RE: Geared live steam and grades
I have seen the Accucraft Heisler pre-production prototype run on a landscaped layout with grades. It behaves better than a rod loco but definitely speedier than a Shay or Climax. The gear ratio is clearly higher on the Heisler. The Heisler had a tendency to hurry down the hills and creep back up whereas the Shay experienced no significant change in speed or performance. I don't want to deter you if you like the Heisler. The grades you are describing are not that severe so you most likely will be fine. The WSL Co #3 Heisler is a really cool looking loco and we had a great time watching it on the layout. I already reserved one myself. For the record, Henner Meinhold (also an MLS member) has a layout with a switchback around 10% and we have run Shays and other misc. geared locos on it with no issues (even hauling steam donkeys up to the top!) Hope you join us gear-heads. We have the most fun ;-)
Eric Maschwitz, Whistle Punk, Gunn Lake Land & Lumber
A subsidiary of East Devils Hill Lumber Co.