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SoundTraxx Operations

Econami Cylinder Cocks


Using Cylinder Cocks with Econami Digital Sound Decoders


One of the distinct sounds you may hear when a steam locomotive departs is a “swish-swoosh” sound between chuffs, which is from cylinder cocks draining condensed water out of the side of the locomotive cylinders. 

The purpose of cylinder cocks is to clean out any extra moisture that has built up in the locomotive’s cylinders after it has been sitting still for a while. 


As a rule of thumb, cylinder cocks are left open when the train is standing so that any steam left in the cylinders can be bled off. 

Typically if the locomotive is sitting for less than 15 minutes, the cylinder cocks are closed before moving. 

But if the locomotive is sitting still longer than that, then the cylinder cocks are typically left open for the first 200-300 feet to clean out any moisture that may have leaked from the throttle or that was leftover. 


Cylinder cocks are also used if there is too much water is in the boiler, which causes water to be sucked through the throttle, dry pipe, and into the cylinders. 

Engineers will immediately open the cylinder cocks in conjunction with the blowdown valve in an effort to relieve moisture as quickly as possible. 


When using a steam locomotive equipped with the new Econami Digital Sound Decoder, simply press F4 as you depart to clean out the cylinders. 

Then press F4 again once they’re clean to close them. 

Should the need arise, you can open the cylinder cocks up at any speed. 

And if you need to relieve even more water, you can also open your blowdown valve by pressing F10. 

Happy railroading!

Originally published August 28, 2015 in Issue 27 of the SoundBits Customer Newsletter for SoundTraxx and Blackstone Models.
Issue 31 | April 13, 2016


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