The above photo was taken in 2010 at the MVRR in Greenfield, NH.
The Live Steam Hobby
The live steam hobby encompasses the design, construction and operation of large-scale model railroads and is so-named due to its origination with scale-model steam powered locomotives. One of the more popular scales is 1-1/2” per foot or 1/8th the size of a full size railroad…large enough to ride on. The track gauge is 7-1/4” between the rails in the Northeast portion of the United States and 7-1/2” in the remainder of the United States.
It is thought that the hobby originated in England over 100 years ago and now exists in many countries around the world. There are over 40 live steam clubs in the US with thousands of members interested in various facets of the hobby. One excellent source of information about the hobby is the bi-monthly magazine “Live Steam and Outdoor Railroading”.
Our interest in the hobby began in 1973 when we come across the Long Island Live Steamers in a Suffolk Country, NY park. It continued in Florida with the Florida Live Steamers from 1975 to 1982 and in 1989 we constructed our first railroad, the Westchester Central Railroad at our home in Goldens Bridge, NY just north of New York City. The WCRR had approximately 1500’ feet of track and saw over 1000 riders during its 13-year history.
In 2003 we moved to New Hampshire, took up the track from the WCRR and built the Monadnock Valley Railroad in Greenfield, New Hampshire. The MVRR in Greenfield had approximately 2600’ of track with 50’ minimum radius curves and a maximum grade of 1.9%. It featured a 160’ long trestle, a covered bridge and a 30’ long truss bridge. A computerized signal system had been built for the WCRR and was moved to the MVRR for safe operation with multiple trains running at once. The motive power and other rolling stock consisted of one diesel locomotive (pictured above), two gasoline switch engines, an electric engine, three flat cars, two gondolas and a bobber caboose. Up to 12 riders could be accommodated on a single train.
In 2017 we downsized and relocated to Peterborough, New Hampshire and moved the MVRR to Peterborough. The Peterborough MVRR with 600’ of track is smaller than our previous railroads, but continues to provide many hours of railroading fun all year long. It features a 40’ long trestle, a 3-stall enginehouse and two motorized, remote-controlled switches. Future projects include a station platform and low-profile signals.
All of our railroads incorporated enginehouses to protect the rolling stock and add an interesting feature to the railroad.
Visit the website’s pages for details, photos and videos of each railroad.