Waushakum Live Steamers, Inc.

Safety and Operating Rules


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Effective JANUARY 1, 2017

  • The purpose of the rules is to assure fun and enjoyment of the railroad equally for all members, guests, and visitors through the SAFE operation of all equipment on WLS property. While most of the rules are directed toward operation of trains hauling passengers, all members share the responsibility of maintaining a SAFE operation and exhibit of the WLS facility. Your Officers/Board of Directors thank you for your cooperation.  After all, it is your organization, your facility, but only as long as we can provide SAFE enjoyment for our guests, visitors, and ourselves.


  • It is the duty of each member of WLS, visiting engineers, trainmen, and their guests to observe these rules and to abide by and to enforce the rules and notify the Officers/Board of Directors or a Safety Committee Member of any infraction that occurs on WLS property. Any person participating in any event what-so-ever at WLS shall be considered as acting with full cognizance of the applicable portions of these By-Laws and the Safety Rules and other regulations of the Corporation and therefore shall be bound to abide by them. Copies of these rules shall be made available to visiting engineers while they are operating on WLS tracks.


  • The specific enforcement of the rules is the responsibility of the Officers/Board of Directors and the Safety Committee. Any person may be removed from a train or from the facility and the use of equipment within the facility may be restricted if necessary to enforce these rules. The Officers/Board of Directors may appoint any assistant(s) necessary to fulfill its duties.


  • These Safety Rules and Operating Regulations are separate from the By-Laws and may be amended by the Officers/Board of Directors at any time.




101. Locomotives and equipment shall be unloaded and loaded only at the facilities provided for such unloading and loading. All vehicles shall be removed from the loading area as soon as possible after loading or unloading.

102. No vehicle shall be left in the loading area on any run days or meets.

103. ALL passengers shall be carried only on equipment that conforms to section 4.

104. No engineer or member is obligated to haul any passengers.

105. The engineer and conductor are the final authority as to who may or may not ride on their train.

106. All passengers will be loaded and unloaded only at stations.

107. The Station Master will have complete charge of the station. He may appoint any qualified assistants if needed. All passenger loading and unloading, and the arrival and departure of the trains, will be under his supervision.

108. The use of gondola cars will NOT be permitted for carrying passengers during a meet or event.

109. Cargo (passengers) weight should be evenly distributed between the trucks of each riding car.

110. Passengers must remain seated, facing forward, in the cars at all times, until the train returns to the station, unless directed to do otherwise by the conductor or engineer. Arms and legs must be kept inside the cars at all times while the train is in motion. The cars shall not be overloaded.

111.Passengers shall not take food, drinks, or other refreshments other than WATER aboard any train, nor may any person, passenger, or crewmember, SMOKE while on board.

112. All passengers are required to wear shoes. Sandals are strongly discouraged.

113. No one shall stand nor walk within five (5) feet of any track, unless his duties require him to do so. It shall be the duty of any and all WLS members to help keep visitors at a safe distance from the tracks.

114. All WLS owned material and equipment is for use of the members and guests at the WLS facility ONLY, and shall NOT be removed from the facility without specific permission from the Officers/Board of Directors. This includes, fuel, cars, locomotive, tools, material, etc.

115. No one under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or illegal drugs of any kind shall be allowed to ride on or operate any train during a meet or event.

116. No pets of any kind shall be allowed to run free within the facility. All pets shall be confined on a leash not over six (6) feet in length, or inside the owner’s car. The owner of such pets shall be responsible for immediate clean up of any mess caused by such pet.  Any violation of this rule may result in both pet and owner being asked to leave the facility.  Animals may not ride on passenger trains.



201. All train movement shall be under the supervision of the Stationmaster when on duty. An engine running light, on regular run days or during specific meets, shall be considered a train and subject to these rules.

202. All engines/trains must be run at a safe speed and under complete control at all times by the engineer and crew.

203. Any engine/train about to back up must give the correct signal. All engines backing up shall run at reduced speeds.

204. All engines/trains must be run at reduced speeds in congested areas and in areas with close clearance, such as yards, stations, tunnels, bridges, etc. Yard limit signs are posted along the track.

