The Illinois Live Steamers was founded in 1967 as a place where live steamers could gather to share their interests in trains and enjoy outdoor miniature railroading. At that time, the members of the ILS decided to purchase two pieces of adjoining property, each 165 feet wide, totaling almost 7-1/2 acres of land. This property was formerly used as an apple orchard. Membership today exceeds 150 members in various membership categories. The ILS club grounds are private property and therefore, are not open to the general public! Fellow live steamers and those truly interested in the live steam and miniature railroading hobby are welcome.
The ILS club grounds are located approximately 30 miles Southwest of Chicago. The club has tracks in three (3) gauges including: 6000+ feet of 7.5” gauge track, 5000+ feet of 4.75” track and approximately 1300 feet of elevated 3.5” gauge track. Various scale structures have been built by members and placed along the track right-of-way to enhance the appearance of the railroad. Other track facilities include a turntable, steaming/engine repair bays and a hydraulic loading/un-loading hoist (also used as turntable).
Club members operate a wide variety of equipment including live steam, electric, gas, gas-electric and gas-hydraulic/hydrostatic powered locomotives. Steam locomotives are fueled with either: coal, propane or oil. Various types of rolling stock can be seen behind locomotives during train operations. Rolling stock was either purchased or built by the members themselves.
The ILS is still growing and improving. The future of the ILS (as in the past) will be determined by the membership in terms of “what’s next” or “where do we go from here?” The club has come a long way in over 45 years, but still looks to the future to make a good thing even better.
The Illinois Live Steamers would like to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting our website. Please visit the various sections of the website to learn more about the ILS and contact us if you have any questions or comments. Remember, safety first and always!