Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Union Pacific Railroad Press Release

For release after 7 p.m. (EST)
Saturday, April 29, 1950

Joint Release from
1416 Dodge Street, Omaha, Neb.
and General News Bureau (HLR)
Schenectady 5, New York

The nation's first gas turbine-electric locomotive, a 4,5OO horsepower unit which the General Electric Company and the American Locomotive Company are testing on the Union Pacific, hauls a freight train near Sloan, Nev. The locomotive is back on U.P. freight runs after undergoing a thorough shop inspection following completion of its first year of operation.

In summarizing the unit’s first year on the rails, G.W. Wilson, manager of General Electricts Locomotive and Car Equipment Divisions at Erie, Pa., declared that during the period the locomotive "performed successfully under alnost every conceivable operating condition." Wilson emphasized, however, that the developtiiental unit must undergo many more hours of rigid road tests before its future as a railroad prime mover can he determined.

Outwardly resembling a diesel-electric, its powerplant is a gas turbine similar in principle to those which power jet planes. There is no jet effect, or thrust, however, as in a plane. The turbine is connected through reduction gears to electric generators, which run electric motors, driving the wheels. The Alco-G-E unit has more than twice the horsepower of a diesei-electric of comparable size.

The caboose immediately to the rear provides working space for G-E engineers who observe performance and note operating data.


Photo # NB11432


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Joseph A. Smith (1895-1978) was an avid collector of railroad photos, sharing many of them with fellow collectors in the Northeast. A former plumbing contractor, Smith presumably developed his interest in railroads through his father – a trolley motorman in Troy, NY.

His extensive collection focused on the lines that once served Troy: Delaware & Hudson, Rutland, Boston & Maine and New York Central. Many of his children – especially his sons Joseph Jr., James and Paul -- developed a similar interest and added to his collection with photos of their own. Maintaining the collection is now in the hands of his grandson, Kenneth Bradford. Coincidentally, Ken’s other grandfather worked as a manager at the Schenectady plant of the American Locomotive Company.

Smith was a life member of the Capital District Railroad Club of Schenectady. He was also a member of the Mohawk-Hudson Chapter Railway Historical Society and its parent organization, the National Railway Historical Society.