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I’ve never seen 2 rail O gauge/scale at train shows. I’ve seen G gauge. I’ve occasionally seen 2 rail O gauge/scale on eBay. I attended an antique tractor show one time and was helping a friend who was running Wilesco and Jensen toy steam engines. I brought a homemade unit, boiler and steam engine that was professionally built. By my standards the builder had over built the item for safety purposes. A state boiler inspector was there and kindly asked me to shut it down unless I could provide boiler certification.  I, of course, couldn’t as I considered it a toy. I wasn’t happy but I understood his concern and complied.

There have indeed been recent builders and operators of modern American-pattern live-steam locomotives in 1:48. I had an acquaintance with a former club member who spent his most recent years running live steam out doors; specifically a replica of a UP FEF 4-8-4 with which he pulled a long string of Kasiner cars with. I'll try and find the video he forwarded of this. As I recall it was shot at a large and long out-door multi-gauge venue somewhere in the Carolinas. He basically got the loco fueled, watered, lit and hot and then opened the throttle and stood back. The first minute is epic as the engine develops power and speed, the remaining footage largely a speedy blur with it running like a scalded dog until running out of fuel, by then way over 100 mph scale. He related he liked the Kasiner aluminum extrusions because he could wipe them off clean afterwards as the exercise would coat the trailing consist with a lot of moist, oily residue/soot.

Needless to say I passed on inviting him over to run on my basement layout, though that might have been epic too.


Last edited by atlpete

Live steam in O gauge seems to be more common over in the UK.  But seldom seen up for sale, even on ebayUK, outside of the old Bassett Lowke Stanier Moguls, which is coarse scale O.  Plenty of scratchbuilt fine scale live steam in O though if you surf youtube videos, even coal fired(most are alcohol(meths in the UK) fired).  The Corgi/Bassett Lowke Moguls, a reissue made in 2000 with 500 in BR black and 500 in LMS Crimson red, do have fine enough flanges to run on typical 2 rail O scale layouts.  But they leave oily water along the track as they run, just like real steam locomotives do.  So most with a nice fine scale 2 rail layout would not be happy about that.   But they are lots of fun to run, nothing beats the smell of steam and hot oil.    AD

Hello all

quarter inch for Life Steam is on the small side but there were several manufacturers over the last 90 years.

Roy Ashley of SF offered a NYC Pacific 1928-30's .... also offered the Timken Four Aces Northern that had to be a heck of an engine never seen that one yet

Below see pictures of the Pacific .. sold as a casting kit or you could have one built up for you around 250 bucks which was real money 90 years ago.

For the same 250 as a base price you could buy a small engine from Neff.

Here is a Neff  American.. which proved to be a little small as most of his  Engines

Are Pacifics and larger.. right up to a big boy it's a pretty sight he made roughly 75 engines from the late 30s to the 50s run on liquid propane one day I'll fire up off the engines.

Across the pond the British made lots and lots of O scale engines some of them are quite reasonably priced and fun to play with.

Cheers Carey 0120220037a~20120220037~2


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Wow - thank you all for the amazing responses!  I looked into Aster and thought they only made gauge 1 equipment.   Little Engines also doesn't mention O gauge on their website.   I was unaware of Neff and Roy Ashley. I am looking into the British offerings as a bridge to see if I want to deal with outdoor track or steam/ oil residue, but I would rather have an American style outline.  This stems from going to the Cabin Fever Expo last weekend and seeing a Bassett Lowke enterprise chugging along.  (All I need is to get fascinated by another expensive aspect of this hobby!) 

@Carey Williams - thank for the pictures,  those are amazing,  especially that Pacific!

@bob2 If you have that 4-8-4 on the shelf I would love to see a picture.

Thank you all for the great info!


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You could always buy a used Lathe and find some plans there is some old time history out there.  Little Engine's had 1/4" scale live steamers in the 30's and 40's.  I think Bob2 even has one or two.  There were also many other sources, much like the many kit suppliers of electric loco kits of the smae time period. If you like British steam, LBSC was famous for his many designs.  You might compare him to Frank Ellison in the sense he published maybe 70-80 live steam articles from the 30's to the 60's.  I have castings for his "Bat" which is a 4-4-0 Schools type in O.

He also did a Hudson, called Josie.  Youcan still get castings from Kennions in UK.

I think there is a UK Bowman 4-4-0 on ebay right now.  Those turn up fairly often.

Last edited by Dennis Holler

Here you go - I traded a pair of plastic C-Liners for this.  That thing sticking out of the back is a Schrader valve, for propane.  I have seen this run under compressed air, but never under steam.

Live Steam Northern

Oh - main frame is set up a lot like the real thing, with functioning leaf springs and equalizers.  I have a spare frame somewhere, worth a picture.


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@jhz563 posted:

Have any of you seen Mamod trains in person?  They are listed as O gauge but to my eyes they look like G scale. Was just wondering if anyone had a comparison between Mamod and traditional O gauge trains.

Mamod's have no particular scale with minimal detail, but represent more or less narrow gauge in G.  They have been available gauged for O gauge track or G gauge track.

A Mamod gauged for O gauge track vs. MTH O scale H10:

M v O 012722 [1)M v O 012722 [2)



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Last edited by Rusty Traque

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