Sunday, October 24, 2010

Westinghouse Gas Turbine - Electric Locomotive 1

One of the most interesting pieces in our collection is an original specification book issued by Westinghouse Electric Corporation covering its experimental 4000 HP Gas Turbine locomotive. This book has an issue date of June 9, 1952 and includes a few photographs, diagrams, a specification section dated April 1, 1952 and a number of drawings, as well as some reprinted material originally produced by Westinghouse for publication in Railway Mechanical and Electrical Engineer in 1950. Let's take a look at some of the pictures and information contained in this unusual book. Click pictures to enlarge.

At left, the front cover. The title page clearly states that the book was produced by "Westinghouse Electric Corporation - Baldwin Lima Hamilton Corporation," and this with statements in the book and the two photographs clearly show that BLH was involved with the locomotive, contrary to some published assertions.

Here is the first photo, cropped to show detail. This is the completed 4000 HP Gas Turbine locomotive. According to the introduction the locomotive was completed in May, 1950 and from that date until production of this book in 1952 the unit had tested on Union Railroad, Bessemer & Lake Erie, Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, Pennsylvania Railroad and at press time was testing on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas. The locomotive was configured and geared for passenger service, although of course as with diesel-electric locomotives, a freight version would have been practically identical, with omission of train heat equipment and a change in traction motor gear ratio.

Here is the Westinghouse Gas Turbine Locomotive shown backing express cars onto the head end of a passenger train prior to departure. The photo was taken during testing on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the location is PH Tower, Pittsburgh.

At left, a simple diagram of the completed locomotive. As can be seen, the locomotive contained two generator sets; each set was comprised of one 2000 HP gas turbine engine, a reduction gearbox, two close-coupled DC generators, and at the rear end an exhaust elbow. The right side turbine exhausted through a Babcock & Wilcox waste heat boiler, providing steam at 2000 lb/hr when the turbines were running; a Vapor-Clarkson OK-4625-130 steam generator also being fitted, rated 2500 lb/hr. At left rear is a small 75 HP diesel used for battery charging and hostling.

Basic ratings for this locomotive were as follows - and these are given as provided by Westinghouse with 2/3 of full load of fuel and water on board.

Total Weight: 494,000 lbs (all on drivers)
Rated Starting Tractive Effort: 115,000 lbs
Continuous Tractive Effort: 52,800 lbs
Maximum Speed: 100 MPH
Gear Ratio: 22:57 (Westinghouse 370)
Length: 77' 10"

The truck arrangement, officially AAR class B-B-B-B, used a novel and patented Westinghouse design that allowed 2.5 inches lateral motion in each direction on the end trucks and 7.5 inches each direction on the center trucks. An identical style of design was used on two prototype Ignitron rectifier locomotives built for operation on the PRR which used a B-B-B wheel arrangement.

At left, speed-tractive effort performance curve for the 4000 HP Gas Turbine locomotive. A direct comparison is made in the published material to two 2000 HP A1A-A1A wheel arrangement passenger diesel-electric locomotives; the Gas Turbine exhibits identical horsepower, higher weight on drivers, shorter overall length and lower total locomotive weight.

This concludes our first installment on the Westinghouse Gas Turbine Electric locomotive. Future installments will cover the gas turbine powerplants in detail, the locomotive internal arrangement in more detail, and operational and design aspects of the whole locomotive system as well as developmental details on the turbines themselves. Be sure to check back!

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