TS21: Turbines Tremendous!
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
In an extraordinary upcoming pack, DTM will bring to Train Simulator three versions of Union Pacific’s 4,500-horsepower General Electric Gas-Turbines!
Throughout the twentieth century, the Union Pacific had an insatiable hunger for super power, an appetite that gave form to the “Big Boy” in the steam era, 5,000-horsepower double diesels in the 1960s, and powerful General Electric gas-turbine-electric locomotives (GTELs) in between. And soon, through the talents of developer DTM, Union Pacific’s first-generation of turbines – in three authentic versions – will take to the rails of Train Simulator!
The upcoming Union Pacific GTEL pack will include the unique double-cab 4,500-horsepower General Electric prototype demonstrator of 1948; Union Pacific’s initial order of “standard” 4,500-horsepower GE turbines of 1952-53; and the railroad’s distinctive “veranda” GE turbines of 1954, all with realistic cabs, details, sounds, and interactive operating controls!
Turbine power had long been an intriguing option as railroad motive power, and companies including Chesapeake & Ohio with its Baldwin-built M-1 class turbines of 1947 and Norfolk & Western with its massive “Jawn Henry” were notable explorations of steam-turbine locomotives. Indeed, Union Pacific and General Electric had teamed up back in 1938-39 to test a two-unit, 5,000-horsepower steam-turbine which proved unsuccessful.
In 1946, General Electric announced an intention to again explore turbine locomotives, this time employing a gas-turbine as the prime mover. Swiss company Brown Boveri had in 1941 created the first gas-turbine locomotive, a 2,200-horsepower locomotive for the Swiss Federal Railway, and at the close of the decade would build famed British Railways 18000. In November 1948, General Electric rolled out GTEL demonstrator No. 101, a 4,500-horsepower locomotive with a streamlined carbody, cabs at each end, and riding a B+B-B+B truck configuration. Clad in a green-and-yellow livery, the 530,000-pound behemoth operated on the Pennsylvania Railroad and Nickel Plate until June 1949, then made its way to the Union Pacific. On the UP, the prototype was outfitted in Union Pacific livery (although still owned by GE) and given UP road number 50. On the Union Pacific, the prototype turbine rolled up 101,000 miles of testing until it left the railroad in April 1951. Thereafter, it briefly tested on the Southern Pacific, then returned to GE where it was scrapped in 1953.
While the life of the prototype 4,500-horsepower turbine proved short, it left its mark and Union Pacific ordered an initial group of ten GTELs which were similar to the prototype with the exception that the production units would be equipped with a single operating cab. These ten units entered UP service in 1952-53 wearing Union Pacific road numbers 51-60. At the heart of the 4,500-horsepower GTELs was a 2-stage gas-turbine with a 15-stage axial flow compressor.
Turbine operations on the UP showed favorable results, with the 4,500-horsepower units averaging 8,000 miles and 400 hours of service per month and with up to an 80 percent availability rating. The turbines consumed twice the fuel per ton mile than diesels of the period, but this was offset by the GTEL’s use of Bunker C oil, which at the time sold for as little as $1.40 per barrel. Union Pacific soon returned to GE with another order, this for fifteen locomotives. Union Pacific Nos. 61-75 arrived in 1954 and while mechanically similar to their predecessors, the new units differed visually, employing a “veranda” carbody which allowed improved access to the locomotive’s mechanical components.
Built to haul heavy tonnage at speed over long distances, the 4,500-horsepower turbines primarily worked Union Pacific’s main line between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Ogden, Utah, including regular appearances on UP’s legendary Sherman Hill. Although equipped with their own fuel tanks, the turbines’ robust appetite for fuel resulted in Union Pacific adding fuel tenders, most of which were rebuilt from Class 18-C tenders from retired 9000-series UP 4-12-2 steam locomotives.
Union Pacific’s 4,500-horsepower turbines operated for the better part of a decade with final retirements in 1964, by which time the veteran locomotives were replaced by the railroad’s 8,500-horsepower GE“ Big Blow” turbines and the railroad’s double diesels such as the GE U50 (which in fact rode on the B+B-B+B trucks of retired turbine locomotives).
The upcoming Train Simulator Union Pacific GTEL pack is truly remarkable in scope and will include all three 4,500-horsepower turbine variants, plus the fuel tender and a selection of period-appropriate freight rolling stock including a 46-foot gondola, 40-boxcar in multiple liveries, 4,000-gallon tank car, R-30-6 refrigerator car, and Union Pacific CA-5 caboose. The carbody details of the standard turbine can be customized and the turbines are provided in weathered and snow-dressed versions. And the pack will include four scenarios for the Train Simulator Sherman Hill route (route available separately).
Get ready to take the throttle of three variations of Union Pacific’s unique and memorable 4,500-horsepower General Electric gas-turbine-electric locomotives and enjoy a truly extraordinary high-horsepower experience, which is coming soon to Train Simulator! – Gary Dolzall
Soon, through the talents of noted developer DTM, Union Pacific’s first-generation of gas-turbine-electric locomotives – in three authentic versions – will take to the rails of Train Simulator! Climbing the east slope of the Sherman Hill route, “standard” UP 4,500-horsepower GTEL 53 is a 530,000-pound behemoth powered by a 2-stage gas-turbine with a 15-stage axial flow compressor. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
In November 1948, General Electric debuted GTEL demonstrator No. 101, a 4,500-horsepower locomotive with a streamlined carbody, operating cabs at each end, and riding a B+B-B+B truck configuration. After working on the Pennsylvania Railroad and Nickel Plate, the unique prototype spent 21 months and rolled up more than 100,000 miles on the Union Pacific dressed in UP livery and wearing road number 50 (above and below). Note: Screenshots depict content in development.
Based on the testing success of the prototype, Union Pacific purchased ten GTELs in 1952-53 which were similar to No. 50, but with a single operating cab. At legendary Sherman Summit on the Train Simulator Sherman Hill route, Union Pacific 53 is equipped with a fuel tender to substantially increase its operating range.
The upcoming Train Simulator Union Pacific GTEL pack will be truly remarkable in scope and will include all three 4,500-horsepower turbine variants with realistic cab and controls (above). The units will be provided in weathered and snow-dressed versions and the standard turbine can be customized to reflect carbody changes that occurred through the years (below).
Union Pacific purchased an additional fifteen 4,500-horsepower GTELs (UP 61-75) in 1954. Captivating in appearance, these locomotives featured an unusual “veranda” style carbody which provided greater ease of access to the locomotive’s mechanical components. UP 71 rests during the night at Cheyenne, Wyoming (above), while sister UP 61 drags tonnage up the east slope of Sherman Hill at Granite, Wyoming (below).
In addition to the Union Pacific 4,500-horsepower GTELs, the upcoming DLC pack from DTM will a feature a selection of period-appropriate freight rolling stock including a 46-foot gondola, 40-boxcar in multiple liveries, 4,000-gallon tank car, R-30-6 refrigerator car, and Union Pacific CA-5 caboose, plus scenarios for the Sherman Hill route.
Get ready to take the throttle of three variations of Union Pacific’s unique and memorable 4,500-horsepower General Electric gas-turbine-electric locomotives and enjoy a truly extraordinary high-horsepower experience, which is coming soon to Train Simulator!
Screenshots and images displayed in this article may depict content that is still in development. The licensed brands may not have been approved by their respective owner and some artwork may still be pending approval.
TS21: Turbines Tremendous!