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Steam Locomotion in the 21st Century

The Recent History of Steam Locomotive Development

Proposed New Steam of the Last ~50 Years

updated 5 February 2022

The following list includes proposals for the construction of new, advanced steam locomotives since about 1970. None of these locomotives were actually built. However, significant progress has been made on the last two listed projects.

Location Locomotive Type Proposed by Details
1970? Argentina 2-10-0 L. D. Porta New coal burning locomotives for the Belgrano Railway.
1970's U.S. various Andre Chapelon/
George Carpenter
New coal burning steam locomotives to be based on existing modern U.S. designs but incorporating Chapelon thermodynamic improvements.
1974 China 2-10-4 unknown New locomotives based on Chapelon's post WWII 3-cylinder compounds.
1975 Argentina 2-12-0, 2-10-10-2, or 2-12-12-0 L. D. Porta New coal burning steamers to be built for the Rio Turbio to transport expected increased output from the coal mines.
1976 U.S. 2-10-0 L. D. Porta Third Generation coal burning steam locomotive for fast freight service.
1979 Rhodesia/
2-10-4 or 4-10-4 Derek Cook New locomotives intended to supplement Garratts under restoration which were used to replace diesel locomotives in the late 70's/early 80's. Locomotives intended to incorporate improvements proven in South Africa on 19D #2644
1980 U.S. 4-8-2 American Coal Enterprises Initial ACE 3000 proposal.
1980 U.S. 4-10-4, 2-8-8-4 North American Locomotive Company Company started by Riley Deem, a former consulting engineer for the Lima Locomotive Works.
1981 U.S. C-C-C-C+C-C Shoemaker and Associates Dual cab, 9000 HP condensing Steam Turbine Electric. Intended to be equivalent to 3 6-axle diesel-electrics.
1981 UK or
South Africa
4-8-2+2-8-4 Dr. John Sharpe Modern condensing Garratt configuration for general service.
1982 U.S. C-C National Steam Propulsion Company Coal-fired steam electric to be based on rebuilds of existing diesels. Compact high pressure boiler feeding single-acting compound expansion steam engine, based on existing diesel engine block.
1985 U.S. 2-10-0, 2-10-2, or 2-8-0+0-8-2 American Coal Enterprises Proposed as an interim locomotive to help the engineering team gain experience with steam design; an interim design working towards the final ACE 3000.
1986 China 2-10-2 David Wardale QJ2, extensively modernized redesign of standard Chinese QJ freight engine, backed by the Ministry of Energy. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Railways had no interest in the project and Mr. Wardale's efforts were to no avail.
1989 U.S. "fireless" triple-turbine steam turbine electric Harry Valentine Proposed to the FRA. Concept used a triple turbine, in a 1-2-4 power ratio and yielding 7-equal step power increments, each operating at maximum turbine efficiency. Advanced thermal energy storage system.
1990 Argentina 0-6-2T L. D. Porta Switching engines
1990 Australia 2-14-2+2-14-2 or 4-10-4+4-10-4
Garratt (image)
  900 PSI watertube boilers, triple expansion, natural gas or coal synth-fuel fired.
1995 India, Nilgiri Railway 2-8-2RT SLM Modern oil-fired rack-and-adhesion steamers proposed to replace 1950's vintage SLM steamers.
1995 India, Darjeeling Himalaya ? SLM Modern oil-fired steamers to replace the 19th century design 0-4-0STs still operating.
1995 Germany 2-10-2T SLM Proposal for new locomotives for the narrow gauge Hartz Railway.
1997 Wales 2-6-2+2-6-2 Garratt Nigel Day NGG17- new-construction narrow gauge Garratt for the Welsh Highland Railway. 
1998 Germany 0-6-0 Jurgen Quellmalz Modern oil-fired 0-6-0 based on existing running gear from 0-6-0 fireless locomotives built as recently as the 1980's.
