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Rated at 8,500hp, but rumored to be capable of generating 10,000hp. Union Pacific's 3rd generation Gas Turbine-Electric locomotives(GTEL's) must have been a spectacle to behold.

The sound emitted, when the locomotive was running at full power, must have been incredible.

I think seeing one in action would be pretty cool... too bad they're no longer around, anymore.



New Member

Thanks for the link.

The other day, I was thinking about... what locomotive would I most like to see most, in action, track-side? The answer was an easy one, for me... it would be a Union Pacific GTEL, preferably UP 18.

I have an O gauge model of UP's number 18, which is not to scale. Most of my O gauge collection is scale in size, but my GTEL is approximately 35 inches long. The O gauge scale version is at least four feet in length, a truly massive model.

For those that aren't familiar with a GTEL locomotive, there is an A-unit, a B-unit; and a fuel tender. Among other things, the A-unit contained a small diesel engine... used to power the GTEL for short movements, such as in the yard. The B-unit houses the massive turbine engine, that makes and supplies the electricity to the A & B units traction motors. The tender carried the bunker-oil fuel.

UP's GTEL's were so loud that they eventually were prohibited from operating in urban areas; and they ended up working on long distance routes, that were physically challenging for a locomotive.

A while back, I recall hearing that UP would run their GTEL's at full power going up a long grade; and when they crested the summit, the power was turned off; and the train would be allowed to coast downhill, for as long as possible. I believe the GTEL's regularly worked with a least one diesel-electric locomotive, just in case of a turbine failure.

It is my understanding that, UP's GTEL's were solid performers, that racked up high mileage, during their careers. I think that the significant rise in the previously, fairly, inexpensive fuel price... was what led to their demise.

Ya... I would have liked to have seen one of these monsters screaming up a grade, at full power. At one time, they were the most powerful locomotives in North America... they might still hold that record?



In the late 60's My buddies and I would ride our bikes up to the 96th st bridge over the UP in west Omaha. There was always at least one train with a turbine on it after the morning passenger train went by. We coul see them coming for a long way. One day my brother got the idea to stand right over the train as passed under the bridge. He moved pretty fast as the heat from the turbine exhaust rose quickly under the bridge. They were really loud on top of the bridge too. I remember them always having at least one GP9 with them. Interesting with the big rushing sound and then the EMD V16 fading off.


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I enjoyed hearing about your personal experiences, sounds like you guys had some fun. Probably one of the best shows to ride the rails.

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