The recent discussions about steam locomotives have got me to thinking about my own experiences with steam. I used to be heavy into steam with my motive power being nearly 90% steam. A fair number of those were Bachmann with quite a few modified with extra detail parts and different tenders I even built a few using donor mechanisms including a NP A-3 Northern and a Yellowstone. I kit bashed a few 4-4-0s into big 4-6-0s that could pull a 20% grade because all the wheels were traction tired and extra weight was added in the kit bash and they were tender driven. I retro'd a number of steamers to get Great Northern steam with Belpaire boilers. Most of that came to an untimely end due mainly to split axles on the Bachmann steamers. I tried sleeving the split axles with brass tubing from an old article with mixed to very poor results. The end results were that about 70% of my steamers were consigned to circular file 13 with the tenders saved for various other projects. The most reliable and trouble free steam I have ever owned were Minitrix, Kato, and Athearn. The Minitrix poor pick-up with their 4-6-2s was solved by making the tenders pick-up from both rails. Eventually I sold most of the good runners keeping for steam only a few low drivered Athearn/MDC and the Atlas Shays. I built some geared steamers using diesel mechanisms. Today my motive power ratio is completely reversed with about 85 % small diesel and 10% geared loco and 5% small drivered rod locos. None of the current offerings in steam interest me any more since my modeling interests have also changed. Also due to age, eyesight and other issues I find I cannot operate on the finicky steamers anymore. So like what was stated here earlier most of my remaining steam is parked on a siding at the very end or up by the engine house and only the geared steamers still see service. Passenger service that used to be pulled by 4-6-2s and a lone 4-4-2 is now in the capable hands of some lash-ups of self propelled cars. Freight is now handled by a fleet of 70 tonners and some SW series diesels and switching duties are now handled by 44 tonners. Heavy hauling from the mine is handled by slow sure footed Shays to the ore docks.