GE steam turbine locomotives

The General Electric steam turbine locomotives were two steam turbine locomotives built by General Electric (GE) for Union Pacific (UP) in 1938. The two units were streamlined, 90:feet 10:inches (27.69:m) in length, capable of producing 2,500 horsepower (1,900:kW), and reputedly able to attain speeds of 125 miles per hour (201:km/h). Stylistically, they resembled UP's Pullman-designed M-10003 through M-10006 power units and contemporary Electro-Motive Corporation (EMC) diesel designs.

The two locomotives were delivered to UP in April 1939, and they completed test runs and participated in a variety of publicity events for the railroad, including the grand opening of the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, the world premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's film Union Pacific, and an inspection by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. While the locomotives displayed excellent acceleration and could maintain schedules better than conventional steam locomotives, they were also unreliable and expensive to maintain. They never entered regular revenue service.

In June 1939, UP returned the locomotives to GE. By December 1941, the railroad had abandoned the project. In 1941, the GE steam turbine locomotives were tested by the New York Central, and they were operated by the Great Northern in 1943 during the World War II "power crunch" (a lack of sufficient locomotives to sustain regular operations) before being retired from service later that year. They were scrapped before the end of World War II.

Contents

Background

Development of the General Electric (GE) steam turbine locomotives began in late 1936, when GE and the Union Pacific (UP) began collaborating on an oil-powered steam turbine-electric design that they termed a "steam-electric locomotive". To produce an altogether new type of locomotive, GE hoped to adapt mature steam turbine technology from maritime and stationary applications for railroad use. Early GE specifications detailed a streamlined shape, ...read more

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