 70's and even 80's.

as far as names go, i like "Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers", but i believe that one is already taken. i wonder what sort of response i'd get writing AOPA and asking them why they allow helicopter and balloon pilots to join.

"The Zen philosopher, Basho, once wrote, 'A flute with no holes, is not a flute. A doughnut with no hole, is a Danish.' " ...Ty Webb, 1980.

User avatar
Posts: 709
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:21 pm
Location: Cumming, GA

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by John_S » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:15 pm

Mudhop wrote:Taking your example if it was in Worcester it would be named Worcester & Southern Railway. What we all enjoy is railroading so then we should be railroads - not clubs.
I love that our group, the Canton, St. Paul & Pacific Railway, is named as such. It doesn't exclude (or include, for that matter) any group. And since someone brought up mission statements, here's ours:

"The CSP&P Railway was incorporated for the educational purpose of expanding the general knowledge of the role that railroads have played in our lives and history, with a focus on the inventions and developments involved in railroads in America and the World and the metal working and fabrication skills and techniques of this same era."

And, continuing on, we provide this information to our website visitors:

"Throughout the history of live steam railroading, scale steam locomotives have comprised the majority of locomotives being built by hobbyists; however, in more recent years, more enthusiasts are building scale models of modern diesel-electric locomotives. Unlike scale steam engines which operate exactly like their full size counterparts, these are usually gasoline or electrically powered. "

To me the phrase "Live Steam" encompasses the hobby as a whole. It doesn't exclude non-steam powered equipment.

Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:31 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by jabsteam » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:39 pm

My home club is the "Rocky Mountain Rails" in Denver. No mention of Live Steam in the name, and good thing, as less than 5% of the members have running "Live Steam" engines. I do, but I am 65 years old… AND there are a few steam outline electrics running on their tracks (sacrilege!). Another good reason not to have Live Steam in this club's name is for some inexplicable reason even though they lease land for the track from the Denver Water Board, there is NO water available on site - you have to haul in your own boiler water.

Now, I have to admit that I own 2 electric engines for quick and easy riding the rails. With a 3 hour round trip to get to the club, it makes for a much shorter day than firing up my steam loco,
carting around the extra water, and the cooling down and clean up time of the steamer. BUT I still NEED to get my fix of that coal burning aroma several times a season!

Does anyone know if the Riverside Club is the only one in this country that limits running to Live Steam only?
Eaton Huskie electric critter
Super Roo electric critter
Sold off all steam locos when coal burning was banned, hate propane.

User avatar
David Powell
Posts: 470
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2003 10:38 pm
Location: Pickering Ontario Canada.

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by David Powell » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:51 pm

I am 64 , coming 65. I run engines ranging from a 4" Scale Fowler traction engine, to a 3 1/2" gauge vertical boilered job. I have ABSOLUTELY no interest in any of the , so called, diesel. models which run on ground level tracks, nor any in make believe steamers which are driven by diesel electricity or gasoline. I worked for a commercial Amusement Park with a 2' gauge line, operated by steam outline, gasoline driven locos for 3 yrs. The make believe aspect entertained children but I do not believe any of the children who rode there have ever joined any local live steam clubs as a result of that experience.If someone came up with a proper scale diesel model, then I would have some interest--- I know a fellow who is building one. My hobby is STEAM. I am well used to showing children the fire, pointing out the water level in the gauge, blowing the whistle just to show there is steam in the boiler and even giving them the odd lump of "the stones which burn' ie coal. If steam enthuiasts can step back from being grumpy old men with aches and pains and encourage children and beginners we can create a new generation of steam enthuiasts. regards David Powell.

User avatar
Posts: 2959
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 8:33 pm
Location: Chattanooga TN

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by Fender » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:37 pm

jabsteam wrote: Does anyone know if the Riverside Club is the only one in this country that limits running to Live Steam only?
There was a private track (the "Buckingham Central") near North Ft. Myers in FL that hosted a "steam only" meet each February. Sadly, the owner died this past year, and the future of this track is unknown.
Dan Watson

User avatar
Posts: 3476
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 1:37 pm
Location: Tehachapi, California

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by JBodenmann » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:46 am

Hello My Friends
I have been enjoying this thread and all the different views expressed. Everything changes, I have old photos of Los Angeles Live steamers with everyone lined up with their locomotives, and they were all steam. I have friends that lament this fact and how the club has changed to mostly diesel outline engines. Now I like steam the best, but have pointed out that if the club had to rely only on the very small handful of builders that made their own steam locomotives it probably wouldn't be there anymore. This concerns mainly the 7-1/2" gauge part of the club. Now the small scales on the other hand, are mostly steam. LALS has always been a magical place for me and I always have a great time, you find what you are looking for.
See you in the funny pages..

User avatar
Posts: 262
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:23 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: BLS, LS or BS

Post by ChipsAhoy » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:19 am

Interesting exchange this thread. I visited and eventually joined a group "XXX Live Steamers" And I never had a hint of an idea that I would ever build/operate a Live Steam Loco. I was encouraged to build anything that struck my fancy and was assisted by a longtime member in building a pair of Davenports with gas engines. That put me on the rails where I was able to run with the "Steamers". In a way, I was their equal, I was "in".
At the end of a long day, several of us were sitting around the club campfire. I was visiting with a well respected owner of a Steam Loco, a Heisler, in the course of babbling and drooling over the steamers I told him "I could never build one of those, I don't have the time or skill". And he said to me, "Just build one part at a time, make it correctly, make it over and over if you have to, when it is right, set it aside and build the next part...I can't do it for you, but I can help, one day you will have a fine steamer."
I currently am knee deep in building my first steamer (first steamer!!). Because of the good attitude of those fellows, there is one more engine being build and hopefully someday being operated.
Countless people have stopped by my place, viewed my work in progress and perhaps one or two of those will find an interest. When chatting with the visitors, if they POO POO on their own skills, I try to work the conversation around to what I was told... "Of course you can, just build it one piece at a time. I can help."
It can appear to a beginner to be too much of a formidable task to start at a 'steam only' club. it would be to easy to walk away.


Post Reply