Model Trains with Working Steam Engines!

We meet the Bay Area Garden Railway Society, a group of model train builders who build scale steam engines that actually run on tiny pieces of burning coal! During a water break for one engine, we chat with one of the builders about what it takes to make these beautiful trains work.

Comments (5)

5 thoughts on “Model Trains with Working Steam Engines!

  1. This is so unbelievably cool

    Idk why model trains get a bad rap as quintessentially dweeby. I mean they inspired disneyland

  2. Many folks forget that the Live steam model steam engine is in many ways one of the foundations of the Modern Maker movement.

    If you wanted to do live steam Model Railroading (which goes back over 150 years look at the collections of working model steam engines [both stationary and in model vehicles] in places like science museums and the collections that belong to engineering institutions) you had to learn to be a machinist and boiler maker and wood worker and to do that you had to learn to be a tool maker.

    Consider the Publications that support the hobby Model Engineer has been in continuous publication for well over 100 years and for most of that time it came out every 2 weeks. Also in the UK we have Engineering in Miniature, and in this country we have Home Shop Machinist and Live Steam from the Village Press.

    Going even further back to the 18th century we have the rather amazing development of what some folks called “Fancy Turning” (of course back then the concept of leisure time for ‘hobbies’ was some thing that only the upper classes could afford, and a fully equipped geometric lathe in 1800 cost the equivalent of a modern Rolls Royce)

    Tested could do a very fine Mini series dealing with this part of being a maker. there are folks who have built working models of the famous Merlin engine of WW 2 fame for example as well as giant working models of things like tankers and container ships that they can get in and sail about in a lake for example. the electronics developed to support the modern drone explosion are finding their way into al forms of model transport with things like VR letting the modeler ride prolog with his creation.

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