Understanding use of Regulator and Cutoff/Reverser


New member
I’m enjoying the challenge of learning how to drive a steam engine. But my use of the cutoff/reverser is a bit of (well a lot of) guess work.

(Firstly I’m assuming Reverser is the American term and Cutoff the British/European).

I understand the mechanical principle of what the regulator does and what the cutoff does. But I’m struggling to relate that to actually driving the engine. I’ve seen cutoff as analogous to gears on a car.
When driving a car you a adjust the gears to keep the rpm in the appropriate band to maximise engine torque. I’m sure most of us drive a car on instinct/feel (much like an experienced train driver would), but when you’re first learning you can learn to change gear based upon rpm. A steam train has no equivalent “rpm” gauge (as it’s not an internal combustion engine). So if I want to learn to drive a steam train, what gauges can I use to indicate what regulator and cutoff settings I should be using?

Are there any good tutorials (either video or text) on this topic?
Keep an eye on the pressure in the steam chest. If the pressure in the steam chest is close to the boiler pressure you're using the regulator and reverser in harmony nicely together. A lot does come down to getting to know the engine you're driving though as they certainly aren't all the same. Much depends on how well the engine spec was written too as some can steam for Britain and others you'll be fighting all the way to get them to steam properly.

By the way you should register your version of Trainz as that will help forum members to know how best to answer your questions.