Question on Cab Mode HUD Control slider for Coal in Steam Engine Operation


Active member
I've been reading up on several posts about steam engine operations and the manual. I'm running TANE SP2. There is some good information out there, but I've run into a specific situation that I haven't found any information on.

When driving a steam engine in cab mode, some engines have interactive cabs and some don't. I've heard that some have an automated fireman for coaling or coal automatically. I understand there will be some degree of variation from engine to engine.

When I drive a steam engine from the cab, I don't always use the levers - some don't react well to my mouse. I also end up outside the cab to see the scenery as well. So, I find I use the green sliders for adjustments about as often as I do pulling on the cutoff lever with my mouse.

The question comes to the use of the slider for coal. All the others seem to be intuitive, including the water lever. I manipulate that up and down a lot. But the coal slider...not sure on this. I can't find any information that specifically deals with this.

I've been running some different steam engines over the past few days. I ran a German Br. 05 across the Black Forest. It does not have an interactive cab, so I had to use sliders for all operations for cab mode. I watched as the coal indicator did a countdown, starting at 100% and getting lower rather quickly. I was using spacebar to coal the engine, but don't know if this was one of those auto-coaling deals and it didn't seem to be doing anything. I tried moving the slider for coal up and down a bit, but it seemed to have no effect. Once I saw the coal was marked at 4%, I figured I was about to run out. I enabled the show commodity overlay for always visible and the green bars showed over the engine. I still had about 3/4s of a load of coal but was about 50% for water. So, what was the 4% showing for coal? This was in the HUD on the right side of the screen showing boiler pressure, water, etc?

Then I ran the Big Boy across Nebraska for the session Steam Heritage Trip for the Fall Harvest - Nebraska route. I didn't mess with the green slider for coal, and only used the space bar to coal the engine. This appeared to be the right way, as I kept the coal level in the boiler at around 70% during the entire trip, according to the HUD coal notifications. So, what is the green slider for?

I then did the Passenger Run for the Warwick - Wallengarra route. Geez that is a tough one. Still haven't made it on time to either station and the penalty for being late is brutal. Doggone passengers - late by 5 minutes. What are they complaining about? My fireman was exhausted as I had him shoveling coal most of the way. He wasn't happy either. He almost hit me with the shovel "accidentally" a few times. :eek:

Again, I left the slider alone and simply hit the space bar to coal the engine. I had the animated fireman keep the coal level between 59% to around 71% for the whole trip. Did not run out and never messed with the green slider.

What is the purpose of the slider for coal? Is it for automatic feed? What am I missing on this? I can't find any information about it.

Thanks for any insight or information on this.

Hi Heinrich505
The 'coal' amount shown in the HUD is the coal level in the firebox, not the tender/bunker. 100% is the most optimal fire the locomotive can have, anything over or under is 'less' optimal (over will burn back down to optimal, under will become less optimal as it drops). It can be helpful to 'over fire' the loco a little a times so that the new coal burns back down to the optimal level.

For the coal slider, this can be seen as a 'mechanical stoker' of sorts. Basically it will place a shovel of coal in a fixed rate, with this rate increasing the higher the slider is. The coal shovel amount will vary between different locomotives. For locomotives without a mechanical stoker, just imagine it as being the fireman shoveling the coal regularly (this can be a good technique, little and often, which can help keep steam up nicely).

One thing to keep in mind is that some steam locomotives may not be properly configured to operate with realistic controls, in particular steam locomotives made for TRS2004 or earlier (prior to TRS2004, we did not have steam locomotive support).

Additionally, steam locomotives built for versions prior to Trainz Classics 3 will use an older physics configuration which may behave in unexpected ways in TANE (and any other version after TC3). For the built-in content, I think the Warwick to Wallangarra content may have some locos that fall under this (looks like the C17 locomotive is pre TC3 content, whilst the BB18 locomotive is post TC3 content). Unfortunately when you make a route you may need to choose locomotives that may be out of date to ensure that the correct types are being used.

Thank-you so much for the information. This is greatly appreciated. :)

I really enjoy the steam engine part of this simulation and your info helps greatly.

Gary --

As Zec points out above, some steam locomotives are not correctly configured to work in Cab Mode. One indication is that pressing the Spacebar does not add coal to the firebox.

One possible approach is to edit the config.txt file of the locomotive to configure it with a cab, an enginespec and sound that does support Cab Mode driving.

I use:
Cab = "Berkshire Interior" kuid:523:1972125 or "Bigsteam_Interior_mechanism" kuid:523:55901
Enginespec = "VR S enginespec 09 revised" kuid:69871:100867 or "US Big Steam enginespec" kuid2:69871:2132:1
Engine sound = "Steam Engine Sound - 2 cylinder" kuid:126323:53050

Be advised, though, that making these changes may create other issues, generally when the congig.txt file also has a reference to a gs file.

More good information. I'll see about possibly substituting some of those kuids. I would imagine it is a matter of finding the right one. I've substituted in an interior that worked on an old German steam engine Br. 81 version into another Br. 01 that didn't have an interactive cab, only to find I was sitting on the rails in interior view, and steaming along...obviously this kuid didn't work with the engine I'd substituted it into.

Thanks for the suggestions. They are always appreciated.