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If you’re building a “Steam Era” model train layout, it’s important to find the right model steam locomotives for the time period you’re modeling. And, since locomotives are the most important equipment on your train table, you need to choose the right models to adhere to realism and historic accuracy.

Whether you’re building an HO Scale, N Scale, O Gauge, or Z Scale model railway, the steam engines you choose will provide relevancy and a context for your train table. Without them your miniature railroad layout would be nothing more than benchwork with a collection of buildings and scenery.

If at this point you are looking to buy a model steam locomotive or two, it’s probably safe to assume that you’ve already decided Which Model Train Scale is Right for You. If so, the listing below should help you in selecting the right loco for your layout.


Model Steam Locomotives and Their Prototypes

0-4-0 Switcher: The 0-4-0 "Four-Coupled" switching locomotives were used for light switching purposes like pulling cold locomotives onto turntables.

Picture of A Prototype 0-4-0 Switcher Model Steam Locomotives

Prototype 0-4-0T Steam Locomotive
Photography by Trisha Shears

These steam locos were introduced in the 1830's. Some American Railroads were still ordering them as late as 1916.

The model steam locomotives versions of this early prototype would be a great addition to an early steam era train table.

And they are available in Lionel, Bachmann, Marx and other model train brands.

Buy Scale Model 0-4-0 Switcher O | HO | N


0-6-0 Switcher: The 0-6-0 was another great switching engine. These six wheel switchers were at one point the most common type of yard engine.

Buy Scale Model 0-6-0 Switcher: O | HO | N


0-8-0 Switcher: The 0-8-0 switching engine was larger and more powerful than the 0-6-0, and was typically utilized in switching jobs that were too heavy and strenuous for the smaller loco. These larger switchers were introduced in 1900.

Buy Scale Model 0-8-0 Switcher: O | HO | N


2-6-0 Mogul: The mogul was introduced in 1863 during the days of the American Civil War. It was primarily used as a freight locomotive. The last Mogul was built in 1910.

Buy Scale Model 2-6-0 Mogul: O | HO | N


Picture of prototype 2-6-0 Mogul Steam Locomotive

2-6-0 Mogul Locomotive

2-8-0 Consolidation: In its heyday, the Consolidation steam engine became one of the most popular steam locomotive designs in America. These heavy-duty steam engines were introduced in 1866.

Buy Scale Model 2-8-0 Consolidation: O | HO | N


2-8-2 Mikado Locomotive: The Mikado freight steam engine, one of my personal favorites, was produced from about 1903 to 1930. During their 27 year production run more than 10,000 Mikado’s were produced.

Buy Scale Model 2-8-2 Mikado Locomotive: O | HO | N


2-8-4 Berkshire: The Berkshire was introduced as a freight engine in 1925. A unique feature of these model steam locomotives was its larger firebox. The larger firebox enabled the locomotive to produce more steam, thus enabling it to pull heavier loads at higher speeds.

Buy Scale Model 2-8-4 Berkshire: O | HO | N


More Model Steam Locomotives

4-4-0 American: This popular steam engine was introduced into service in 1840. The American was a dual purpose locomotive and was tasked with carrying both passengers and freight. By 1900 the 4-4-0 was obsolete.

Buy Scale Model 4-4-0 American: O | HO | N


4-4-0 Model Steam Locomotive

Leviathan 4-4-0 Locomotive
Photography by Trisha Shears

4-4-2 Atlantic: Like the 2-8-4 Berkshire and the 4-6-4 Hudson, the 4-4-2 Atlantic had a larger firebox which enabled it to haul heavier loads. These popular steam locomotives were produced from 1896 to 1937.

Buy Scale Model 4-4-2 Atlantic: O | HO | N


4-6-0 Ten Wheeler: These engines were built from 1847 up until the 1920’s, and like the American 4-4-0 were general-purpose engines used for carrying passengers and freight alike.

Buy Scale Model 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler: O | HO | N


4-6-2 Pacific: This was a very popular passenger engine and was produced until about 1935. These locos could be seen on the American railway systems until the popular diesel engines hit the scene. In addition to providing passenger services, the Pacific was used to pull freight on some roads. The Pacific 4-6-2 is another nice model steam locomotives to add to your railway.

Buy Scale Model 4-6-2 Pacific: O | HO | N


4-6-4 Hudson: The Hudson showed up on the American railroad in 1927. It replaced the popular 4-6-2 Pacific and serviced passenger needs.

Buy Scale Model 4-6-4 Hudson: O | HO | N


4-6-6-4 Challenger: The Challenger was introduced in 1936 as a freight engine. In its day, the Challenger was considered a very fast engine and could reach speeds up to 60 mph.

Buy Scale Model 4-6-6-4 Challenger: O | HO | N


4-8-2 Mountain: These powerful locomotives were introduced in 1911, just three short years before the outbreak of World War I. They were primarily designed for passenger service in mountainous regions, but were also used for freight purposes as well.

Buy Scale Model 4-8-2 Mountain: O | HO | N


4-8-8-4 Big Boy Steam Locomotive

4-8-8-4 Big Boy Locomotive
Photography by Jkack53

4-8-4 Northern: The Northern serviced America's passenger and freight needs and was intended for use on fast passenger and freight trains. These popular locomotives were introduced to the American railway system in 1927.

Buy Scale Model 4-8-4 Northern:  O | HO | N


This list of model steam locomotives is hardly an exhaustive listing of available steam engines. There are many others from which to choose, including Diesel Locomotives, and Electric Locomotives if you're modeling a more modern train table layout. There are a number of others including: 4-8-8-4 Big Boy, 2-6-6-4, 4-8-8-2 and many more.

Check out our other RailroadHobby.Com model trains listings for discount model railway supplies.



Great Prototype Steam Locomotives Slideshow

4-8-4 Northern Steam Locomotive
4-8-4 Northern Steam Locomotive

Southern Pacific Daylight Limited Locomotive #4449
{Photo by Jerry Gaiser}

2-8-0 Consolidation Steam Locomotive
2-8-0 Consolidation Steam Locomotive

Restored J class steam locomotive J 515 at Maldon Station
{Photo by Zzrbiker}

0-8-0 Switcher Steam Locomotive
0-8-0 Switcher Steam Locomotive

Taurachbahn Heritage Railway in Mauterndorf
{Photo by Herbert Ortner}

4-6-2 Pacific Steam Locomotive
4-6-2 Pacific Steam Locomotive

Blue Mountain and Reading Railroad Steam Loco #425
{Photo by Sean Lamb}

4-6-6-4 Challenger Steam Locomotive
4-6-6-4 Challenger Steam Locomotive

Union Pacific Challenger #3985. Alton, IA
{Photo by Mark Evans}

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