Living Museum of the Great Western Railway

18000 - 'Kerosene Castle'

Prototype gas turbine locomotive ordered in 1946 by the Great Western Railway from Brown Boveri of Switzerland, but not arriving at Swindon until February 1950, well after the GWR had ceased to exist as company.

The locomotive spent its brief working life under test hauling express passenger trains from Paddington before being officially withdrawn in December 1960. The machine, as is perhaps inevitable with prototypes, proved neither reliable nor cheap to run and was competing with diesel electric powered locos of a more proven design.

After withdrawal the locomotive was offered to the European Office for Research and Development and moved back to Switzerland, where the gas turbine was removed and the locomotive modified for use as a testbed for experiments on rail-wheel interaction.

Once these experiments were concluded the locomotive was put on display outside the Mechanical Engineering Testing building in Vienna in 1975 and was eventually secured for preservation in the UK in the early 1990s initially being stored at Crewe Heritage Centre.

The current aim is to carry out body side repairs and to conserve the loco in its current condition. We welcome information on the loco and in particular would like to locate a sound recording of the loco when it was in use.

On arrival a photographic survey of the current condition of the locomotive was undertaken. Some of these photographs are available to view.

Ian Blair was involved in the research programme in the 1970s when 18000 operated on the continent for research into wheel-rail contact and has kindly provided information and photos relating to that period.

Static Display
Build date
Built at
Brown Boveri, Switzerland
Original railway
British Railways
Wheel arrangement
Power class
BR Class 4
Tractive effort
31,500 pounds
115 tons
Wheel diameter
4 feet 0.25 inches
DC Generator and Traction Motors
Traction Motors
Max Speed
90 mph

A Survey of Prototype Gas Turbine Locomotive No. 18000

No. 18000 as a Testbed for Research into Wheel-Rail contact

« Back To Diesel and Gas Turbine Locomotives

Didcot Railway Centre Newsletter

Stay up to date with events and what's going on at Didcot Railway Centre.
You may unsubscribe at any time. We do not share your data with 3rd parties.


Make A Donation

Click To Donate