Adventures in Live Steam

My border collie, Jack, counts the rivets on my 7/8″ scale live steam Decauville.

I really enjoy garden scale live steam. It seems like the ideal way to engage with the hobby when the weather is nice – and compared to my experience with indoor scales, it places much more emphasis on the socializing aspect of railway modelling. I once heard it described as “A drinking club with a train problem” and that certainly seems apt.

I have never built a garden railway – but someday soon I would like to try.

Me, steaming “Peveril” with a rake of Isle of Man “Pairs” coaches on Jeff Young’s beautiful garden railway.
Out of the box, chequebook modelling at its finest. Peveril and coaches keeping the schedule on Jeff Young’s garden railway.

In the meantime, I have a small stable of live steam locomotives that I have enjoyed running on other people’s lines. These include a number of Accucraft models: a Welsh Highland Railway Garratt in 1:19, an Isle of Man Peveril in 1:20.3, and a 1:13.7 Decauville (originally offered by The Train Department). I also have a Roundhouse model, in 1:19, of the Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway’s ER Calthrop.

My 1:19 Accucraft Garratt “Millennium” at speed. This is a stunning model, to which I’ve made many modifications and upgrades.

I have a number of passenger carriages and goods wagons for these locomotives to pull. Some – such as the IoM equipment – are ready to run. Others – the Leek and Manifold equipment comes to mind – are kits that have been sitting on the shelf, waiting for my attention, for an embarrassing amount of time.

Most of my garden railway work of late has involved building 7/8″ scale estate railway stock for the Decauville to haul. Of all the options for an outdoor layout, an estate railway is the inspiration that most appeals to me when I think of steaming in the garden.

If you’re interested in this branch of the hobby, you can find all of my posts about it under the “Live Steam” category.

Welcome to my adventure. I hope you enjoy the trip.

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