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Kiha 07 turbine powered prototype


In 1966, basic researches to apply a turbine to a railcar was began and in 1968, the gas turbine mounted kiha 07 was built. It was tested on Joban east line next year. This railcar had a small engine under the floor with a large air supplying and discharging device.  At first glance, this railcar seemed to have a capacity of 300 horse power but contrary to expectation, it had a capacity of over 1000 horse power. What exciting underfloor power source!
It was a gas turbine spinning nearly 20000 rpm, a few percent in mass compared to a diesel with the same output. Its designed speed was amazing 150 km/h. Size of the engine was about 50 cm in diameter, 130 cm in length and weigh only 138 kg.  Total mass of the power source and transmission system was only bout 5 tons. Kiha 07 got seven times higher power than before and transformed into a super-railcar, most powerful railcar in Japan or narrow gage railcars all over the world. 


Next graph is the performance curve (speed - tractive effort curve)  of this railcar. Each plot was actually measured value on test bench.

It produced tractive effort of 1845kg at the speed of 153km/h and the output at the wheel rim exceeded 1000 horse power.

As a reserve of acceleration is sufficient, it might have exceeded a speed of 160 km/h and established a speed record of railcars in Japan, still not have been broken. DMU exceeded a speed of 150 km/h over 20 years later, Series kiha 183 established  the record of 153.5 km/h.
In those days, non-electrified high speed line was not planned in Japan and the designed speed of this railcar is somewhat excessive. Was this an expectation for turbine powered high speed planning ? It is not known true or not.

In the actual test run on Joban east line, the maximum operating speed was limited to 85 km/h and kiha 07 prototype ran slowly hauling one heavy DMU kiha 58 as a dead weight. So that the fuel economy was very bad, consumed about twice the fuel of DMUs.
Next year, the engine was replaced to the other one, KTF1430 gas turbine equipped with built-in reduction gear. This replacement resulted in large reduction ratio and high tractive effort, the engine output was restricted to 800 horse power to perform test runs.


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