Welcome to the Official Website of the...
Illinois Live Steamers!
Illinois Live Steamers
Frequently Asked Questions
(last rev’d: November 2010)
1. When was the ILS founded? The ILS was founded in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago back in 1967 at our present location in what is now in the town of Homer Glen. The club property and adjoining properties were once an apple orchard. Hence the ILS station name, Orchard Station.
2. How much land does the club have and who owns it? The club has a total of 7.3 acres consisting of 2 lots, 165 feet wide each. Not all of the land is usable though due to the excessive ground elevation drop at the North end of the property. The club owns all of this land.
3. What kind of equipment unloading and moving facilities does the club have? The club has an automotive type garage hydraulic hoist that can lift locomotives that weigh as much as 1500 pounds. This hoist doubles as a turntable. The locomotive steaming bay and service area has a two-level transfer table to access locomotives stored in the dual level engine house. The service area has another turntable as well.
4. Does the club provide equipment storage space for its members? Yes. Members with locomotives and rolling stock are allowed to store equipment on the club property as long as storage space is available.
5. How are locomotives powered? Locomotives are powered by various means. Steam locomotives at the ILS are typically fired with coal or propane. Oil is another fuel used to fire some steam locomotives. Diesel and electric locomotive models may be gas/hydraulic powered, gas/hydrostatic powered, battery powered, gas/electric (like real locomotives today) or some other methods of power transmission (some quite ingenious).
6. How much track is on the ILS property? The ground level 4.75" gauge and the 7.5" gauge tracks have approximately 5000-6000 feet of track each. The elevated 3.5" gauge track to the South is about 600 feet in length.
7. What is the difference between gauge and scale? "Gauge" refers to the distance between the rails. The ILS has three different gauge railroads on the club property. "Scale" refers to the relative size of the model equipment with respect to full size trains. "1 inch scale" equipment implies a 1-inch measure on the model equals 12 inches on full sized train equipment. It is possible that a hobbyist could build a 2.5" scale locomotive to operate on 7.5" gauge track. This represents narrow gauge modeling. There are several examples of this type of modeling at the ILS. The same is true for a 1.5” scale train operating on the 4.75” gauge track.
8. What types of track improvements have been made at the ILS recently?
a) 3.5" Track: the 3.5" track is open for service. During 2009, some of the old wooden piers and stringers are due to be replaced with pre-cast concrete sections.
b) 4.75" Track: the 4.75" track is open for service. Retaining walls that support bridge spans over Carlson Creek are due for a major overhaul and facelift. The bridges are temporarily supported while retaining wall work progresses.
c) 7.5” Track: the 7.5” track is open for service. This track recently had the inside mainline at the South end of the property replaced with new track having a steel rail on the outside. A program is underway to replace turnout frogs and head blocks. The signal system is replacing old signal head incandescent bulbs with bright LED lamps for longevity.
9. Does the ILS have any type of train operating sessions? Yes. Once a month from June through October (weather and participation pending) on the 7.5" railroad, a card order switching session is organized. Members participating in this activity get a sense of what real railroads do to “deliver” carloads of freight to various industries along the right of way. There can be as many as 6 trains on the railroad, including a “passenger” train operating on a timetable schedule and one or two switch engines used for yard duty.
10. How many members does the ILS have? The club roster currently contains almost 110 Regular/Probationary/Emeritus members and 10 Junior members. There are also approx. 30 Affiliate members on the roster that live more than 60 miles from the club property.
11. How much are the club dues? Is the ILS accepting new members? The ILS is always looking for new members interested in large-scale railroading or live steam to take part in the hobby and the club. Membership dues are currently $23 per month ($276 per year) for Regular members. New "Probationary" members pay a one-time $100 Entrance Fee. New Probationary members do not have to pay their first year dues commitment all at one time. Membership can be started with a minimum payment of $169 (Entrance Fee plus (3) months dues). Various payment alternatives can be arranged (see membership info package). Junior and Affiliate member dues are $23 per calendar year (Jan-Dec).
Last modified: January 06, 2013
© Copyright 2001 - 2012 Illinois Live Steamers,