The relation of central station generation to railway electrification

Author(s): Samuel Insull
Publisher: IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Publication Date: 1 July 1912
Volume: 31
Page(s): 1,473 - 1,524
ISSN (Paper): 0097-2444
DOI: 10.1109/PAIEE.1912.6660642



I am not going to discuss the question of the practicability of steam railroad electrification. That is not a matter at all within my province. That is a matter that has to be decided by those great captains of industry who are in control of the vast transportation companies in this country from the Atlantic to the Pacific. But it is reasonable, as a central station man, that I should assume that the electrification of steam railroads has come to stay, that the work done by the two premier trunk lines centering in New York is a sufficient indication of what we may expect in the future. I am not in sympathy with an agitation to force the steam railroads in this country to electrify. That is a question of the provision of the capital necessary for the purpose, and that question must be taken up and settled by those who are responsible for the operation of the railway properties. Nor am I going to discuss what might be termed the technique of the electrification of steam railroads; that is, the special system that should be used, whether it should be done with one class of current or another, or one pressure or another. The system finally decided on must be the one which fills conditions of railroad operation, and at the same time renders it possible for the railroad company to take advantage of the sources of energy supply already existing, as the railroad demand is only about 15 to 20 per cent of the total demand for energy in any community. That amount of energy which the railroads require to operate their properties is really the thing that should turn them to central station men for assistance, and I speak as a central station man.