What is Live Steam?
“Live steam” locomotives are scale models that operate the same way as full-size steam locomotives: a fire fueled by coal is used to boil water and make steam, which is then used to power the engine. Weighing between 25 and 2000 lbs, these models are capable of hauling several people. Most of the steam locomotives that operate at Waushakum were custom built by individuals over a period of 2 to 15 years. Many of our members are extremely skilled machinists and craftsmen. The club owns several locomotives, which are used as tools for teaching safe and successful operating procedures to all members.
Our 26 acre property consists of both wooded area and a large field. There are three track gauges at Waushakum: 3.5″, 4.75″, and 7.25″. We have 2,264 ft of elevated “high line” consisting of 3.5″ and 4.75″ dual gauge track that winds between pine trees, over a covered bridge and across a wooden trestle. The “ground line” consists of 3,599 ft of 7.25″ gauge track that weaves through the forest in close proximity to the high line and passes through a tunnel. Click below to take a video tour of our track.
Engines are served by a coaling tower and multiple water standpipes. A brick engine house contains storage tracks for members’ locomotives. A multi-gauge transfer table is used to move equipment from the engine house to the steaming bays, where engines are readied for service. Two hydraulic multi-gauge turntables turn engines and align them for the correct tracks. A railroad-style control tower provides a vantage point of the main yard.
The operating season usually runs from early May to late November. Normal running days at the track are every Sunday, weather permitting. During the running season, Saturdays are normally work days, for maintenance of track and grounds.
Throughout the year, Waushakum hosts events open to visitors. Every August, we hold a three-day Annual Meet. Live steam enthusiasts from all over the Northeast bring as many as fifty locomotives to operate on our track.
To learn more about the Annual Meet and other events at Waushakum, visit the Events page.