1999 Cuba 0-6-2T L. D. Porta New steamers proposed for Cuba. Design complete; construction was scheduled to start January 2002. Designated LVM 800 Series. The death of the chief proponent of the project in Cuba killed the project.
1990s? U.S. 4500 HP recip/electric George Carpenter/
Robin Comyns-Carr
Once-thru coil tube, ~1700 PSIG boiler, triple expansion prime mover, condensing.
2000 Argentina 2-8-2T L.D. Porta, S. McMahon,
P. Girdlestone.
New steamers for passenger service on meter gauge Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds) in Salta. Designated 801 Series. This is a 2-8-2T, 3 cylinder with Porta improved compounding. A water car is provided but really cannot be classed as a tender (quick release couplings so as to detach at the penultimate station and propel to the top). Oil fired with double Lempor or single Lemprex exhaust (depends on the latter being developed in time).
2000 Argentina 0-6-0T or 0-6-2T L.D. Porta, S. McMahon,
P. Girdlestone.
Designated 2CC. Compound locomotive with Porta improved compounding.  0-6-0 wheel arrangement for maximum adhesion on drivers (0-6-2 if larger cab is required). Prototypes being designed for 500 mm and 600 mm gauge as pilot project. 150 Horse Power. Fuel - oil, coal, wood, or biomass. Exhaust- single Lempor/single Lemprex (as for 801). First locomotive likely to be demonstrated on F.C. Austral Fueguino, Argentina. Essentailly FCAFs 2 - 6 - 2 T Camila is the first stage demonstrator of advanced technology that will be incorporated in the 2CC.
2000(?) Argentina 0-4-0+0-4-0 L.D. Porta, S. McMahon, P. Girdlestone. Advanced design Garratt for F.C. Austral Fueguino, Argentina.
2001 UK 4-6-0 David Wardale New design 4-6-0 based on BR Class 5, incorporating all possible 2nd Generation Technology within a classical steam locomotive outline. Intended for service on main-line excursion trains in the UK. See the 5AT website for details.
2001 UK 2-6-2T or 2-6-2 Project "Miss Morley" Modern small steam locomotive intended for British heritage railway service. To incorporate GPCS, roller bearings, advanced exhaust system, etc. (I don't believe this was a serious proposal; the project's website has disappeared.)
2002 Germany 2-8-2T DLM New, modern meter gauge steamers to replace ~50 year old East German 2-10-2T's on passenger trains.
~2000 Wales 2-8-0 Nigel Day Modern 3-cylinder compound 2-8-0 based on the USATC S160
2-8-0 of WWII. Named "Idris".
~2000 USA 1, 2 and 3 unit steam-electric T.W. Blasingame, Inc.

Tom Blasingame's company proposed several advanced-design steam electric designs since the 1980's. The designs evolved over time into a proposal for a 7500 HP single-unit solid fueled locomotive. Read more here: Steam Page Release 6-13-2005

Post Office Box 1532
Boise, Idaho 83701-1532

(updated contact info added 10 May 2015)

2008 Switzerland 4-8-4T DLM New, modern standard gauge steamer for passenger service in the Netherlands.  Rendering at DLM Modern Steam Proposals
New Zealand
Mackwell Locomotive Works
Modern 2-6-0 using a novel water tube boiler. Will incorporate full Porta features and use wood as fuel. Boiler was completed in March 2019. Progress on other components continues. Read more here:
2-6-0 or 2-6-0T
Jamie Keyte
Called "Revolution", this is a proposed steam locomotive design for heritage service in the UK. Emphasis is on low cost/high reliability rather than maximum performance and thermal efficiency. The intention is to first build a 10-1/4" gauge demonstration/test locomotive before building full-size locomotives. Some parts have been completed for the 10-1/4" engine.

Read more at the Advanced Steam Traction Trust site:

If you know of proposed new steam locomotive projects that I have omitted, please write me at