Despite relatively unsuccessful experiments with turbine style locomotives during the 1940's and 50's the Union Pacific wasn't ready to let the concept die when they unveiled the last of their magnificent turbine locomotives, the No. 80 coal fired, gas turbine in 1962.
This giant 3-unit locomotive used pulverized coal as its fuel source in the turbine and was controlled by an Alco PA-1 cab. Trailing the unit was a Class 25C-3 coal tender originally used behind a 4-6-6-4 Challenger locomotive. The coal tender was rebuilt to contain 61 tons of nugget size coal enough for a 700 mile journey. The turbine unit could muster 5,000 horsepower and nearly 130,000 pounds of tractive effort. When operational, its stacks emitted exhaust at more than 780 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, despite the incredible tractive effort statistics, the engine, like previous turbines, proved too costly to maintain. One of the most common problems suffered by No. 80 were repeated "flame-outs" of the turbine unit due to improper control over the fuel transfer rates. Like all the previous turbines, No. 80 was eventually dismantled and scrapped.
The No. 80 Coal Turbine was the third in an original series of Premier Line turbines produced by M.T.H. in the 1990s. No. 80, like all current Premier Line diesel locomotives, features a slew of new features not previously offered on past turbine productions including spinning roof fans, opening cab doors, illuminated number boards and lighted marker lights and stainless steel body grills. No. 80 also comes equipped with four precision flywheel-equipped motors, a die-cast fuel tender, die-cast trucks, operating Proto-Couplers and the incredible sounds and features of Proto-Sound 2.0. Measuring almost four and a half feet in length, the No. 80 may just be the most impressive locomotive on your roster.