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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! Newbie here
After several years of running n, ho, and o gauge and stationary steam engines, I've decided I am ready to go into live steam railroading. Been wanting to do it for some time but never really had the space to do so. I don't know anyone who does live steam, so if anyone lives in central Texas and knows of any clubs in the area I would love to hear about it! I'm figuring my first locomotive will probably be a ruby. Any recommendations would be great! Also was wondering if there are any good sites for finding used equipment, other than ebay of course.
Thanks!
 

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Welcome aboard, there used to be several active live steamers in the TX area, not sure who all is still with us as most were up there in their years and that was years ago. Look into Roundhouse Engineering, they are probably the best engine for straight out of the box flawless performance. They do offer a couple USA style locomotives as well. Then you have Regner, they offer a small Heisler geared logging engine, Lumberjack, another geared logging style loco. Other brands are Accucraft, Aster and Bowande. All have their good points and less than good points. See what locomotives from each brand interest you and then go from there. Many engines do require quite large curves, others will go around the tightest. If you like logging and the Regner engines, check out this gentlemans logging line, its really beautiful.
 

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As far as used, they tend to pop up and sell fast. Even used engines tend to sell for nearly the cost of a new version. The Regner engines come in both screwdriver kits(already painted) or RTR. So you can save a few bucks and spend a few enjoyable evenings building your locomotive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ahh I see. Well hopefully there are some active live steamers around here. Maybe in Austin. And cool, I haven't heard or regner or roundhouse, thank you for the suggestions! I was looking at the accucraft ruby for a first. Seems a lot of potential in custom modifications and simple design, but not afraid of more complex locos. Out of the box ready to run is nice, but I tend to like to tinker and work on things more haha. I'm certainly not afraid if a build it yourself kit or even a used damaged loco to repair. That is a very nice railroad! Logging is one thing I've never modeled before, this would be a good time to start.
 

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There are many ways to enter the hobby. Rubys are nice, a bit of a jack rabbit running quality wise unless they are pulling a nice load. Roundhouse runs all of the classic series engines for nearly 12 hours before you ever get it. So the model has been run in and well sorted out. They are known for this, hence being one of the top recommended brands. Regner's Easy Line of locos and the Heisler with the geared drives are slow and stable runners(live steam does NOT like hills be them up or down). they are not like an electric powered model when it comes to hills. You have to open the throttle more to climb and close it more to keep from having a run away going down hill(no brakes on these). A geared engine does away with the bulk of these issues. Letting you enjoy the run instead of chasing a scalding hot locomotive or having to constantly babysit the throttle as the the hills come and go as you go around the railway. Many live steam garden layouts are built raised and as close to dead level as possible just so that manual control engines can be run without to much trouble. The ground level design of his logging railway suits the geared Regner engines very nicely, athough he does have a few side rod locomotives as well.
 

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Hello everyone! Newbie here
After several years of running n, ho, and o gauge and stationary steam engines, I've decided I am ready to go into live steam railroading. Been wanting to do it for some time but never really had the space to do so. I don't know anyone who does live steam, so if anyone lives in central Texas and knows of any clubs in the area I would love to hear about it! I'm figuring my first locomotive will probably be a ruby. Any recommendations would be great! Also was wondering if there are any good sites for finding used equipment, other than ebay of course.
Thanks!
Go to this site: diamondhead.org and go to "contacts". Email Pat Darby and tell him I sent you! He is active in the Huston(?) live steam club and can give you plenty of information.
I highly recommend the Roundhouse Sammie as a starter engine, and the Davenport if you can spend more. I have both. Jason at The Train Department is their US dealer, as well as having the other stuff you need to get started.
Larry Green
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Luckily the majority of my yard is pretty level, wouldn't take much work to have smooth ground level track without any grades. I also see how many put rc control on the locos, that would be something I could easily do if I get tired or running after it haha.
That Sammie engine from roundhouse looks pretty good too, definitely going to look more through their website. Houston is about a 3 and half hour drive from me, I'm in the San Marcos area, but to go there every now and then. I'll definitely shoot him a message when im going to be heading that way.
Thanks for y'alls recommendations!! It's been very helpful!
 

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not afraid if a build it yourself kit
Can't beat Mike Toney's responses, but I can endorse his comment that the Regner Easy Line are a great way to get to know your loco and they run better as they run in. Here's my Regner Heisler, Paul Tram, Otto, Chaloner and Else. The first 2 were built from kits and my Heisler has r/c. I kept Paul manual.

Train Plant Wheel Track Wood


Train Rolling stock Track Vehicle Mode of transport


Regner Paul (1:22.5), Otto (1:19) and Roundhouse Stanley (1:19):
Train Wheel Vehicle Rolling stock Motor vehicle


Train Track Rolling Railway Engineering


Train Rolling stock Steam engine Railway Rolling
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That is quite the nice collection and tropical railroad you have! Very nice heisler Regner makes. For the geared locomotives I personally like the climax the most, followed closely by the shay. Them being more expensive, one of those will probably the second locomotive I get once I get settled with whichever starter loco I end up with.
 

