Gas-Turbine Locomotive

Gas-Turbine Locomotive


a locomotive that has a gas-turbine engine or an engine combining a free-piston gas generator and a gas turbine. Nearly all existing gas-turbine locomotives have a single-shaft gas-turbine unit with an open cycle and with electrical drive.

Gas-turbine locomotives first appeared in the USA in 1948. In 1969 the Union Pacific Railroad had as many as 50 gasturbine locomotives in use, with engines with a power of 3,300 kilowatts (kW), or 4,500 hp, and 6,300 kW (8,500 hp). Gas-turbine locomotives have also been built in Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia. The first such locomotives in the Soviet Union were put into use in 1965.

The power plant of a gas-turbine locomotive with electrical drive consists of a gas turbine, a compressor, a DC generator, and traction motors. The generator supplies electrical energy to the traction motors, which are usually located on each drive axle of the locomotive.

The type of gas-turbine engine and its intended application determine the mode of power transmission from the turbine shaft to the drive wheels. If the engine has one shaft, an electrical drive like that in a diesel locomotive is used. So-called rigid drive, which may be used in gas-turbine locomotives with multishaft engines, may be mechanical (main reduction gear, universal joints, and axial reduction gears) or AC electrical (synchronous generators and asynchronous squirrel-cage motors). Gas-turbine locomotives usually have a diesel starter with a power of 150-240 kW (200-300 hp), whose main function is to raise the speed of rotation of the generator to the point at which the compressor begins to supply air to the combustion chamber. The starter also propels the locomotive when it is running without its train; and it supplies power to certain auxiliary equipment. The gasturbine

Figure 1. Configuration of the power plant of the G1-01 gas-turbine locomotive: (1) compressor, (2) turbine, (3) combustion chamber, (4) reduction gear, (5) main generators, (6) auxiliary diesel engine, (7) high-voltage chambers, (8) cooler, (9) fuel tank, (10) braking compressor

unit on a locomotive usually operates on heavy liquid fuel or gas.

Gas-turbine locomotives have a number of advantages not only in comparison with steam locomotives but also, in several respects, in comparison with diesel locomotives. For example, the specific weight of a gas-turbine locomotive— that is, the weight per unit of power—is about 50 percent of the weight for a steam locomotive and about 75 percent of that for a diesel locomotive. The compactness of a gasturbine unit makes it possible to reduce the length of the locomotive to about one-half that of a diesel locomotive of equal power. The power plant of the gas-turbine locomotive does not require water. The simplicity of construction of a gas-turbine system ensures its reliability and uninterrupted operation; it also facilitates maintenance and routine repairs. The operation of a gas-turbine locomotive is simply the regulation of the supply of fuel to the combustion chamber. The proper operation of the electrical drive is maintained automatically.

Gas-turbine locomotives produced at the Kolomna Locomotive Plant (model G1-O1; Figure 1) are noted for the high reliability of their engines, for simplicity of maintenance and repair, and for their ability to operate on heavy fuels.

Gas-turbine locomotive engineering still has not left the experimental stage. Gas-turbine locomotives are still comparatively inefficient (about half as efficient as diesel locomotives); attempts are being made to increase their efficiency. The Lugansk Locomotive Plant has built an experimental gas-turbine locomotive with a free-piston gas generator and a power of 2,200 kW (3,000 hp). Its power plant consists of four electrical generators working from one gas turbine, a hydromechanical drive, and auxiliary equipment. Similar experimental gas-turbine locomotives have also been built in France and Sweden; their efficiency is as high as 30-32 percent.


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