Home page
What is a turbotrain?
What is a gas turbine?
   Merit demerit
   Torque details
__More power!
__More speed!
__Miracle in non-electrified line
__ Oil crisis
Turbo train in Japan
  Background for the birth
    Primary source1
    Primary source2
    Primary source3
    Primary source4
    Primary source5
    Primary source6
    Primary source7
    Primary source8
    Primary source9
    Primary source10
    Primary source11
  Revealed problems
Gas turbine advancement
  Facts M1 Abrams revealed
  Second generation of turbines
   Challenge to diesels
Trends of turbo trains
  ALPS project
  Low emission locomotive
 Performance of turbo train
 Is M1 power pack available?
 Effects of 4 speed transmission
  JetTrain simulation
  JetTrain 300 km/h operation
  EMU versus Turbo train


Desire for higher speed !


 As a prime mover for locomotive, only in the U.S. gas turbines engaged in large scale commercial use, but in 60's the demand for high speed rail increased the significance of  the gas turbine's high power.

Impact of Shinkansen

Success of the bullet train "Shinkansen" astonished rail industries all over the world. In those days rail industry was on the road of decline and extinction because people took a long distance trip by air and short trip by car, many believed the supremacy of automobiles and planes. Shinkansen was being build in these circumstances.
As is well known, its success applied the brakes to declining of a rail transportation and gave the hope to railroad industries for high speed rail.

Not new track

Conventional tracks in Europe and America had straight or shallowly curved track without steep slope and conventional trains had been operating at 160 km/h. So conventional lines were used for high speed operation in these countries to avoid high capital cost for the construction of new lines. A high speed non-electrified train was also expected to avoid high capital cost for electrifications.

Advancement of gas turbines

In those days the power source of airplanes are occupied by gas turbines and the turbine performance was nothing short of amazing. Many engineers were eager to apply this turbine performance to land and sea applications.
There were many projects to utilize turbines to automotive power source, in the Indy 500 reciprocating engine cars were feared by a turbine car.
In railroads even electric trains had not enough performance and steams and diesels were far from the high speed.

Limits of electric drive

In those days, electric motors had comparably enough performance to achieve over 200km/h speed. Shinkansen's maximum operating speed was 210km/h from the first commercial operation and 256km/h at the speed trial.
In French, the electric locomotive achieved 330.88km/h in 1955. This is the record of one time speed trial and tracks and catenaries were severely damaged at this trial and engineers knew difficulties of providing with electricity from an overhead wire.
There were no other speed trial over 300km/h except this.  

Limits of diesel drive

Diesels were left behind of steams in the performance and in 1936, German high speed DMU achieved the record of 205km/h. 3 years after, the new record was established (215km/h).
Steams were exceeded 200km/h already and in 1938 British Mallard established the record 202.8km/h.
After this period, the speed record of diesels had not advanced until British HST achieved 229km/h.

This very slow improvement did not made rail engineers expect the high speed application of the diesel train and they expected the high performance of a gas turbine to build non-electric high speed lines.