205. Any engine/train following another train must keep at least fifty (50) feet behind the train ahead.

206. An engine/train approaching a stopped train on the same track must come to a complete stop no less than fifty (50) feet from the stopped train. The stopped train may then be approached slowly with caution.

207. Except in an emergency, no train shall stop on any bridge, crossing, switch, or mainline track, except in a station where such mainline track is part of the station track.

208. Any train that is stopped on the mainline must call out a flagman to protect to the rear with a red flag or light that may be clearly seen by a following engineer for a distance of at least one hundred fifty (150) feet.

209. Engineers and conductors are equally responsible for proper alignment of switches (turnouts). All mainline switches must be returned to normal position as soon as the train has cleared the fouling point, except for remote switches that are operable by the engineer while seated on the locomotive. Normal position is for through mainline traffic.

210. Trains shall be stopped immediately when any hazard to the passengers or equipment is detected.

211. All relief engineers shall be thoroughly briefed on the individual engines they are to operate.

212. All trains hauling passengers shall have at least one qualified conductor directly behind the engineer (facing to the rear) or on the last car of the train. Each conductor on duty shall have a whistle (police type preferred) and a red flag or light in his possession.

213. Trains carrying passengers shall not exceed one hundred (100) feet in length over all, exclusive of locomotive and tender or other motive power.

214. Trains hauling passengers must be operated by qualified engineers and conductors, or qualified members of other live steam clubs.

215. When visibility is limited and after sunset, all trains shall have a lighted headlight (white) showing to the front on the engine and a marker on the last car showing red to the rear. Trainmen shall have a lighted lantern or flashlight suitable for giving hand signals. All lights shall be visible for a distance of at least one hundred fifty (150) feet.

216. Trainman should use hand signals whenever practical. Several trainmen in the same area using whistles can easily be mistaken for one another. The use of hand signals makes it necessary for the engineer to see the signal intended for him, eliminating possible error and danger of mistaking another trainman’s whistle for that of his own.

217. Hand signals may be given with the hand, flag, or light, as follows:
a. “STOP” . . . Swing at arm’s length down from the shoulders across the track.
b. “PROCEED” . . . Raised and lowered vertically.
c. “BACK UP” . . . Swung vertically in circles across the track.
d. “REDUCE SPEED” . . . Arms held horizontally with slight motion of hand.

218. Engine whistle signals shall be used by the engineer whenever practical to give, ask for, or acknowledge information about train movement. When double heading, the lead engine will give the whistle signals when possible.  The whistle shall not be used unnecessarily.  The whistle is a signaling device and should be used as such.  Whistles shall NOT be used between 9 pm and 8 am.

219. Engine whistle signals: O = A short blast;    = A long blast
a. O = Apply brakes; STOP
b. OO = Answer to any signal not otherwise provided for.
c. OOO = When standing back up. When running, stop at next station.
d. OOOO = Call for signals.
e. – – = Release brakes; proceed.
f. – – – – = Flagman return to train.
g. – OOO = Flagman protect rear of train.
h. – – O – = Approaching public crossing, area of restricted visibility or a train on adjacent track.
i. OOOOOOOO (8) = Warning to people or animals on track; general alarm.

220. Communicating signals are used by the conductor when necessary to convey a message to the engineer while the train is running.  Communicating signals are blown on the conductor’s whistle, loud enough for the engineer to hear above the noise of the engine.

221. Communicating signals given by the conductor:
a. OO = When standing, proceed.
b. OO = When running, STOP.
c. OOO = When standing, back up.
d. OOO = When running, stop at the next station.
e. OOOO = When running reduces speed.

222. Color signals, lights or flags:
a. Red – STOP
b. Yellow – APPROACH – Proceed with caution, prepare to stop at next signal.
c. Flashing Yellow – APPROACH MEDIUM – proceed to next signal at reduced speed.
d. Green – PROCEED – proceed at safe speed.

a. Red over Red – Stop
b. Yellow over Red – APPROACH – proceeds with caution on mainline, prepare to stop at next signal, with reduced speed through turnout.
c. Green over Red – PROCEED – Proceed at safe speed on mainline, with reduced speed through turnout.
d. Red over Yellow – DIVERGING APPROACH – Proceed with caution on diverging route, with reduced speed through turnout.
e. Red over Green – DIVERGING PROCEED – Proceed with caution on diverging route, with reduced speed through turnout.
f. Blue – Equipment must not be coupled or moved. A blue flag or light shall not be removed by anyone except the person or craft that placed it.

