Pennsylvania Live Steamers title and logo
Member John Bortz on Nickle Plate Road 757 entering the yard

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Live Steamers

Close-up photo of a live steam PRR K4 boiler

The Pennsylvania Live Steamers, Inc. was established in 1946 as an all volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation of the nation’s rich mechanical and engineering heritage. We are incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Our purpose is to formulate and carry out plans for the construction and operation of a live steam railroad and to foster a sprit of cooperation among live steam railroaders.

We are a group of people who enjoy trains and railroading. Our members operate various scales of miniature railway equipment, with one-eight scale, one-twelfth scale and gauge-one being the most prevalent.

Some of our members own locomotives and/or cars. However, owning equipment is not a requirement for membership.

Our 5-acre club site has 3,200 feet of 1½″ scale (7¼″ gauge), 3,000 feet of 1″ scale (4¾″ gauge), an 800-foot multi-gauge loop and a 219-foot dual-tracked Gauge-1 loop. There are multiple unloading facilities as well as handicapped facilities for our members and visitors.

The Wrath of Hurricane Ida

As Hurricane Ida passed through our community on September 2, 2021, PLS sustained considerable loss due to flooding of the Perkiomen Creek.

Building One (the main clubhouse and meeting center) is in ruins. Walls, carpeting, and ceiling require gutting. Many chairs are damaged by rust and those with soft surfaces are water-laden. Most items require replacement.

The kitchen needs to be gutted. The kitchen refrigerator is dead and requires replacement. The backup refrigerator is questionable. Restrooms, though useable, need their walls opened to deter mold.

The computer is offline and is likely in need of replacement. Hundreds, if not thousands, of paper documents need drying or disposal.

Other buildings are in similar condition. Building Two has all compressors offline as they require extensive repair. Three or four where moved off their foundations. Building Seven (signal house) was on top of the tunnel. All our buildings are in need of repair.

There was some damage to track from a washout that undermined the track bed, causing the loss of some curbing that supports the stone ballast and a few damaged switches. All electric switches were filled with water, we will not know the total extent of the damage to the signal and switch system until after the water, mud and silt removal is complete and we can apply power to the system.


Member Pat Murphy has created a PayPal Fund and a gofundme page to deal with the result of the Hurricane Ida catastrophe.

Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far. We have contracted a new roof for the clubhouse, but funds are still needed for electrical repairs, lighting, flooring, a new soda machine, and a new refrigerator. The furnace is still iffy. And these are just the problems with the clubhouse — many other replacements and repairs across the site are needed. Even though our organization is comprised largely of craftspeople, the magnitude of the damage requires outside professional help.

We still have a long way to go to goal. Any help you can supply would be greatly appreciated, so please contribute using either the PayPal Giving Fund: (100% goes to us, no fees) or click the Donate now button to make a gofundme donation. Thank you.

Logo for the 75th aniversary of PLS
PLS Celebrates 75 Years... Almost

By an overwhelming majority the membership voted to reschedule our 75th Anniversary celebration for the fall of 2022. This item was taken up by the Board of Directors and was approved. Looking at this decision today it looks like we have taken the best path for a successful celebration. Unfortunately, Hurricane Ida washed out our Fall 2021 meet. Hopefully in 2022 things will return to normal and we can invite other live steamers and vendors to an event that can be celebrated by all.

Black & white photo from the Paoli, Leopard, and Sugartown railrosd

George Thomas with camelback on the Paoli, Leopard & Sugartown, the forerunner of the Pennsylvania Live Steamers.