A Battery Box For a Con-Cor GE 4500 Gas Turbine

Over the next few months I will be doing some of 3D printed shell designs using the illustrious Con-Cor General Electric 4500 Gas Turbine and making some improvements along the way.  As the NMRA (BR) convention is only six weeks away some of my posts leading up to it might be a bit shorter than normal and so to start with in this post I want to share with you the simplest improvement I have for the Con-Cor Gas Turbine.

Con-Cor GE Gas turbibe

The locomotive, as pictured above, is Con-Cor’s N scale model of the General Electric (GE) 4500 ‘Veranda’ Gas Turbine which was first introduced in 1975.  This model is an excellent performer and consequently has had very few enhancements over the years but there is one detail which is wrong for this model.  Between the four trucks is a fuel tank; however the real 4500 ‘Veranda’ Gas Turbines had a battery box in this location.  Here are some links to images on Railpictures showing the battery box.

Veranda turbine No. 65 helping Big Boy 4020 with a reefer train over Sherman Hill in 1957. (Photo taken by Jack Pfeifer).

Veranda turbine No. 61 pulling a freight consisting of boxcars across Wyoming in 1956. (No photographer listed on slide).  The image is particularly interesting because of the fuel tender behind the locomotive.  Anybody who has followed my work on the pre rebuilt water tenders for the UP heritage fleet might recognize the shape.

These turbine engines did have their own fuel tanks for both diesel and bunker C fuel oil for the turbine but they were positioned inside the main car body.  The diesel fuel powered the donkey engine used to move the locomotive when running light engine and to start-up the turbine prime mover.  UP found that having the main bunker C fuel oil stored inside the locomotive meant that it lost tractive effort as the fuel was used and the weight went down.  Moving the fuel to a larger trailing tender meant the tractive effort remained constant and the range of the locomotive was also increased.  Crews also reported the tenders to be much easer to fill.

The reason Con-Cor have a fuel tank in this location is because the chassis for this locomotive has been recycled from their earlier model of a GE U50 as pictured below.  Ironically the real chassis used to make the U50’s came from recycled Gas Turbines.

Con-Cor GE SP U50

The U50 had a pair of diesel engines for prime movers instead of the turbine requiring more diesel fuel tanks.  GE moved all the batteries and electrical equipment inside the new car body and installed a fuel tank between the trucks.

Con-Cor GE U50-Gas Turbine Chassis

On the con-cor chassis, pictured above, the fuel tank also holds the two inner trucks in place so the simplest thing to do was to replicate the internal shape and add the battery box doors and louvers to the sided.  Below is a rendering of the 3D printed part.

GE Gas Turbine Battery Box Render

The old fuel tank is held in place with one screw; when undone the tank pops off and a new battery box can be put in its place.  Below is an image of the new battery box as it was delivered from Shapeways and an image showing it cleaned alongside the original fuel tank.

Gas Turbine Batter Box - Raw 1 Gas Turbine Batter Box - Clean 7

The new battery box still needs to be painted in UP Harbor Mist Gray to pick out the details of the louvers. The brilliant white of the cleaned FUD is very hard to photograph but already you can see the how it complements the gas turbine locomotive.

Gas Turbine Batter Box - Clean 5

The detail on the side is much clearer in the photo below.Gas Turbine Batter Box - Clean 6

I have made this part available as a single unit or as a pair and you can get them through the links below.

1 UP Gas Turbine Battery Box for Con-Cor Gas Turbine

2 UP Gas Turbine Battery Boxes for Con-Cor Gas Turbines

Here’s the new battery box in situ.

Once I have painted the battery box I will have some more images to share with you.