223. No one under the influence of alcohol or narcotics shall operate any equipment within the WLS facility, nor shall any such person be a part of the crew of any equipment operating within the facility.

224. Trains carrying passengers can be double headed; no helper engine can be elsewhere in the train, or pushing on the rear of the train.

225. Any train consist with more than three (3) cars available for passengers, exclusive of the caboose or other riding car for the conductor, shall have at least one half of the cars equipped with operable brakes, such brakes to be operated by the engineer from the locomotive.

226. No train shall be operated at an excessive speed, and shall not be operated at a speed greater than any speed from which the engine and its train can be slowed and stopped within a reasonable distance, depending on the traffic, track conditions, visibility and weight of the train.  Absolute maximum speed of any train shall be 7 mph.

227. A draw bar must be installed between the locomotive and tender and any car on which the Engineer is riding separate from his locomotive. A draw bar must also be installed between any fuel car or cars and the locomotive which it supplies. Chains MUST be installed on all cars carrying passengers.

    To insure that members of the Waushakum Live Steamers are aware of the proper procedures to follow in the event of the accidental injury of a passenger, visitor, or member to our facility (or any sanctioned WLS activity) the following guidelines are to be followed:1. Safety is always first. The accident that is prevented is always handled correctly.
    2. In the event of injury:

    • Secure equipment to prevent movement and additional injury.
    • Get help immediately (send flagman or another passenger back to the station or steaming area)
    • Apply First Aid if necessary (within your ability).
    • Obtain the name, address, and phone number of the injured party.
    • Obtain the name, address and phone number of witnesses and a statement of the same.
    • Obtain a statement from the train crew members.
    • Complete an Incident report and file it along with the witness and crew statements, with an Officer or Safety committee member as soon as possible.
    • If the injured person requests information about the organization’s insurance, DO NOT provide any of the details except the WLS PO Box number and address and request that the inquiry be in writing.
    • If the incident is considered serious enough, a Board member should inform the insurance company of a possible claim.
    • In the event the incident is further pursed in writing by the injured party, the Board should notify the insurance company immediately.

229. Any member wishing to use any WLS owned rail equipment at the facility must make this request to an Officer/Board of Director. The member must report to the Stationmaster any damage or operational problems prior to use and any that occurred while in their care at the time of the equipment return. The member must return the equipment to the location from where it was issued.


301. The chief concern of all operating personnel of WLS shall be the SAFETY of visitors, guests, and members of the organization.

302. ALL members share equal privileges (per membership level) and use of the facilities. All members also have equal responsibility for the safety and maintenance of the facility, equipment, and the observance and enforcement of these rules. Every member is responsible to and for every other member.  There are no so-called “privileged” members.

303. ALL conductors and engineers must be able to demonstrate thorough knowledge of basic rules of safe operation to the satisfaction of the Safety Committee, Stationmaster or his designated alternate and in addition all engineers shall be thoroughly briefed on the individual engines they are to operate.

a. Qualifications: Any member of WLS who demonstrates that he/she has the knowledge, judgment, and ability to operate a locomotive and passes the safety test will be qualified to act as engineer on the type of locomotive for which they have applied (steam, diesel, electric, etc.) on trains carrying passengers. Members of WLS (and members of other live steam organizations) who choose not to test may act as engineer on trains carrying WLS members and/or their guests ONLY. No one under the age of 18 will act as engineer on any train pulling passengers.  Persons between the ages of 13 and 17 may operate as engineer of the locomotive only with permission of the owner, or in the case of WLS owned equipment, by permission of the Stationmaster.  They will NOT carry passengers except a flagman.  Children under the age of 12 may operate locomotives only while accompanied by an adult (the owner or another adult who is familiar with and qualified to operate said locomotive).  The adult must sit directly behind the child and have full access to and can easily reach the controls in case of emergency.  Children less than 12 years of age may operate trains in the above-mentioned manner with passengers who are WLS members or family members.  Children under age 12 may operate non-steam locomotives such as small electric or gas powered engines with simple controls without an adult supervisor as long as they do not carry passengers except for a conductor.  Engineers under 18, at the discretion of the Stationmaster or his designated alternate, may be restricted from operating during periods of heavy traffic such as during scheduled meets.

