Kenneth Shattock

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Budge Garbet (left) and Ken Shattock (right) at the 75th Anniversary Meet of the Golden Gate Live Steamers. From the "Engine Booster", May 2017.

Kenneth V. Shattock served as the Secretary of the North American Region of the International Brotherhood of Live Steamers until his death, 6 May 2017.

Shattock was appointed Secretary of the Western Region of the International Brotherhood of Live Steamers (IBLS) by outgoing secretary Harry Dixon in 1973.

IBLS Secretary

In early 1973, Harry Dixon was well into his retirement years and had a number of health issues. He approached a young man in the Golden Gate Live Steamers club to take over his responsibilities. He already knew of this man’s reputation and qualifications to take over the position. The young man’s name was Ken Shattock.

Yes, it was Vic Shattock’s grandson who Vic had raised as his own son for the first fourteen years of Ken’s life. Ken definitely knew about the Live Steam hobby-- after all, he had a “good teacher” … However, shortly thereafter, Ken got married and as the pressures of married life mounted, he decided it would be better to resign his post from the IBLS. Ken held the position during the 1973-1976 years and then Harry Dixon took it back temporarily and then passed it over to Dick Thomas who held the position until his passing in early 2008.

Pacific Region BLS Secretary Change

Live Steam Magazine, August 1975

Harry Dixon, who served as Pacific Regional Secretary for the Brotherhood of Live Steamers from 1951 through 1973 has resumed those duties following the resignation of Ken Shattock.

Ken's letter, dated May 19th, 1975, indicates that the task took time and money from other priorities and that his wife's health requires his attention.

Thanks go to Ken for his work at this job during the past year and a half and to Harry for stepping in to resume the duties.

IBLS Disbanded

In the Summer of 2008, Ken Shattock (senior member of GGLS) wanted to ask one of the BLS secretaries a question and knowing that Dick Thomas had passed away, he contacted the Editor of Live Steam Magazine to find out the address of a secretary to write to. To his utter surprise, he was informed that the four regional BLS secretaries in the U.S. and Canada were no more. They had either passed on or had retired with no replacements.

Ken was also informed that most Live Steamers in the U.S. and Canada did not believe that the BLS was even needed anymore especially because of the modern day Internet. As it turned out, the "other" BLS secretaries located in Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand did not harbor those same views.

Ken then decided right then and there that he would endeavor to bring back the BLS as its Founder, "Carl" Purinton, originally envisioned. After discussions with Clover McKinley, Editor of Live Steam Magazine, and with Clover’s personal encouragement, Ken decided that only ONE new BLS secretary was required, for the North American continent which included the U.S. and Canada.

Hence the new "North American Region—IBLS" was born.

Restarting IBLS

September 25, 2008


I have written this letter to all of you as a Letter of Introduction regarding myself and my involvement in the Live Steam hobby as we know it today for the past 50+ years .

First off, I was saddened to see that the Brotherhood of Live Steamers has evidently faded from the North American continent primarily because of the passing of the prior secretaries as well as the false belief that a “central contact” person in the Live Steam fraternity is no longer needed. I cannot allow this to happen. The Brotherhood is an historic body of Live Steam hobbyists that goes back to the year 1932 when it was first founded by the late Charles Purinton (Carl) in Boxford, Massachusetts in the U.S. Carl was a good friend of mine and I owe it to him to do what I can to keep the body active in the North American Region.

As to just who I am and what experience I have, I offer you the following information :

Long before the BLS was formed in 1932, there were two famous gentlemen who have often been referred to as the “Deans of Live Steam” in the United States because of the vast knowledge they held in the building of scale miniature steam locomotives, from scratch, using raw materials. One of these gentlemen was the late Charles Purinton (Carl) from Boxford, Massachusetts who later on would become even more widely known because of being the IBLS Founder in 1932 as well as one of the original members of the old club known as the New England Live Steamers (NELS).

