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Make a miracle for non-electrified lines


Catch up with and overtake Shinkansen

Soon after the commercial success of Shinkansen, France began to develop the high speed train. In 967, TGS turbine powered railcar was developed. It was equipped with a diesel engine for starting and low speed cruising. It established the speed record of 235km/h, suddenly and easily broke the record of the internal combustion railcar. Aftter TGS, ETG and RTG turbine powered train were built and the full turbinification was completed. They were exported to Iran, Egypt and licensed to produce them in USA in later years.

At last, most ambitious TGV001, the origin of the current TGV was built. This train was equipped with 2200KW turbine generators at both end ,driven by electric motors and featuring an articulated structure. It easily broken the Shinkansen speed record and reached 318km/h in 1972. This is still the speed record of non-electrified train and established in the normal track and train, not specially tuned one.  Long distance test runnings exceeding 300km/h were repeated 175 times and accumulated many data and experiences. Based on these experiences, SNCF started the construction of the new line between Paris and Lyon and began to design turbine powered trains with 8 car consist, featuring an active tilt system and 250km/h cruising speed. The commercial service was planned to start in 1975. In Japan, Japanese National Railways also planned 250km/h commercial service in Sanyo Shinkansen.

Advanced Passenger Train

British Rail was also ambitious to build a high speed rail. Advanced Passenger Train (APT) was planned and build, which was featuring the turbine-electric propulsion, active tilt system and 240km/h cruising speed.

North America

In North America, United Aircraft developed the direct drive turbine powered single axle articulated passive tilt train. 400 hp small gas turbines were mounted on the motive car.

Canadian National Railway began the commercial service from Tronto to Montreal by using this train named as "TURBO" in 1968. It shortened the trip time about 1 hour from the previous diesel hauled train.
In the United States, New York to Boston commercial service was also started using the same train.
This train achieved the speed record of 275km/h, the fastest record of direct drive internal combustion trains. But advanced, sophisticated mechanism of this train caused many troubles and in United States, it retired in 1972 and in Canada, 1982.
This retirement caused 30 minutes longer trip time in Canada.

In German, TEE diesel train's motive source was replaced with two 2200 hp gas turbine and tested. After this trial, more powerful, 8 car consist train was planned. Two 5000 hp turbine powered motive cars were placed at both end, targeting 200km/h over commercial service.

Other trials were done in some countries, Soviet Union, Japan, China and so on but no commercial service was started in these countries.

It seemed that a bright future was waiting for turbine powered high speed trains, but after one accident, their destiny took a turn for the worse.


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