Publication: Western Electrician
Chicago, IL, United States
Transmission Line from Niagara Falls
BY ORRIN E. DUNLAP.
A power-transmission line that may become the greatest in the United States is being constructed from Niagara Falls, N. Y., to Syracuse in the same state. Syracuse is 157 miles east from Niagara Falls, and for this entire distance the new transmission line will run through a thickly populated section of country in which there are numerous cities and villages that would like to be supplied with electricity from Niagara. This power line is being erected by the Niagara, Lockport and Ontario Power Company, which company will receive its power supply from the station of the Ontario Power Company at the water's edge in the gorge on the Canadian side of the river. The Ontario Power Company is understood to be under contract with the Niagara, Lockport and Ontario Power Company to deliver it power in large blocks at the international boundary line. Extending from the transformer or distributing station of the Ontario Power Company on the Canadian side of the river, the Ontario Power Transmission Company, Limited, has built a transmission line northward beyond the city of Niagara Falls, Ont., to a point below Foster's Flat, on the Canadian side, or better known by the name of "Devil's Hole" on the New York side.
At this point the cables of the line drop from the towers to cantilever arms that project out from the edge of the high bank and then drop to steel towers located near the water's edge in the gorge. From the top of the towers on the Canadian side to the top of similar steel towers on the New York side, the span is about 600 feet, and the cables are stretched over the river. Passing the towers on the New York shore, the cables run up to cantilever arms projecting over the edge of the high bank. At this point the cables pass over the Lewiston track of the New York Central, built midway between the top of the high bank and the water's edge. At the outer edge of the track three steel towers have been erected, and these are connected by wire at the top to prevent the cables dropping on to the track in case of accident. At the top of the high bank on the New York side the cables pass to poles and onward to a double row of steel towers that extend eastward to Rochester. These towers are placed at intervals of 550 feet, and are of tripartite construction, the three legs being of 2 1/2-inch tubing filled with concrete and sunk five feet below the surface of the ground in concrete footings. The total weight of each tower is about 2,800 pounds. It is said that the greatest possible strain to which the towers will be subjected is about 4,700 pounds, which considers the weight of the cables, a wind of 100 miles an hour, and a coating of ice or sleet. From Niagara Falls to Lockport the company's right-of-way is 300 feet wide. From Lockport to Rochester it is 200 feet wide, and from Rochester to Syracuse it is 100 feet in width. In all, there will be about 1,500 steel towers on the work, and in addition to these there will be something like 2,500 "A" frames between Rochester and Syracuse, which will serve in place of the towers for the cable supports, along a railroad, until the private right-of-way has been perfected. The steel towers are about 55 feet high, and at a height of 49 feet they have an arm which supports two insulators, the third insulator being on the apex of the tower, as seen in the accompanying illustration. The insulators have two petticoats and a hood, the latter being the largest, and having a diameter of 14.5 inches. Each insulator is about 28 inches high and has a weight of about 75 pounds.
The cables on this transmission line are of aluminum, and where they cross the Niagara River are nine in number. Each cable is made up of 19 No. 5 wires. The nine cables provide for three three-phase transmission systems, and up to the present time six cables have been run eastward from Niagara Falls to Lockport, where a transformer station is being built on the Ernest farm. From this station a branch line has been built to West Seneca, known as the Depew-South Buffalo branch. This line is built on a right-of-way 200 feet wide. Beyond Lockport, the transmission line passes Gasport, Middleport, Medina, Albion, Holley, Spencerport and other places before it reaches Rochester. Ten or 11 miles east of Lockport the main line divides, a branch running toward the south, but meeting the main line again south of Rochester at Mortimer, a small station. A sub-station will be located at Mortimer, and from this point the cables will extend along the West Shore right-of-way on "A" frames to Syracuse. The frames are nearly 50 feet high and will be set 220 feet apart. The frames take their name from their shape. Other transformer or distributing stations will be located at desirable points.
As there are 19 aluminum wires in each cable, it will be interesting to know the number of miles of wire to be used in all the cables to be erected on the main and branch lines, and it is safe to assume that it will be 10,000 or 12,000 miles, possibly more. The aluminum cables of this transmission across the Niagara gorge are the only cables that cross or span the gorge in this way, as the connection between the stations of the Niagara Falls Power Company and the station of the Canadian Niagara Power Company is made by cables run across the upper steel-arch bridge. A bill has been introduced in the New York state Legislature providing for the construction of a bridge across the river near where this transmission line crosses, but the men named as commissioners of the company have no connection with the power interests. However, should the bridge be built, provision might be made for carrying transmission cables over it.
It is intimated that in transmitting Niagara power to Syracuse, it is not expected to have a loss of more than 7 1/2 per cent. The agreement the Ontario Power Company, as well as the other Canadian Niagara power companies, has with the Ontario government, through the commissioners of Victoria Park, permits of the transmission of one-half of its product to the United States, but the agitation in the United States for the preservation of Niagara has aroused some of the residents of the Dominion to believe that the United States has no right to ask that the power development on the Canadian side be stopped.