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hey everyone,

first off, thanks for all the newbie threads on live steam. I've been thinking again about getting a live steam loco for my front yard battery powered loop but have a couple questions. First, will my 7000 ft elevation here in Flagstaff affect the opperation of the live steam engine? (water boils at 198 degrees here). Second, what is the fire danger if the loco derails into the garden or pine needles? (a constant issue as the loop sits under five old ponderosas).

the front yard slopes about 36" but i have leveled it by building trestles and bridges with the highest ones 36" off the ground. none of the loop is 4' diameter but there are some 5' and 6.5' pieces as it winds around. nothing more than 2-3 pieces at a time.

i'm pretty sure I will try a RH Sammie if I can feel assured that elevation and fire would not be a problem.

thanks much

Mike
 

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Hi Mike,

I'm sure some other steamers can comment on the elevation issue but I don't think you will have any problems. The RH Sammie is a great choice. The fire stays very contained and you should have no issue there. It is also very controllable and extremely forgiving of small grade changes. I have a few of them and you might be able to talk me out of one.... I'm always interested in helping new steamers get into the hobby. You can PM me if interested but, if not, welcome. Please let us know if you any other questions.

Sam
 

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I once lived in Woodland Park Colorado up the mountain from Colorado Springs. The elevation of my house was 8,465ft and I had no trouble running my Roundhouse Sandy River. I did not notice any increase in time to get the boiler up to pressure or in keeping it at 40psi throughout a run. As for the pine needles, the fire is well contained in the flue and should not be an issue. Go for it, but keep your track as level as possible. Even slight hills are an issue unless you have radio control and even then, pulling cars would be hard for the light locomotive.
 

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what is the fire danger if the loco derails into the garden or pine needles?
I think it is worth pointing out that the Roundhouse locomotives are all butane fired inside the boiler flue. Some butane locos (e.g. Accucraft) have an opening smokebox door for lighting the butane flame, but even then, none of them are likely to set anything on fire when they derail.

The same is NOT true of alcohol fired engines, which I suggest you avoid. At our steam-ups, there is usually a water bucket at each end of the layout to contain an alcohol fire. The alcohol is usually in a tank and will leak out and can burn if the loco capsizes.
 

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I think it is worth pointing out that the Roundhouse locomotives are all butane fired inside the boiler flue. Some butane locos (e.g. Accucraft) have an opening smokebox door for lighting the butane flame, but even then, none of them are likely to set anything on fire when they derail.

The same is NOT true of alcohol fired engines, which I suggest you avoid. At our steam-ups, there is usually a water bucket at each end of the layout to contain an alcohol fire. The alcohol is usually in a tank and will leak out and can burn if the loco capsizes.
At a very memorable steam up at Pete Comley's home in WA, a butane fired Daylight stopped under a fir tree - which caught fire in a rather spectacular manner. I had an alcohol fired 231U derail and set the dry grass around my prior track alight. Moral is always have a water or a fire extinguisher available whatever the fuel.

Robert
 
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