Gas-Electric Models

A place for discussing diverse methods of powering locomotives, such as Internal Combustion, Wind, etc...
HereticUK
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Gas-Electric Models

Post by HereticUK » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:45 am

There's been a lot of talk about "Live Diesel" models, but has anyone constructed a Gas-powered electric locomotive? Is it even possible at the 16mm scale?

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Post by Keith S » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:02 pm

I have seen a couple of attempts on youtube. They use model aeroplane motors and little generators. If you use Google to search for "Wada Works" you will see a clever "gauge 1" size model of an American diesel-electric locomotive that was produced in the '90s. I don't see why this couldn't be done just a little smaller on a 16mm locomotive. I've seen various attempts on youtube.

It seems to me that there are a couple of reasons there hasn't been more effort here, chiefly in my opinion the noise they make is pretty annoying compared to a pleasant little steam engine or a silent battery-powered model, plus whatever body you have on the locomotive has to be removeable and quickly replaceable to access the works to do all the fiddling about necessary to get the thing running.

I think if I were to build one I would concentrate on some way of making an effective "muffler" for it.

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Post by HereticUK » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:39 pm

Yeah I've seen the videos of the "diesel"-electrics on Youtube, but I was thinking of something that is powered by gas, not liquid fuel. The British built a couple of prototypes for the standard gauge after the war but they never really took off. Power was produced by a gas turbine that drove a generator. I've been thinking about it ever since I received a Wrightscale catalogue the other day and saw that they made a "Baldwin 50HP 0-4-0 Gas-Mechanical prototype". I was intrigued until I saw it was battery operated. I was wondering if it would be possible to create a 1:19 scale model of such a locomotive, be it gas-mechanical or gas-electric.

Any thoughts?

EDIT: The link to the Wrightscale model mentioned: http://wrightscale.co.uk/baldwin_50hp.html

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Post by MDLR » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:22 pm

Ah! Bear in mind that the "gas" referred to in that model is gasoline - the original was a petrol-electric!
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Post by HereticUK » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:40 pm

Ohhh really? Wow that's proof of misunderstanding between British English and American English :P But I definitely saw an article somewhere about a gas turbine standard gauge prototype... I will see if I can find it.

EDIT: Wow it seems I am not having a very good day with this brain of mine. It was about a gas-turbine locomotive but I didn't know it meant gasoline until I read it again just now. That is disappointing.

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Post by MDLR » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:52 pm

The Engish Great Western Railway ran a small number of gas-turbine locos just after the War and into the British Railways era - they worked OK but were "different", so got passed over in favour of Diesels.
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Post by HereticUK » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:13 pm

I just automatically assumed that by "gas" it meant Methane or some other gas, not a liquid fuel :-/

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Post by Peter L » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:14 pm

Here in the U.S. the Long Island Rail Road built a pair of different experimental Gas-Turbine MUs in the 60's and 70's. The tests were successful - but nothing ever came of the designs.

http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/gastur ... necars.htm

Amtrak also had several sets of turbines that ran in dedicated service out of New York City to serve upstate New York that were built by Rohr. The last set ran in 2003.

http://www.hebners.net/amtrak/amtTurbosROHR.html

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Post by LnBmad » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:11 am

I know of 1 diesel electric that has been scratch built at the Birmingham society of model engineers.
If it can be made full scale it can be made 16mm

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Post by GTB » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:58 am

Most gas turbine locos. were experimental, but the UP used gas turbine electrics in regular service in the Western US in the '60s, more or less as replacements for the Big Boys.

Gas turbines don't do well in locomotives, road vehicles and ships. They have a high power to weight ratio, but are less efficient than diesels, especially when running at part load.

The UP locos. were withdrawn when the cost of oil sky rocketed in the '70s. Gas turbine merchant ships disappeared around the same time for the same reason. They were just too expensive to run. The military still use gas turbines in warships, but they don't worry about the mpg as much as private enterprise.

Can't recall reading anything about a model gas turbine powered loco. There are now commercial gas turbines available for model aircraft, but the ones I've seen are too big for G1, or SM32/45. Might be possible in G3 though. From memory they run them on LPG (which is propane with a bit of butane).

The first working d/e model loco. I read about was back in the '70s, when Bob Symes-Schutzmann wrote up his G1 model of a class 47 in Model Railways. That used a twin cylinder diesel model boat engine.

There are plenty of petrol electrics around in Oz in the ride-on scales (a mate and I built one 30 years ago), but not many diesel electrics, as it's hard to find suitable diesel motors and small car petrol motors are much cheaper.

I'd imagine a small gas turbine loco. would be even worse than the ones with a little glo-plug motor, when it came to noise level. Model jet aircraft aren't quiet........

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Post by Keith S » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:35 pm

Ha, ha. My post above seems kind of silly now. I did think you were talking about a gasoline-powered model. "Canadian" English is a kind of hybrid British/American. We sound American to English people and English to American people.

There are very small gas-turbine engines made for model aeroplanes, as most people know, but like Graeme says they are very noisy indeed. Most are turbojets but there are "turboprop" engines available, which would probably be able to be adapted to a rail engine. I do not think any of them are small enough to put in a 16mm scale narrow-gauge engine.

I did see a video on youtube of a 5-inch gauge model of a British gas-turbine locomotive which was genuinely powered by a turbine.

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Post by HereticUK » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:45 pm

That sounds interesting... Is there a link for that video? Yeah I remember sitting in a field with my friends not long ago watching someone with a model jet plane. It was very impressive I have to say and it sounded like a jet too! I would have to experiment with such a thing I think before I could say whether it would work or not in a 16mm scale locomotive. However, I have no engineering talents, patience or money for this type of experiment :P

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Post by LnBmad » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:49 pm

The g1 model I mentioned earlier has completely scratch build internals to get the turbine small enough. It's a stunning model and your right in that its not quiet.
If it can be made full scale it can be made 16mm

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Post by HereticUK » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:52 pm

That was the model of that American locomotive, correct? It was a very impressive piece of engineering, I have to say. But then again it did sound just like a real-life locomotive, which was nice.

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Post by MDLR » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:22 am

If you want to watch a video of a 5" gauge model of GT3, go here: http://youtu.be/Jl0TUJh10DE
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