Publication: Western Electrician
Chicago, IL, United States
Electric Power Transmission from
Niagara Falls to Buffalo.
BY ORRIN E. DUNLAP.
The transmission line which is to carry Niagara power to Buffalo is well nigh completed. This line is the property of the Niagara Falls Power company, and is about 26 miles long. For about 18 miles of this distance it runs through private property, the right of way purchased by the power company being 30 feet wide. For about five miles of the distance the line runs along the Erie Canal. The contract for the construction was placed with the White-Crosby company of Baltimore, and on August 14th work was commenced. So energetically has the company and its men labored that the work is now about completed, only the finishing touches yet remaining to be done. The superintendent of the work was John A. Wilson, and considerable credit is due to his ability for the rapid progress made. This transmission line is destined to prove another factor in drawing in closer touch the cities and villages between Lake Erie and the Falls of Niagara, for the mere thought of transmitting force over it lessens the distance to the extent of making them all seem one place.
The Niagara Falls end of the line is at the transformer house adjoining the Niagara Falls Power Company's generating plant, and from this point it extends in an easterly direction along the north side of Adams avenue and over the property of the power company to a point 1 1/2 miles east of Sugar street. Here it leaves the line of Adams avenue and strikes out along the west side of and adjacent to the right of way of the Niagara Junction Railway company, and continues to a point about 500 feet north of the Mile Line road, when it turns at right angles and runs nearly due east through the power company's property to one mile north of La Salle. From this point it continues along the line of the old mile survey all the way to Tonawanda Creek. In doing this it follows closely the old line established in the closing years of the last century and re-established by old maps, notes and persons, and by a new map filed in the county clerk's office in Lockport. After crossing the Tonawanda Creek near Division street, in the village of North Tonawanda, the line continues in a Southerly direction over the right of way of the Buffalo, Thousand Islands & Portland railroad and along private property to the south line of the village, of North Tonawanda. This boundary line is followed about 1 1/4 miles in a westerly direction, where it again crosses private property in a northwesterly direction to the east bank of the Erie Canal, which it reaches near the foot of Hinds street, in the village of Tonawanda. It then follows the canal bank to Buffalo, the pole line meeting the conduit about 300 feet north of Brace street; and from this point to the power station of the Buffalo Street Railway company the cables will be laid underground, the distance being about 4,200 feet. In reaching Buffalo the line passes through the city of Niagara Falls, the town of Niagara, the town of Wheatfield, the village of North Tonawanda, the village of Tonawanda and the city of Buffalo, about 2 1/2 or three miles, however, being built in the last named place. All these places are in the counties of Niagara and Erie, the two counties first to receive the benefits of the Niagara development, but as the rights along the canal bank, which is state property, are obtained through the franchise granted by the state to the Cataract General Electric company, there is no telling to what extent the transmission is likely to be continued. It is apparent, however, that the Niagara-Buffalo line defines how easy it will be for many other towns and cities to be benefited by the transmission of Niagara power to their borders as a result of the action of the state in granting the Cataract General Electric company rights along the canal bank, for, as the right of way for the line will not have to be purchased, power can necessarily be delivered at less cost — a fact by which the people in the end should profit.
In traveling between the Falls and Buffalo, one catches an occasional glimpse of the pole line, and it is eagerly scanned by people anxious to know all about what is deemed a wonder for what it is destined to accomplish. The poles stand from 35 to 65 feet in height, and are all in place, about 200 men working in six gangs having been engaged in setting them under Superintendent Wilson's supervision. All of them are of white cedar and shaved. The pictures in connection with this article give an excellent idea of the manner in which the line is built. It will be seen that it is very substantial in all its parts, it having been a constant thought to give strength to it. The depth at which the poles are set is from six to eight feet. The ground along the line of transmission is for the greater part clay, and the larger number of the poles are just placed in the ground and well tamped. However, where soft soil was met the poles were set in concrete. In the construction of the present line the poles have been set to the east side of the center of the 30-foot strip, the outside line being one foot beyond the outside end of the large cross-arms. This was done so that another line of similar capacity could be built on the west side of the right of way should occasion demand it. The poles are set from 60 to 75 feet apart, the distance being varied in order to overcome any possible vibration of the spans. All the poles are to be painted with two coats of pure white lead and boiled linseed oil. In the transmission of the current from the Falls to Buffalo complete transposition is effected every five miles. At each of these five points on the line two poles which are five feet higher than those adjoining are set. In the picture entitled "A Very Crooked Portion of the Pole Line" one of these transposition points is shown, the first two poles appearing above the margin of the woods on the left being a set of the poles referred to. In turning sharp angles like corners six poles are used instead of three, and these are fitted with double cross-arms in order to distribute the strain of the cable on six instead of three pins. All poles set at angles are to be guyed to the bottom of the opposite poles by a three-fourth wire strand. All of the poles have three cross-arms. The two upper cross-arms are designed for power cables, and are of the same size, 12 feet long by 4 3/4 by 5 3/4 inches, and made of yellow pine. They are supported by solid braces made of two by two inch angle iron. The lower cross-arms are intended for telephone purposes. They are six feet long by 3 1/4 by 4 1/4 inches, and are supported by 1 1/2 by 1/4 inch angle iron braces. All the cross-arms are staggered, and the gains are painted before they are set. The double cross-arms used at corners and other angles are fastened by 3/4 by 10 inch lags and a three-fourths inch bolt through all parts. The upper cross-arms will carry iron pins on which galvanized barbed fence wire will be strung as a protection against lightning. This wire will be at a height of 18 inches and will be grounded at frequent intervals along the line. The pin holes in the cross-arms have a depth of four inches, and all are provided with drainage holes. All the pins are boiled in linseed oil and their butts painted. The pins are not nailed in position until after the double petticoated porcelain insulators are screwed on them.