The Indiana Live Steamers have organized some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) on this page for your benefit.  If you have a question that is not answered on these pages, please feel free to contact us.


Q: What is the distance between the rails on your track?  

A: The Indiana Live Steamers utilize track that is 7 1/2" gauge.  
Actually, this is a bit misleading. The 7.5" refers to the distance between the flanges on the wheel. This would work fine on a perfectly straight track, but would derail at the first curve. We gauge our rail at 7 5/8&guot;.


Q: What scale do your members model?

A: Most of the members model in 1.5", 1.6" 1.7" or  2.5" scale.  2.5" scale is used by people who wish to model a narrow gauge railroad.  While the cars are bigger, they typically weigh less due to construction materials.  


Q: How much do the locomotives and cars weigh?

A: Depending on size, a locomotive can weigh as little as 300 pounds or as much as 1,500 pounds.  Again, size and construction materials determine weight.  Some cars weigh as little as 75 pounds, while others weigh 150 pounds or more.  Here is something neat.  Multiply the car or engines actual weight by the following factors to get their scale weight.


Conversion Factor

Actual Weight of Car

Scale Weight


1.5" scale

1.6" scale

1.7" scale

2.5" scale







107 pounds

130 pounds

160 pounds

260 pounds


54,784 pounds (27 tons)

 54,844 pounds (27 tons)

 54,880 pounds (27 tons)

 28,576 pounds (14 tons)


Q: How fast do your trains travel?

A: Most trains usually travel at around 5 miles per hour.  This seems slow, but it is not. Multiplying the actual speed by the scale will provide scale speed (i.e. 10 m.p.h. x 8 = 80 scale m.p.h.).  


Q: How much do the engine and cars cost?

A: This is a hard question to answer, because some people make their entire car or engine from scrap materials, while others have craftspeople custom build their fleet of heavyweight passenger cars.  If you are interested in getting into the hobby, you can start off in the hobby for approximately $500.


Q: What are the dimensions of engines and cars?

A: On average, cars and engines are approximately 16 inches wide and can be anywhere between three feet to more than ten feet long.


Q: Why are your trains smaller than those found in many parks?

A: Our trains are smaller so they are easy to transport.  Most members will go ride their trains at other tracks at different times of the year.  When some people in this hobby retire, they travel the entire country with their whole train!


Q: So, there are other railroads around the country that are the same size as the Indiana Live Steamers?

A: Absolutely !  In fact, many of the members travel around to the various tracks to catch up with old friends and play trains.  Check out the links on the Interchange page to find the other railroads.


Q: Who can help me get into the hobby?

A: Start coming down to the track on work days, introduce yourself, help out with maintenance chores, and the rest will follow.



Q: Do you help the Boy Scouts with their Railroading Merit Badge?

A: We sure can!  Contact the ILS Information Bureau and let him know that you are interested in such a program.