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All RMI narrow gauge steamer owners ..

Printed From: Southern California Live Steamers
Category: Live Steam Miniature Railroading
Forum Name: Narrow Gauge Forum
Forum Discription: For live steamers in 2.5" scale and larger running on 7.5" gauge track.
Printed Date: Sep 25 2023 at 9:56am

Topic: All RMI narrow gauge steamer owners ..
Posted By: Gnome
Subject: All RMI narrow gauge steamer owners ..
Date Posted: Oct 28 2012 at 5:47am
I'm the Operations Manager for the BC Society of Model Engineers, Burnaby, BC Canada and we are looking for a new heavy hauling steamer for our 7 1/2 inch gauge track.

We are averaging 50,000 passengers per year and we need a new powerful, reliable and low maintenance
engine to replace our 1936 built Greenlee Northern, which currently is out of service.

I see that your club has a number of Rolls Model Inc steamers on your roster and I'd like to get some first hand evaluations of these engines from your members.

I'd prefer direct e-mails but this forum will do for all replies.


Ian MacGregor
BC Society of Model Engineers
Burnaby, BC

Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: Nov 01 2012 at 4:19pm
Ian, we have a number of the RMI steam locomotives at our club as well as a large 70 ton narrow gauge diesel. They are built like tanks and have been very reliable over the years.

The Forney locomotive that we have was built from a kit many years ago by our club president Tim Brothers. It can easily pull 10 E scale cars full of people around our track. One of our members also has a factory built Sweetcreek and a Prairie and both have been very reliable and good performers.

All of the locomotives above run on diesel oil, but I have seen others in coal and propane and they work very well also.

I am currently putting together a Prairie from a kit which I hope to get going next year.

I would say that for your requirements the RMI steamers would be perfect. They are easy to maintain, reliable and very easy to operate. They are good pullers and very stable and because of their size, they are very impressive. The public loves them.

If you have any technical questions please feel free to ask.


Posted By: Gnome
Date Posted: Nov 05 2012 at 11:02am

I have distributed information on the RMI Mogul to our club but I have feedback from some of our members who prefer a Prairie... 

Have you found or heard about any operational differences between the two wheel configurations ? .. I'm assuming that the pilot wheels are not load bearing as they are in full sized practise and thus function only as an aesthetic element.


Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: Nov 06 2012 at 11:04pm

The pilot wheels on the Prairie have about 100 lbs of pressure on them from the springs pushing down and have springs for right left too. They do a good job moving the front and rear around. I would go for the Prairie over the Sweetcreek (which I did) as well, as it looks a bit more balanced and the additional cost is negligible.


Posted By: Gnome
Date Posted: Nov 07 2012 at 8:58am
Phil and others:

Thanks for your continued input  ... well here's another "worry" expressed by a certain club member who may have another agenda ...

"  I drove one of these at Train Mountain and they are unstable ... their  pitch ( he means center of gravity ) are too high "

... implying that the RMI locos are "tippy" on 7.5 inch tracks ( I don't buy it !!)

Your more experienced response ??

Thanks:  Ian

BTW: Our track has grades up to 2.2% and we haul up to 25 adults up these grades with our heavy diesels. We need a steamer that can do this 

Posted By: Steve C
Date Posted: Nov 07 2012 at 4:08pm
The RMI engines are not tippy or top heavy. As part of our normal run we turn our engines aroud on a "wiper switch". It pivots on one end and is turned by pushing the trains runningboard to move the switch, if the RMI engines were top heavy we would not be able to move them in this manner. Here is a pic of the Fourney going on" rel="nofollow - . There are many RMI engines in use and I have not heard of any problems from other people in regaurds to the engines being top heavy..

Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: Nov 07 2012 at 10:26pm

Here is a photo of a Prairie pulling 7 10 foot cars plus a work caboose. All of the cars are E scale which are the larges scale that RMI makes for 7.5" They are very heavy. All of the RMI locomotives we have are capable of pulling these cars loaded with about 60 people up a 3% grade without a problem. We have not been able to stall them out yet." rel="nofollow -

As far as stability, they look like they would be top heavy, but they have a fairly low center of gravity. They are very stable, even on 7.5" track. We have never dumped one over at our club. You can even grab the top of the cab and try to rock it over and I doubt you would be able to do it. We keep our speeds on the track to around 5 mph or less and have had no problems.

If you are ever in the Los Angeles area, let us know and we can get you a test ride.


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