Gene Allen

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Gene Allen founded Allen Models.

Gene Allen, photo from "Allen Models of Michigan" catalog, 2012.

10 Wheeler Test Run

Gary Armistead wrote on

The photo below was taken Sunday, November 16th, 1980 at the layout of Seymour Johnson in Montecito, Ca. My Dad, his business partner, Dan O'Brien and I had talked to Gene on the phone about wanting to build a steam engine. Gene invited us up to Seymour's place and said he would let us "test drive" his new ten-wheeler. Couldn't let that opportunity pass us up! That's a much younger me running Gene's "baby" AND this was the first time I had ever run a steam engine. I was in Hog Heaven! Gene was eyeballing everything I was doing. Dan is sitting behind Gene. Well, we all drove back to Gene's shop and purchased two ten-wheeler kits that afternoon, one for me and my Dad and one for Dan. Gene Allen, what a gentleman!
Gary Armistead testing driving Gene Allen's 10 Wheeler at Goleta Valley Western Railroad, 16 November 1980. Gene and Dan O'Brien are seated behind Gary.

Completion Rate

  • Terry McCauley said on 17 May 2014:
"Gene Allen told me that only 30% of the live steam models sold are completed by the original purchaser."


Peter Bryan wrote, 25 April 2016:

A very sad day as we have lost an icon in the Live Steam hobby. Gene Allen has passed. He was a regular attendee at the CIG RR for many years. He also made the brass markers for Tower 17 and always told me if they blew off, “get out of the tower!!"

Tom Stamey posted the following on, 24 April 2016:

Hardly into my 2nd cup of coffee my wife was going through her Facebook and said, "Tom, Gene Allen died". It would not have hurt more if someone had stabbed me with a knife. One of the problems of advancing age is losing your friends.
For those of you who do not know Gene, for many years he made and sold castings for 1.5 inch scale steam locomotives known as Allen Models. He had 4-4-0, 2-6-0, 2-8-0 and his most popular 4-6-0 in his catalog. My 10 wheeler is an Allen Model and you will see them and his 2-6-0's everywhere in live steam. Gene built over a dozen engines too, and sold them to eager buyers. They were excellent steamers.
Gene's fame though was not solely related to his business. It was his genuine friendly nature that endured him to you. For many years he would travel from California to the Comanche and Indian Gap in Priddy, Texas for a week long meet. He was as eager to see his friends as we were to see him Those weeks are treasured by all who were there. As his age got close to 90 he stopped making long trips.
Gene's health, a stroke and neck problems finally forced him out of the hobby a year or so ago.
There are many of us saddened by his passing. High green to you ole friend.

Vance Nickerson wrote:

We have lost another great live steamer who has put more shovels in people's hands than any other person.

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