Long Island Live Steamers Public Run Day
There are full-size trains you get in, and tiny model trains you just watch, but did you know there’s something in between – something that’s a total thrill for train buffs and novelty-seekers alike?
For the uninitiated, the “steamers” in question here are not clams. They’re fully-functional railroad models large and sturdy enough for full-gown men to sit astride them, which steam (literally, in the case of steam engine powered trains) around 8.5 acres of land in Southhaven Park in Suffolk County.
Since the layouts are on public land, the club typically opens its doors to the public twice monthly on Sundays, this year starting May 20, and extending through October. On any given day, an ever-changing mix of member-owned and club-owned equipment circles the 7.25” gauge Groundline and smaller gauge Highline tracks. Get there by 9:30, and you can watch hobbyists get their steam engines operational; the ride-on trains operate from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM. Tickets are required to ride, and may be obtained at the on-site ticket booth (technically, there’s no charge for the tickets, but donations are encouraged.) With a snack bar and souvenir shop, as well as shaded picnic areas, it’s easy to make a day of it. (Non-train lovers should note Southhaven Park is an attraction in its own right, known for hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing and rowboat rentals. 631-345-0499)
Important to note: Live Steamers have a surprising amount of zip, so the ride is more thrilling than you’d expect. It’s also the reason children must be at least capable of walking unassisted to ride Groundline trains, and four years of age and up to ride Highline trains. For their own safety, pregnant women are not allowed to ride.