Whether you have been a model railroader for a long time, or just getting started there is some information you need to know before purchasing model steam trains. The way in which you will be using your model train is a very big factor to keep in mind when deciding which kind of steam train you should purchase. The people who will be using and maintaining the train is another big factor in which kind of train you should buy. Obviously, your budget will be a deciding factor in which steam train model you ultimately can afford to buy. This is not only due to the train itself, but comes into play when you are buying the fuel to power your steam train.
The majority of model steam trains are ones that are ridden by people. These trains, which are of the 1:8 scale, are rather large and not practical for most people to use even if they could afford them. They require a lot of room and a lot of track to make owning one even worthwhile. Most people who have a 1:8 scale train have a lot of acres on which they can store and ride their train. For those who have less space, but still want a live steam powered train, there are smaller options available. Manufacturers have even produced Z scale trains, which operate off of live steam. Keep in mind, the less readily the train is available, the more it will cost.
Maintenance of model steam trains is very important to be able to keep your train running properly. This is why it has become popular among the live steam crowd of model railroaders to use fuel that burns clean. It make it easier to keep the train running properly because you are not having to clean a lot of carbon buildup from the exhaust flu. For those looking to have a smaller live steam train, the options mostly only afford clean burning fuel. For the 1:8 scale train, one of the most popular fuel sources is propane. It burns very clean and will not build up in the locomotive causing you problems later.
Being able to buy the fuel you prefer is a very big determining factor for some people who own model steam trains. There are many different fuel cells, which are available through various sources. Propane is a duel source for the 1:8 scale, which is available through such places as the grocery store. Butane is a fuel source used by the smaller scales, which you can also buy from the grocery store. Butane model trains are very popular because they burn clean, the fuel is readily available and the fuel is cheap. Going electric is a very popular option as well because it is possible to have an immersion heater which will operate on as little as 10 volts of electricity delivered through the track.
No matter which of the various model steam trains you choose from, keep safety in mind at all times. Steam is very hot and tempting at the same time for small children. It is very easy to get burned not only by the steam, but also by the locomotive should it be touched at any time. The steam, while contained, is contained by metal and makes the train very hot to the touch. Practice safety when dealing with small children in proximity to your live steam train.