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Field Trip to the Florida Live Steamers - Part 1 of 3

Once upon a time, there was a tradition for Miniature Railway Clubs on the west and east coast of North America to hold an annual series of “meets” over a succession of weekends over the summer period.  The umbrella organization, the International Brotherhood of Live Steamers (IBLS), oversaw these series of events in the past. While the IBLS, founded in 1932 still exists, these “rambles” (as they were sometimes called) have not happened for many years.  Click here  for more information on history of the IBLS or visit their Facebook page. 

In Florida, a number of the Miniature Railway clubs have organized themselves as the Florida Live Steamers. The group continues a tradition of holding a series of “miniature railway meets” over successive weekends during the winter months. The series of meets was also supported by Discover Live Steam, a major online meeting place for miniature railway enthusiasts and is being promoted as the 2014 DLS Convention. In 2014, their schedule is:
  • February 13th to 18th: Manatee Central Railroad     
  • February 20th to 23rd: Ridge Live Steamers               
  • Feb 23rd to Mar 3rd: Central Pasco and Gulf Railroad         
  • March 8th: Big Boots & Western Railroad
  • March 13th to 16th: Sebring Systems
Michael Guy of the TRHA has begun a tradition of taking his small 7 ¼” gauge electric switcher down to Florida and visiting several of these miniature railway clubs over a few weeks in mid-winter. 

Manatee Central Railroad

Below we find a series of images from his first visit this year to the Manatee Central Railroad, a privately owned 7 1/2" gauge and 4 3/4" gauge miniature railway.

Click here to read part 2 of this series.

Posting by Russ Milland; Images by Michael Guy

Click on each image for a closer look!

Michael's Dad driving his switcher

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