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In 1944, the Pennsylvania Railroad received a Baldwin-built steam turbine. The turbine was geared down and directly connected to all drivers -- with the most obvious visual clue it was not a "normal" steam locomotive was that it had no cylinders nor main rods. The turbine still had side rods connecting the main drivers -- but no other connecting rods.

Because a turbine did not have as many reciprocating parts it could travel at higher speeds with smaller drivers -- plus it did not "pound" the rails as badly as other steam locomotives. Additionally, a turbine does not produce the "normal" chuffing sound found on traditional locomotives, but rather a loud swoosh sound.

However, it was unsuccessful as a locomotive. Turbines could out pull any locomotive on the rails at the time -- including multiple diesel lashups -- as long as speeds were over 80 or 90 mph. Unfortunately, most turbines didn't spend that much time rocketing across the plains at 100 mph, but rather under 40 mph with local freight and passenger service.

For Lionel, the story of the turbine was a completely different experience. Lionel introduced the 671 turbine in 1946 and a turbine was included in the Lionel catalogue for ten years -- ending with the 682 in 1955. Lionel produced thousands of turbines -- as opposed to only a single turbine for the Pennsylvania in 1944!

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