FAQs

How do I become a member of the MSSLS?

  •  Fill details will be available in the Membership section when it is completed.  The short answer is:  We charge a $30/year membership fee to make sure we have the funds needed to keep the club going.  We also require that all members be NMRAmembers as well.  By having all members also be NMRA members, all our members are covered by a $1 Million Liability Insurance policy, through the NMRA, when we are running our Steam Engines at club sponsored events.  A basic NMRA membership is around $45/year.  So for around $75/year you can become a member of the MSSLS.
    See the Membership section for complete details.

How can I get started in this hobby?

  • This is a very good resource for live steam suppliers and other information concerning this hobby. Small Scale Live Steam  also Small Scale Live Steam Suppliers
  • It really doesn’t take much to get going.  You can build a basic engine yourself from parts available on the Internet, you can purchase a kit to build your engine or you can buy one already built and ready to run.  Start by reading the materials in our Getting Started section.

How much do these locomotives cost?

  • That’s just like asking how much does a car cost.  It depends on the model, the detailing, the size and many other factors.  The answer is:  Anywhere from $300 to tens of thousands of dollars.  Many great running engines can be had for under $2,000 if your looking for a good running Locomotive that has already been built.  Like most people though, it’s good to start with a basic engine in the $400 – $600 range.  Then you can learn how things work and what types of engines you really like.

What do these things run on?

  • Most of today’s Gauge 1 engines run on butane gas.  The kind of gas you put in cigarette lighters.  Some new engines and many older engines run on denatured alcohol.  A few project engines run on Sterno and a few others out there actually run on Coal, just like the big boys!

Where do you put the Smoke Fluid?

  • When people first see these locomotives they associate them with electric trains. (Sparkies)  What you really see coming out of the stack is Steam.  There might be a little bit of oil that burns but for the most part its just good old steam.  “Don’t Touch!”

“If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, can I chop it up and haul it out with one of these things?”

  • DEFINITELY! – That’s what a Shay Locomotive is for!  What a great idea.

“Are there used Locomotives available?”

  • Yes.  People are always trading engines and buy and selling.  Try watching the for sale posting on MyLargeScale.com as well as other Large Scale boards.

You can also read the article “Miniature Small Scale Live Steam Locomotives”
which answers many questions.