Discover Live Steam Magazine

Article Index

To Sand or not to Sand?

Written by Jeff Frost   Will the use of sand on aluminum rail lead to severe rail wear?   With aluminum being a soft metal, the fear is that when sand is used on aluminum rail it will cause severe/quick rail wear. It is a fact that aluminum rail will wear whether you use sand or not. The wheel flanges will wear away the rail head in curves and the height will wear

Illinois Live Steamers Turns 50!

Written by Dan Miotti The Illinois Live Steamers will be celebrating our 50th year as an organization on August 17-20 (Thu-Sun), 2017.  This year’s meet will have auctions of live steam items, raffles, vendors, food, music and a host of characters. Originally formed as the Northern Illinois Live Steamers, the group has come a long way since we were founded back in 1967.  The idea was to have a place where

WWI 40hp Protected Simplex - Tin Turtle

Written by Martyn Redfearn.   It all started with the need for a test bed for a ‘gas electric’ loco. By using bits that were kicking about the workshop, 4 days later the ‘test bed’ was ready for Brian to wire up.  After a bit of head scratching we realised the motor was ‘series’ wound and it ran in both directions using the existing solenoids from a 12v battery, so it looked

Replacing Ties

Written by Jeff Frost In mid August 2016, I replaced 7 ties. I am using treated 2×2’s and the ties I replaced were on the track panels that I bought. I believe they were treated, but am not sure and don’t know how long they sat outside before I laid my track. I did not use ballast as stone is considered to be a non-permeable surface and I would need to get

Building a Truss Rod Flatcar

Written by Laurence Johnson   This 40’ truss rod flat car was in use around the turn of the century before WWI. It had a strong oak deck and stake pockets that allow all types of cargo to be loaded and transported. The Hooppole, Yorktown & Tampico Railroad, a shortline railroad from the northeast corner of Henry County into the northwest corner of Bureau County and then into the southwest corner of

The Truth about D-Valve Slide Wear

Written by Jeff Frost Myth: D-valves/slide valves will “wear in” as they wear Answer: No. They will wear convex and the valve seats will wear convex. When the slide valves and the valve seats are new, they are flat and create a steam tight seal so steam can’t leak into the piston chamber or out the exhaust. The steam pressure in the steam chest pushes the valve onto the seat. As the

Pre-Estate Sales

 (for what it’s worth) By Rick Henderson   At some point, we ALL pass on, there simply is no getting around that fact. Also the saying that “He who dies with the most toys wins”, is often quite the opposite. When we pass on either expectedly or unexpectedly, if we leave behind our trains and other toys, we usually just burden our heirs with our collections and often they wind up

Tender brakes on the 2-4-0

Written by Jeff Frost   In the early 2000’s Dad and I looked into putting brakes on the tenders to increase the braking capacity. When pulling long trains at the White Creek Railroad, we would choose our routes so we didn’t have a long, straight downhill, but wanted curves to add resistance and help keep the train from going too fast. Due to the Mikado being heavier, it had better braking capabilities

Blind Tires and Flanged Tires

Written by Jeff Frost   Myth: to make an engine take sharper curves, install blind tires.   Blind locomotive tires are tires that do not have flanges. The sketch shows a flanged tire and a blind tire. On the outside the tires have a lip that will bear against the wheel center for its proper placement on the wheel center. The flanged tire has a 1:20 taper from the outside edge to

Building the 1940 Soo Line Russell Snow Plow

Written by R Grosser An Overland brass O scale model of a 1940 Soo Line Russell snow plow #183 (not shown), was 3d scanned by Jay Gross of JG Conversions  jgconversions@yahoo.com and DWG drawings to 1.6 scale created from that. These were made so the main body parts could be laser or water jet cut out including the rivet holes. My dad was a Soo Line freight brakeman but I do not recall him

Realistic Caboose Door Knob on the Cheap

Article by Don Pearson While I am not always adverse to buying detail parts, sometimes I get a little bit OCD about a project being home-built in its entirety. I started a caboose project and the door knobs were simply not available, at least not with the appearance I wanted them to have, so I decided to try making my own. I purchased a box of ¼”-20 machine screws ¾” long. I

Hopper Car Build

Article by Ray Grosser The kit for this magnificent 1934 AAR offset side hopper car designated as HM is being offered by Kevin Sprayberry Models of Canton GA   (as of this date, Kevin is still working on a web site). These cars were owned by a number of railroads. We have some photos of the cars we are interested in building from various books. The L&N Color Guide for the Louisville & Nashville by

Weed Garden Sprayer

My wife and I bought a weed garden sprayer several years ago to try to get ahead of the weeds that invariably grow up in the Right of Way (ROW) of our railroad. I have not seen anyone else’s sprayer in action so building one would have to be done one piece at a time. I have been told that necessity is the mother of invention, but my ability to think

Constructing a Diamond Junction

Written by Laurence Johnson “In U.S. railroad practice, a level junction (or in the United Kingdom a flat crossing) is a railway junction that has a track configuration in which merging or crossing railroad lines provide track connections with each other that require trains to cross over in front of opposing traffic at grade (i.e. on the level). The cross-over structure is sometimes called a diamond junction or diamond crossing in

A Riveting Article

(or how to set rivets without going crazy) Written by Adam C. Madlinger One of the more common techniques required when building models of the steam and early diesel era is riveting, or “setting” rivets. The railroads loved rivets, and for good reason: rivets are stronger than bolts in applications where high shear forces exist; that is, forces perpendicular to the shaft that tend to cut, or shear, the fastener in

What we need is a BIG Diesel

Written by Martyn Redfearn and Brian Biggs It all started when we ran the first Santa Special at Brighouse and Halifax Model Engineers. It was my idea to run the Santa Specials and I did all the planning, which included a 10 minute timetable. No problem, the two largest locos should easily cope, but what would happen if we lost a loco? “What we need is a big diesel!” We started

Building the Precision Steel Car Boxcar Kit

Written by Jim O’Connor This PSC (Precision Steel Car) boxcar kit may not be for everyone, but it might be perfect for you.  It’s more involved than a simple “bolt-together” model.  Two things make this model a more advanced build and they both involve joining metal.  The first is welding.  You will need access to a wire welder.  Unlike “stick” welders, wire welders can be turned down enough to allow you

Crossing The Border

Written by Richard Glueck This August, I had the great good fortune to once more head over to Canada, for the Quebec Society of Model Railroaders large scale open house. Among the attendees were only three U.S. citizens. “No matter how hard I try to attract Americans”, said my friend Ron Pelletier, “they always tell me the border is a hassle, and they don’t want to go through it.” And you

Using a "Screed" to Help Prepare a Roadbed

Written by Don Pearson I would like to start out by saying that I am not a lazy person, but I am just lazy enough to want to do something as easy as possible, while doing it only once. I have been trying to figure out how to make roadbed without the pesky crawling around on my hands and knees (I am not a young man anymore). I need to “profile”