The Houston Area Live Steamers is devoted to live steam modeling: from locomotives, to stationary engines, to tractors and boats, with a particular emphasis on model trains large enough to ride. Our members own engines and trains in 1", 1-1/2", 2-1/2" and 3" scales and our dual gauge track serves both 4-3/4" and 7-1/2" gauges. A Gauge One track has been in operation since April 26, 2003 and is one of he largest Gauge One tracks in the area.
In 1991 a group of Live Steam enthusiasts in the Houston area began to investigate the idea of forming a new club devoted to the preservation of the heritage associated with the Age of Steam. The primary focus of the club was to be live steam locomotives, boats, and machinery. On November 7, 1991, 18 charter members voted to adopt a set of by-laws that would govern the new club whose official name would become the Houston Area Live Steamers. Two days later on November 9th, HALS sponsored its’ first public run day at the Greenridge & Western Railroad which has since relocated to Colorado. Since that date, HALS has sponsored many public run days at various private tracks in the Houston region. The most famous track was David Hannah, III’s private Browning Railroad located on the Browning Plantation in Chapel Hill, Texas.
In 1992, HALS began negotiating with Harris County in an effort to locate a piece of land that HALS could lease for its permanent home. Bear Creek Park was considered first but later ruled out after heavy rains flooded the area. Zube Park was then selected and HALS has been there ever since. In September of 1993, HALS placed its’ first section of track on the ground at Zube Park. Approximately 2 years later HALS celebrated a major milestone by completing over 1500 feet of phase 1 main line track. During phase 1 construction, Harris County, under the leadership of Commissioner Steve Radack, built an engine house and machine shop as well as a “maintenance of way” facility. Then in 1997, Harris County built a picnic pavilion near the steaming bays at Zube Park.
In 1998, HALS again witnessed the powerful forces associated with heavy rain as several hundred feet of track floated away one wet and windy day. Facing adversity head on, HALS developed a new system to anchor the track and then proceeded, over the next 2 years, to build phase II which nearly tripled the length of the track. Harris County also built restroom facilities and a station pavilion as part of the phase II plan.
In the year 2000, Harris County again showed their commitment to HALS by building a new car barn, a locomotive backshop, and a large, permanent parking area for the public. The crowning event of 2000 was witnessing Commissioner Steve Radack drive the ceremonial gold spike that signaled the completion of phase II on April 15, 2000.
In 2001, Harris County continued to support HALS by clearing the right-of-way for the new phase III section of track. Zube Park also received a major contribution from the county in the form of landscaping around the gazebo and in front of the passenger station. In addition, many large trees have been planted to provide shade at several of the passing sidings located along the main line. The November Public Run day set a new milestone with 2003 free rides given in a single day.
2002 began with the redesign of the departure and arrival tracks at Cypress Creek Station to facilitate better passenger flow on run days. These changes proved very successful as HALS surpassed 2000 free rides several times during the year. Construction began on phase III with major advances being made in establishing the roadbed through the swampy section between the Cedar Bend Bridge and the South Swale Bridge, track work was completed from Sumrall to Caliente and the foundation was laid for the South Swale Bridge.
The Houston Area Live Steamers is proud to be involved in community education and heritage preservation in Harris County. HALS is dedicated to enriching the lives of the local community by working with youth groups, scouting organizations, senior citizens groups, and many other family oriented community organizations.
The club and its members own more than 30 locomotives and 100+ pieces of rolling stock train cars. HALS looks forward to many more years of safe railroading fun for its members and the community.
Become a Member
2018 Board of Directors
Every year we elect a board of directors to help guide HALS throughout the year. Each position has a primary area of responsibility.
No member or director receives any pay. This is an all-volunteer organization.