"Live Steam" is steam under pressure that is ready to do some work. As steam cools, it expands dramatically. The expansion of steam is the pressure that pushes a piston, enabling a steam engine to work.
A "Live Steamer" is a person who builds and/or operates model steam engines that actually operate by the expansion of steam.
Scale is the proportion of a model to the real thing.
Gauge is the distance between the rails.
The FLLS has railroads built to 3 different gauges. Different scales run on each gauge depending on whether the model is based upon Standard gauge (4 feet, 8-1/2 inches) or narrow gauge (any gauge smaller than standard gauge). Which size is best depends upon many factors.
7-1/4 inch gauge track.
1/8 scale or 1.5 inches on the model equals 1 foot on the real thing is the scale for standard gauge trains running on the 7-1/4 inch gauge track. 1/5 scale (2.5 inches = 1 foot) represents approximately 3-foot narrow gauge. This size is big and heavy and generally more expensive than the smaller gauges. Transporting the models usually involves a truck or a trailer. Despite these drawbacks, this size is very popular around the world because it is more comfortable to ride. [Note: 7-1/2 inch gauge is used in some parts of the USA instead of the world wide standard of 7-1/4 inch.]
4-3/4 inch gauge track.
1/12 scale (1 inch = 1 foot) is the standard gauge for 4-3/4 inch gauge model track. This size is big enough to ride-on, but small enough to handle by one or two people. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of off-the-shelf equipment in this size at the present time. You will be doing a lot of scratch building if you choose this gauge.
Gauge One track.
Gauge 1 is 45 mm between the rails for standard gauge, with a scale of 1/32 (3/8inch = 1 foot). This gauge has been around since the 1930's, but has recently become very popular as a garden gauge. LGB trains are generally narrow gauge models that run on this size track. These trains are too small to ride on, but they are fun to build and run. There are many manufacturers producing gauge 1 trains in a wide variety of styles.
That's a big question. It depends on what you want and how much you want to build yourself or just go out and buy. You can operate the club owned diesels on the 7-1/4 inch gauge track for the cost of a Social membership. Once you become a "Live Steamer" by joining a club, you will discover that a lot of equipment is passed between members by much less than is ever advertised.
We expect you to pay your dues on time and be friendly to other club members. We strive to make the club family oriented and we try to avoid forming "cliques" for each railroad. We encourage cooperation between all participants in the club. If you are an active member, we ask that you help run our open house meets that generate the revenue that keeps the club functioning.
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