British Rail GT3

British Rail GT3

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British Rail GT3

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GT3, meaning Gas Turbine number 3 (following 18000 and 18100 as gas turbines 1 and 2), was a prototype mainline gas turbine locomotive built in 1961 by English Electric at their Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows to demonstrate its wares to British Railways. It was designed by Vulcan engineer J. O. P. Hughes and the project had been started in early 1950s. Externally it resembled a steam tender locomotive, although, in the case of GT3, the tender carried diesel fuel.


It was of 4-6-0 wheel arrangement based on a BR standard class 5 steam locomotive chassis and was fitted with an EM27L gas turbine of 2700hp. It had a maximum speed of 90mph, weighed 123.5tons, and was painted in a red oxide livery.

BR tested it at its Rugby test centre and then on the former Great Central Main Line around Leicester and the West Coast Main Line around the Shap incline.

At the same time, Vulcan was fully engaged in manufacturing diesel-electric locomotives of many types (including the Deltic). These were rapidly becoming the future of rail traction. Diesel-electrics do not need turntables, an advantage that the GT3 with its steam loco style layout could not offer.

BR decided to stay with diesel and electric traction, and GT3 was returned to Vulcan Foundry at the end of 1962, where it was gradually dismantled. It was finally scrapped at T.W. Ward, Salford in February 1966 having been towed there by, ironically, a BR standard steam locomotive.

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