Thursday, January 04, 2007

Would Be One Pretty Standard Gauge Locomotive!

I was doing some reading yesterday about the famous PRR S-2 #6200 6-8-6 steam turbine locomotive that became so famous as a Lionel product in the Postwar period. You may know that there was only one prototype built, and that the single locomotive's service life was under five years. Diesel power had its foot firmly in the door by the time the turbine came on the scene, and it was doomed from the start. #6200 was scrapped in 1952, less than 10 years after it was built. It's one of toy-train-land's great ironies that Lionel made and sold thousands of models of turbines for a period of several years.

What you may not know is that the development of the PRR steam turbine was based upon an earlier British steam turbine locomotive, the London, Midlands, and Scottish (LMS) #6202 "Turbomotive," a Princess class (4-6-2) engine designed by the famous Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LMS, W. A. Stainer. Click on the link in the title to see a picture of the "Turbomotive." The Bassett-Lowke 0 gauge tinplate model pictured above is of a Stainer Pacific, the "Princess Helena Victoria." Unfortunately, the British experiment with steam turbine power was as problematic as was that of the Americans.

Another interesting fact about the turbines is that, unlike conventional steam locomotives, they were actually gear driven, just like so many of our standard gauge tinplate models. The turbines were actually geared to the drive wheels! There were massive side rods, but no pistons and valves.

I've really become quite enamored of the prototypes as well as the beautiful tinplate models of British steamers, because the design of the prototypes so lends itself to reproduction in tinplate, unlike American steamers. I'd love to see a standard gauge model of one of these British steamers, whether it be of the Stainer Pacific or the famous Gresley A3 standard or A4 streamlined Pacifics. Imagine the "Princess Helena Victoria" pictured above in standard gauge tinplate!


1 comment:

kessels said...

Steam turbine manufacturers - Kessels is a leading Steam Turbine manufacturer in the range of 5 KW to 30 MW, providing the most reliable and efficient steam turbine solutions for over 25 years.