Some facts and problems bearing on electric trunk-line operation

Author(s): Frank J. Sprague
Publisher: IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Publication Date: 1 July 1907
Volume: 26
Page(s): 1,127 - 1,216
ISSN (Paper): 0097-2444
DOI: 10.1109/PAIEE.1907.6742300



Certain memorable opinions, recently uttered by railroad men whose creative and administrative work, and wide experience entitle them to preeminence, command attention. In March last, the New York Times contained an interview with Mr. E. H. Harriman, who discussed at length various features of the present steam railroad situation; the influence of national and state legislation; the developments, needs, and present difficulties of operation; and the vital necessity of increase of capacity, measured in its broadest terms. Expressing his individual opinion that perhaps it might be better, considered from the standpoint of the steam locomotive, if a wider gauge than the present standard had originally been adopted, he went on to say: But perhaps it is chimerical to think now of rebuilding the railroads of the entire country, and of replacing the entire railroad equipment. If so, what is the best thing? Obviously, electricity. And I believe that the railroads will have to come to that, not only to get a larger unit of motor power and of distributing it over the train load, but on account of fuel. That brings up another phase of the existing conditions. We have to use up fuel to carry our fuel, and there are certain limitations here just as much as there are in car capacity or motive power, particularly when you consider the distribution of the coal producing regions with respect to the major avenues of traffic. The great saving resulting from the use of electricity is apparent, quite aside from the matter of increasing the tractive power and the train load.