b. Responsibilities: the engineer is responsible for the safe handling of the train and the cars at all times.  He must be in close cooperation with all other operating personnel, observing all rules and signals (whistles, hand, flag or light) given by the conductor and stationmaster.  He must run his engine in conformance with WLS safety rules at all times.  He must see that any WLS equipment used by him is returned to its proper storage space at the end of his run, unless another engineer takes over the responsibility of such equipment and agrees to see that such equipment is properly stored after its use.

305. Conductor:
a. Qualifications: any member of WLS who demonstrates to the examining committee that he/she has the knowledge, judgment, and ability to supervise passengers and scale railroad equipment competently and safely, and who passes the safety tests, will be qualified as a conductor.  No one under the age of 18 will act as conductor on any train pulling passengers.

b. Responsibilities: each conductor shall have a whistle (police type preferred) and a red flag or light in his possession at all times while acting as conductor.  He shall assist in loading or unloading passengers on the train.  He shall ascertain that all passengers on his trains have been told and understand the safety instructions for passengers before signaling to the engineer to proceed from the station.  He shall enforce all passenger safety rules while the train is in motion. He shall align all switches (turnouts) for the mainline after use of such switches by his train.  He shall enforce Rule #111(no food, drink or smoking) and shall prevent any passengers from throwing any trash, garbage, or other refuse from the train along the right-of-way.  He shall assist the engineer when necessary and shall call for help when necessary to enforce any rules.

a. Qualifications: any member of WLS who demonstrates to the examining committee that he/she has the knowledge, judgment, and ability to supervise passengers and scale railroad trains competently and safely and who passes the safety test will be qualified as Stationmaster.

b. Responsibilities: the Stationmaster shall have a whistle (police type preferred) and a red flag or light in his possession at all times while acting as a Stationmaster.  He shall supervise the loading and unloading of all passengers at the passenger station.  He shall discretely refuse passage to oversize passengers who obviously cannot fit or sit comfortably and safely inside passenger hauling car seats.  He shall make certain that all passengers have been told and understand the safety instructions before the train leaves the station.  He shall work in close cooperation with other operating personnel to keep passenger-hauling trains moving without congestion on the mainline.

a. Qualifications: Any member of WLS or other Live Steam organization or guest of WLS, who demonstrates to the examining committee that he/she has the knowledge, judgment, and ability to operate track switches or turn-outs competently and safely will be qualified as a switch tender.

b. Responsibilities: A switch tender shall have a whistle (police type preferred) and a red flag or light in his possession at all times while acting as switch tender.  He/she shall align switches (turnouts) for sidings, station tracks, yard tracks, crossovers, and etc. when requested to do so by the engineer or Stationmaster. After any switching movement involving mainline tracks he/she shall realign all turnouts for mainline operation.  He/she shall be certain the points are closed tightly on point switches and that tracks are positively aligned on stub switches.  He shall become familiar with the operations and alignment of any unusual track switches or turnouts that he/she may have to operate, such as – slip switches (double or single), scissors switches, crossovers, spring switches, spring loaded frog switches, turntables and transfer table.

308. For insurance purposes: engineers and conductors on trains hauling passengers MUST be qualified members of WLS or members of another club and pass a safety test.

309. All operating personnel, while on duty, shall have a copy of these operating rules in their possession.

310. The Officer/Board of Directors or Safety Committee Member may restrict or suspend from duty any operating personnel who consistently violate safety rules.

311. The Stationmaster and all members of every train crew of any train hauling passengers shall ascertain that all passengers are told and understand the passenger safety rules before the train leaves the station, as set forth here:

a. Remain seated facing forward at all time while the train is in motion.
b. Remain seated on the train until it returns to the station.
c. Do not lean out nor reach for anything along the right-of-way while the train is in motion.
d. Picture-taking, videos or cell phone use from the trains is prohibited.
e. Keep hands and feet inside the car at all times while the train is in motion.
f. Do not yell or scream while riding on the train, except in an emergency.
g. Anyone disobeying these rules may be asked to leave the facility.



