North Georgia Live Steamers
The North Georgia Live Steamers (NGLS) is an incorporated non-profit miniature outdoor railroad club that encourages and assists others interested in the construction of scale steam engines, locomotives and railroad equipment through fellowship with others in the Live Steam hobby.
NGLS promotes the history of Live Steam by educating those interested (especially young people) in the skills and techniques needed to build, maintain and operate miniature and full size steam equipment. Members build signals, bridges, tunnels – track, everything needed to operate a railroad.
In 1977 a group of six individuals met in Lilburn, Georgia to form what would become the North Georgia Live Steamers. Composed of diverse individuals, the group organized in order to promote the live steam hobby and assist others interested in the construction of scale steam engines, diesel locomotives, and railroad equipment.
The group continued to grow and in 1978 formed the North Georgia Live Steamers (NGLS) club welcoming all live steam and miniature railroad enthusiasts. At that time a long term, minimal fee lease was granted to NGLS to build a 7-1/2" gauge, 1-1/2" scale railroad at the Southeastern Rail and Transportation Museum in Duluth, Georgia. The club incorporated in 1981 and in 2003 was granted 501(c)3 status by the IRS.
Through the years at the Southeastern Rail and Transportation Museum, the club constructed a railroad that encompassed over one mile of track with spurs and sidings, a passenger station, a club activity building, an engine and car unloading facility, steaming bays, public restrooms, and several trestles, bridges, and tunnels. The club instituted monthly open run weekends for the public which would draw 2,000+ riders. Two weekends in the year were scheduled as meets open to out-of-the-area live steamers from the southeast and beyond. Attendance for those weekends would be double as people came from many neighboring states to run their trains, share experiences, and offer rides to the public.
As new expansion was progressing, the Southeastern Rail and Transportation Museum sold the property and the new location did not have adequate space to accommodate NGLS. The club was able to salvage the track system along with 4 bridges and a trestle. A search was initiated to find a new location. While this search was being done, a portable track system was built to continue to offer services. The club continues to operate the portable track for a limited number of train related runs during the calendar year.
At the beginning of 2009, NGLS relocated to the Georgia International Horse Park (GIHP) in Conyers, Georgia to begin building the Conyers & Hightower Trail Railroad. A parcel of land along the Yellow River on Centennial Olympic Parkway as been leased long term from the City of Conyers by NGLS to build a permanent railroad/historical park. Construction phases are in progress at this time.