View Full Version : Firing 2 Locos

June 8th, 2010, 05:39 PM
This is a walkthrough on how to Double Head with two steam engines in cab control, and will work for nearly every locomotive. It's worth noting that I originally wrote this for Ben's 2-8-8-2, but it will work for any engine. Pictures will be added after I take them, but I wanted text up first.

1.) First things first. When firing two locos, it's good to keep in mind that some are easier to do than others. Unlike diesel locomotives, when you add to the throttle of a steam engine, it doesn't always translate to other engines in the group. This doesn't mean it won't ever do it, just that you have to be careful. Some engines will repeat the commands, some won't. When learning how to double head, it's best to start with two identical locomotives. In this walkthrough, I've picked two of Ben's baldwins, the 4-6-0's to be exact. This is simply due to ease of firing.

2.) Secondly, practice cab control with a steam engine some. You want to get used to the control surfaces and how the locomotive will react. Only when you've gotten pretty good at manual control do you want to graduate into double heading.

3.) Thirdly, for your first attempts, you will want the locomotives in conjunction. As you see in this picture (pending at the time of writing) the locomotives are back to back (figuratively speaking.) With the tender of one being just in front of the smokebox of another. This is only to make it easy on you, since you're going to be going back and forth between the two.

Ok, before you jump in there's a few things to keep in mind. Chief among those is that you will rarely ever have the locomotives using the same cut off and throttle settings. Typically the lead engine will do the work in this set up, and the second will pull just a bit less. However when you work as a "pusher" with steam, you'll find that the engine in the rear will do more work than the one in the front. For now we'll not worry about that and concentrate on your settings at the front.


Firing the train is pretty straight forward at this point. You want to keep a sizable bit of water in the boiler, since you're going to be doing the work of two crews. While you might normally run with less, keep in mind that you're having to leave one engine to its own for a while, so you want more water to provide steam.


Here's where things get difficult. There are some settings that you'll have to learn. Each locomotive will be different in this, so while I can offer you my own standard table to keep in mind, you'll still need to flesh it out on your own. Typically speaking, if your front locomotive is open to 100%, your second locomotive should be at around 85 to 90%. This will prevent excessive slip.

Getting started, you want to start with your second locomotive first. Open up the throttle on it till you start to hear a good chuff, and then click forward to the second engine (or back if you're using a pusher.) Open the throttle in notches until you hear your first wheel slip. Back off then and you should have your main throttle setting.

From there it's just a matter of going back and forth between the two and feathering the throttle as needed.

Word of warning: If you are using a locomotive as a pusher, keep in mind that your head end locomotive may be off the grade by the time your tail one is making to it. So you can expect the rear locomotive to work harder than the lead. Plan ahead for this, and try to keep plenty of water and fuel in the tender. I will be offering a session eventually that will let you train this, where you as the player operate a rear end pusher over the mountains on Tume's Milwaukee road.

June 8th, 2010, 05:52 PM
Thanks for the tips, it just so happens that I was planning to double head in the next few days.

June 8th, 2010, 08:11 PM
Very nice. I like this tutorial.

June 8th, 2010, 09:47 PM
It'll be easier to understand once I get pictures up of what I'm talking about. Took me a while to get used to it, but it's fun once you're good at it.