Niagara power in Buffalo

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Electrical World

New York, NY, United States
p. 171, col. 1-2

Niagara Power in Buffalo

A contract was closed, on July 27, between the Cataract Construction Company, of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, the Buffalo Power & Conduit Company, the Buffalo Street Railway Company and the General Electric Company, involving the transmission to Buffalo of electric current generated at the Falls. The power, according to the terms of the contract, will be delivered in Buffalo not later than Nov. 4 next.

The Buffalo Power & Conduit Company, which was incorporated last June, will control the distribution of the current in the city, and will connect its lines with the transmission line of the Cataract Construction Company, at the northern boundary of the city.

The contracts for the construction of the transmission line, which is to bring the current to the city limit, it is stated, were let on July 25. The pole line will be of sufficient capacity to carry wires for the transmission of 40,000 horse-power to the city, should that amount of power ever be demanded. The line will run from the transformer house at Niagara Falls along what is known as the two-mile-line road, near the tracks of the New York Central and Erie Railroads, crossing the creek at Division Street, and from Tonawanda to the Buffalo city line it will follow the banks of the canal.

The General Electric Company will furnish the generating apparatus required to deliver 1000 horse-power in Buffalo. This power will be delivered to the Buffalo Street Railway Company by Nov. 4 next, for the operation of its cars.

It is not the intention of the Buffalo Street Railway Company, however, to abandon its Niagara Street power plant, at least for the present, although this object may be ultimately carried out.

In this connection it is stated that the Buffalo Street Railway Company produces the steam power which it is now using to run its machinery for the development of electrical power, at a remarkably low cost, and the adoption even partially of Niagara Falls power in the face of this fact indicates the belief of the company in the successful and cheap transmission of this power to the city. The steam-power of the Buffalo Street Railway Company is one of the very cheapest developed powers in the country.

It is stated that the company will utilize the new power entirely for eight-car service, and in conjunction with the Niagara Street plant during the daytime.

The electrical equipment at the Falls will be on the three-phase system, the initial voltage (two-phase) being 2200. This will be raised to 10,000 or 20,000 (three-phase) (the limit has not yet been settled upon) by means of three step-up transformers. Any two of the transformers will deliver 2500 horse-power, the third being a spare one. It is the intention of the Cataract Construction Company to commence transmission operations at 11,000 volts, and later to increase the capacity of their transmission system by increasing the potential to 22,000 volts. The transformers will be designed and insulated to withstand the latter pressure. A complete system of air-blast apparatus is also to be provided for cooling these transformers, as well as a marble switchboard with all necessary instruments for controlling their operation. At the Buffalo end of the line the voltage will be reduced to 400, and at this pressure the current will drive two 500-hp compound-wound rotary converters at the Niagara Street power-house. These converters will produce a 550-volt direct current for the operation of the cars. The rotary transformers will be placed in parallel with the present generators in the Buffalo power-house. They will be of the iron-clad type with steel frames, with collector-rings for the three-phase current at one end, and a commutator for the direct current at the other. They will have air poles and will run at 500 revolutions per minute, and are similar to that placed in the Niagara power-house to furnish current to the Buffalo & Niagara Falls Railroad.

One of the General Electric Company's engineers is reported to have said that 88 per cent. Of the power generated at Niagara Falls will be delivered to the trolley lines in Buffalo, representing losses in transmission, etc., of 12 per cent.

This is the first contract made covering the actual transmission of power to Buffalo from Niagara Falls. For it there was keen competition between the General Electric and the Westinghouse Companies, and the capture of the coveted prize by the General Electric Company may occasion some surprise, especially in connection with the recent visit to the Falls of Messrs. Westinghouse, Tesla and others interested in Westinghouse affairs.


Keywords:Power Transmission : Niagara
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Elton Gish
Date completed:June 3, 2005 by: Elton Gish;