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Diesels replaced steamers as autonomous locomotives (which carry fuel and generate power on-board). But, for long, there was an engine type that was hoped to replace even diesel: the gas turbine, also known as jet engine. However, unlike that of an airplane, a locomotive's power use varies greatly in time -- and a gas turbine tends to waste fuel when idling. Add to that difficult maintenance, and you see why turbine locomotives were rarely successful, not to speak of being widespread.

Now, the latest attempt for an economic turbine locomotive comes from Russia. (Photo from Railway Gazette.)

The state-developed GT1 has a monstrous power of 8.3 MW (in January, it pulled a 159-car, 15,000-ton test train). One half of the apparent twin locomotive houses the turbine and generator, the other the fuel tank, but all wheelsets (2x6) are driven by electric motors.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jul 4th, 2009 at 06:34:48 AM EST
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