Three Phase Transmission for Railway Service in Philadelphia uses Locke Insulators

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Street Railway Journal

New York, NY, United States
vol. 15, no. 6, p. 353-357, col. 1-2

Three Phase Transmission for Railway Service Near Philadelphia

The increase in the number and extent of suburban electric railways near Philadelphia has kept pace with that surrounding other large cities in this country, and Philadelphia is now connected electrically with Wilmington on the south and Westchester on the west, while the extension of roads to the north is being carried on rapidly. These roads make connections in the outskirts of the city with the system of the Union Traction Company of Philadelphia, but the suburban cars do not run into the center of the city, as in some instances, over the tracks of the city company.


Interior of Main Power Station—Westchester Traction Company


Among the lines in operation that of the Philadelphia & Westchester Traction Company is, from an electrical standpoint, probably the most interesting, on account of the use of the three-phase current for power distribution. The line is 20 miles in length, and extends from the corner of Sixty-third and Market Streets, Philadelphia, in almost a direct line along the turnpike, which is controlled by the company, to the Borough of Westchester, which has a population of 15,000. The region traversed is a rich and rolling farming territory, and crosses a series of six ridges and valleys, with grades of from 4 to 6 per cent on each side, some of the grades being over 3500 ft. long. Eight miles of this line, or that from the eastern terminus to Newton Square, were built in 1894, but the old track has been completely reconstructed.

The track is rock ballasted for the entire length, and east of Newton Square is a 58-lb. T rail, furnished by William Wharton. Jr., & Co., with tongue switches, mates and frogs of manganese steel. The ties are 5 ins. x 7 ins. x 7 ft., laid 2-ft. centers. No. 0 trolley wire, with the General Electric overhead material is used. West of Newtown Square 58-lb. Johnson T rails in 60-ft. lengths are used, laid on oak and chestnut ties of the size already mentioned. The trolley wire on this section is a No. 0000, and double for the entire distance, as no feeders are employed. The overhead material is of the General Electric and McCallum type. Within the Borough of Westchester a 9-in. Johnson girder rail in 6-ft. lengths is used, on 6-in. x 8-in. x 8-ft. oak ties. Mayer & Englund 0000 protected bonds are used throughout. The Ramsey block-signal system is used.

The main power station is at Llanarch, 2 ¼ miles from the eastern terminal. It is of red brick on rubble stone foundations, and measures 100 ft. x 52 ft. 5 ins. The roof trusses are of steel, supported by steel columns, wrhich also carry the crane girders. The boiler room is 44 ft. x 51 ft., and 20 ft. high, and contains three Pierpont watertube boilers of 200 h.p. each. These boilers are fed by two No: 10 Sellers injectors, and burn bituminous coal.

The engine room is 52 ft. 5 ins. x 51 ft., and contains two Harrisburg Ideal compound condensing engines, 17 ins. and 28 ins. x 42-in. stroke, each directly connected to a G. E. 400-kw. generator, with a speed of 100 r.p.m. In the basement each engine is connected with a single cylinder air pump and jet condenser, 12 ins. and 16 ins. x 18 ins., manufactured by the Snow Steam Pump Company, which also supplied the steam pump, which is 10 ins. x 5 ins. x 10 ins. In the engine room is also a 15-ton Sellers crane, operated from the main floor. The switchboard is of the standard type of the General Electric Company, with two generator and four feeder pa