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North Georgia Live Steamers
P.O. Box 1809
Conyers, GA  30012

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History of North Georgia Live Steamers

In 1972, a group of four like-minded men got together with the idea of starting a 7-1/2" gauge live steam club. The four set about looking for a suitable location for the club track. In 1976 the NRHS/Atlanta chapter was approached with the idea of including 7-1/2" gauge railroading at the Southeastern Railway Museum. By 1977, the group had already expanded to six individuals that were meeting in Lilburn, Georgia where they picked a name for the club,  North Georgia Live Steamers (NGLS). The stated club goals were 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 a deal was struck. 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 began shortly thereafter.

On November 2, 2013 we officially opened the new track at GIHP to the public with our Grand Opening and Golden Spike day. We had around 400 people attend and get rides. It was a great day for everyone. Planning immediately started for the public run days for 2014.