401. Wheel dimensions (gauge, back-to-back, tread width, flange depth, and thickness) must conform to I.B.L.S. standards to operate on WLS track. The Board of Directors or Safety Committee may spot check any equipment before the equipment is allowed on the WLS track. This applies to member’s equipment and non-member’s equipment.

402. Dummy or solid type couplers shall be constructed so they operate with the standard working knuckle coupler. Coupler height (4-7/16”) must conform to I.B.L.S. standards. Coupler height is measured from the top of rail to the horizontal center-line of the coupler.

403. Couplers or drawbars between engine and engineers riding car, or between any combination of engine, riding car and fuel car shall be of a drawbar with lock pin type or equivalent that cannot become accidentally uncoupled nor disconnect any fuel lines in case of derailment.

404. All passenger cars or freight cars operating during a WLS event or meet MUST be equipped with safety chains.

405. Repealed, 2017, 714

406. Steam boilers shall have a facility to shut off heat immediately in case of emergency. Oil fired (diesel, heating oil, kerosene, etc.) and LP Gas fired boilers shall have a valve or other means to stop the flow of fuel to the burner. Solid fuel (coal, charcoal, nutshells, fruit pits, etc.) fired boilers shall have a means of dumping the fire out of the fire box or smothering the fire with steam, water, CO2, etc.

407. Steam boilers shall have the water level gauge located with the bottom of the gauge high enough above the crown sheet level to show ample water covering the crown.  The water glass shall be located so it is readily seen from the engineers operating position.

408. Steam boilers shall have at least two (2) safety valves set to operate within ten (10) pounds (psi) of each other.

409. All steam locomotives shall have at least two (2) methods of putting water into the boiler. At least one (1) method of putting water into the boiler shall be operable while the locomotive is under steam, but not in motion.

410. Before leaving the steaming area, operating steam locomotives shall have steam pressure brought up to operating pressure, have safety valves and pressure gauges checked and operating correctly, have water gauges and try cocks blown down, have feed-water devices checked and in working order, have whistle tested and operating properly, and have brakes checked and operating.

411. Steam boilers burning solid fuel MUST have an ASH PAN constructed and installed to prevent dropping burning ashes of fuel along the right-of way while the locomotive is in operation.

412. Steam locomotives shall be operated so as to prevent anyone from being burned or having their clothing soiled by steam from cylinder cocks, exhaust, blow-down valves, whistles, or other emissions.

413. All locomotives or engineers’ riding cars shall have braking devices that can be activated easily and quickly by the engineer.  Such breaking devices shall have the power to slow and stop the entire train within a reasonable distance.

414. All locomotives shall be equipped with a whistle, horn, or sounding device for sounding locomotive signals. Such sounding device shall be powerful enough to be heard distinctly for at least 150 feet.

415. All riding car seats for the ground line will be no higher than (19“) measured from the top of the rail head to the top of the seat.

416. Any locomotive, train or car left unattended on a main line, passing siding or loading track obstructing or restricting use of such track may be moved by an Officer/Board of Director or Safety Officer if owner of equipment can not be located. Equipment is not to be LOCKED when not attended.

417. All equipment shall be built to clear all trackside clearances as shown in these rules and standards.  Any equipment on which the engineer, conductor, or passengers ride with their feet outside the equipment shall have foot boards or bars to hold the feet of all riders in a position to clear all track side objects such as: switch stands, signals, mileposts, etc.

418. Cars used to haul passengers that do not have built-in seats shall NOT have seats improvised with boards and objects laid across the sides of the car, except for the last seat which shall be reserved for the conductor. Passengers may sit on the floor of the car, to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.

419. Car and truck bolsters shall be constructed to provide three or four point suspension for the car body.  Side bearing clearance shall allow trucks to swivel freely, and provide stability for the car body with maximum load shifting.  Kingpins for un-equalized trucks shall be loose enough to allow equalizing with respect to the car body.