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Climaxes are harder to come by, you have the Aster 3 truck, which is a bit tempermental it its running ablities aka fast! The Accucraft which I rarely see for sale second hand, and the Catatonk Loco Works, also rare to see for sale. The Regner Heisler would be a great entry level model, it can be set up for manual or RC control(one of the add on kits from Regner). It keeps costs down by using osciliting cylinders instead of slide valve cylinders. About your least expensive loco would either a Roundhouse Sammie saddle tank engine from their basic range models, or a Regner Lumberjack geared loco. Sammie needs a few upgrades like the water top up/slight glass and pressure gauge in my opinion. Its also slip ecentric, so while you could RC the throttle, you cannot do the direction on that model with RC. With Lumberjack, you can add the water top up kit, whistle kit, headlamp, and even RC if desired, giving you a fully optioned loco. Watch the classifieds here, the second hand stock at Anything Narrow Gauge and John Sutton Books and Models(both in the UK) and The Train Department here in the states. Those along with ebay are where second hand models will pop up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ahh I see, I had a feeling that would be the case with the climax, figured the shays would be about the same story. I'll definitely keep an eye on those sites, maybe a used regner heisler will pop up for good price. Thanks for the tip! For now I will likely be getting either a Ruby or Sammie pretty soon. I've seen quite a few wonder examples of kit bashed rubys and would like to do something similar, turn it into either a forney or give it a leading truck and tender. Haven't decided yet
 

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Hi Thomas C, you have been given some great advice and you will like live steam and so a here is a "teaser" video, filmed by a friend, of a group of us running on my layout that includes (at around the 3 minute mark) an Accucraft Forney that is essentially a Ruby variant that Accucraft does and this one has had a repaint and some cosmetic additions that looks good and performs well. The coaches it tows are inexpensive Bachman coach re paints so finding a second hand Accucraft Ruby/Forney is a good idea and hope this train inspires you.
The video below also gives you some ideas for a raised layout if you want to consider that and the other engines in the video are a red and a green 0-4-0 & 0-4-2 Accucraft English narrow gauge loco's and also a 2-6-2 Baldwin tank loco, a Lynton & Barnstaple 2-6-2 tank all in 1/19 scale as well as a grey 0-4-0 saddle tank in 1/13 scale all made by Accucraft. There is also a couple of 1/32 scale mainline English loco's running as well and you can see we run any type or any scale on 45mm and enjoy them all, so I hope you get what you want to get you started and a Climax or Shay will come your way one day and starting with an Accucraft Ruby/Forney, or a Regner or a Roundhouse locomotive is a great place to begin.
Russell
 

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That is quite the nice collection and tropical railroad you have!
Thanks, but that's only the half of it - though I didn't realize I had so many Regners. The railroad is in Florida and is owned by a friend as I live in a condo with no room for track.

If you prefer a shay, the Accucraft 2-cylinder shay is a delightful loco and a good starter. Like many Accucraft models in the $1000 range, they are simple but easy to run. The new version is closer to $2000, but you can get the originals for $1000-$1500 used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So much great information from everyone! I'm am very grateful.
Now that is a great example of a elevated track, I like the fact it has the artificial grass and soil instead of the track just sitting on wood. I'm right on the edge of Texas hill country so the ground is pretty much just rock and very stable so I'm going to take advantage of that for ground level track. Plus it is very difficult to dig holes for deeper than a few inches so the posts for elevated track would be quite the job. And I'm sure eventually I'll end up with a nice climax, but I'm in no hurry so if it's not till another few years I'll be happy with that. Probably will pick up that regner heisler along the way too. Another locomotive I would love to get at some point in the future would be an American type 4-4-0. I saw aster makes a stunning one.
 

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Hi Thomas C glad you liked my raised track it was built to be easily dismantlable in case we move and I don't dig holes for the supports so have look at an old post of mine and follow the thread on how I built the track it may give you more ideas.
Kitchen window to carport, construction of removable...
Re 4-4-0 the Aster one is meths fired and nice but Accucraft did a range of gas fired 4-4-0 that come up second hand and probably less expensive than a collectable Aster. Just a thought.
Russell
 

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Re 4-4-0 the Aster one is meths fired and nice but Accucraft did a range of gas fired 4-4-0
I had an Aster "Reno" for a while, and it is a lovely model of a standard gauge engine, so it isn't 1:20 or 1:22 - I think I was told it is nearer 1:26.
The Accucraft loco is a model of a Baldwin 3' gauge loco, so it is Fn3 scale. I think Royce said he still had a couple of new ones that he'd sell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I went and just got a ruby. Boiling water made me a good deal on a partially assembled one along with a nice vertical stationary engine I think I will use to power an rc steam ship at some point.
I haven't seen many examples of the accucraft 4-4-0. Looks nice though. But a geared loco is definitely on the list before I start looking at a 4-4-0. I probably won't start looking for a geared, unless I find one for a real good price, until I get a nice railroad built and some rolling stock. And of course when I finish building my ruby to how I like it. I'm thinking of adding a cowcatcher and forward truck making it a 2-4-0, maybe make the cab a little shorter aswell. We shall see!
 
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