The other gentleman was the late Victor T. Shattock from Oakland, California who owned and operated a 2 ½ inch gauge Live Steam railway empire in the large basement of his home and where several years later (1936) he would become the Founder of the Golden Gate Live Steamers (GGLS), the oldest such club in North America today. GGLS will be 75 years old in 2011 …

My name is Ken Shattock, former IBLS secretary of the old “Pacific Coast Region” (Western Region) when I took over the position from the late Harry Dixon. Please refer to the February—1974 issue of Live Steam Magazine … I was the senior member of GGLS, having belonged for some forty-six years, before I let my membership lapse in 2007. I am now active with the Live Steam faction within the Puget Sound Garden Railway Society in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

On December 1, 1979 I was given the 10th Annual Live Steam Magazine Award for my personal contributions to the development of the current IBLS Wheel Standards. I am also a member of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) and I produce railway videos. And I am well known on the Internet under the pseudo-name of “Key Route Ken” (keyrouteken) for supplying photos and historic information to rail enthusiasts (railfans) who are looking for info on prototype railroads.

My goals with the IBLS membership will be to continue the original policies of the late “Carl” Purinton – that is, REGISTER the novice Live Steamer, provide them with a membership card for identification purposes, and assist them in whatever manner required, to get the information related to our great hobby that they are in search of.

One other thing that needs to be made note of--- if my last name seems to be sounding similar to a particular name previously mentioned in this letter, it is because I am the “grandson” of the late Victor T. Shattock, Live Steam pioneer and GGLS Founder. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I lived with Vic Shattock in the famous house in Oakland with the steam railroad in the basement, from 18-months to 14 years of age. He raised me as his own Son. I learned a LOT, saw a LOT, and met a multitude of famous Live Steamers, all since passed away.

I look forward to working with each and every one of you in the future !

yours in Live Steam,

Kenneth V. Shattock (“Ken”)
Secretary, North American Region, IBLS
Federal Way, Washington

Clover McKinley posted:

Welcome, Ken Shattock, to The Steaming Bay! For other forum members, Ken was an IBLS Secretary several years back. He, like others I've heard from since the dissolving of the IBLS Secretarial group in North America, was disheartened with the disappearance of this once-vital aspect of the hobby. Ken volunteered to rekindle the tradition in North America, and that felt like good news to me. Perhaps the office will be social only -- or perhaps Ken has ideas for providing services to hobbyists. I do know he has plans for relating history and reporting current hobby-related activity in our magazine.


Ken Shattock “officially” joined the Golden Gate Live Steamers organization in February 1961. During that same year, he was a member of the GGLS Safety Committee along with member Tom Stambaugh.

However Ken lived with his grandfather (club founder Vic Shattock) from 1948 thru 1961. As a young boy growing up in his native Oakland, California, he attended those Friday night GGLS meetings in Vic’s basement and was exposed to the early day construction activities in Redwood Regional Park for many years. It is his personal memories as well as stories from Vic that have helped him contribute the more detailed facts in the overall founding of the Golden Gate Live Steamers organization. For this, the Club is indebted for this additional information. See Victor Shattock and Golden Gate Live Steamers.

Since March-2013, Ken has been involved in a long-term project of writing a "West Coast Live Steam Book".. It will detail the life story of Victor Shattock including his career on the Southern Pacific Railroad and how he was instrumental in starting the Live Steam hobby as we know it today in the United States. It will also include histories of other Clubs besides GGLS and will include biographies of other Live Steamers that Vic was affiliated with in one way or the other! Watch for it !!

O Gauge Trolly

Ken was active on several train-related discussion boards, including and, where he was known as "Key Route Ken" for his enthusiasm for the Key Route interurban system in San Francisco.


Ken worked for the Bell System and retired after 50 years of service.

Knights of Columbus

Ken was a member of Knights of Columbus Council #7528.


  • "Vic Shattock and the Golden Gate Live Steamers Part 1", Kenneth V. Shattock, Live Steam Magazine, Dec 1973
  • "Vic Shattock and the Golden Gate Live Steamers Part 2", Kenneth V. Shattock, Live Steam Magazine, Jan 1974
  • "Vic Shattock and the Golden Gate Live Steamers Part 3", Kenneth V. Shattock, Live Steam Magazine, Feb 1974
  • "Vic Shattock and the Golden Gate Live Steamers Part 4", Kenneth V. Shattock, Live Steam Magazine, Mar 1974
  • "Alcohol Burner For Smaller Scale Locomotive", Kenneth V. Shattock, Live Steam Magazine, Mar 1976
  • History of the GSMRM and EBMES