The electrical operation of the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific railway

Author(s): J. B. Cox
Publisher: IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Publication Date: 1 November 1914
Volume: 33
Page(s): 1,729 - 1,753
ISSN (Paper): 0097-2444
DOI: 10.1109/PAIEE.1914.6661062



Of a total of ten notable instances of steam railway electrifications in this country, the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific was the first if not the only one in which the prime cause for the change in motive power was an expected decrease in operating expenses sufficient to give immediately a satisfactory earning on the new investment of capital required for the improvement. The preliminary investigations and estimates had indicated a probable annual saving amounting to about 17.5 per cent on the total investment, of which 11 per cent was expected to result from the partial substitution of electrical energy, costing about 0.552 cent per kw-hr. at the secondaries of the substation transformers, for coal of 12,250 B.t.u. calorific value and costing $4.25 per ton delivered. The remaining 6.5 per cent was expected from reduced cost of locomotive maintenance, engine house expense and enginemen's wages. On this prospect, an expenditure of $1,201,000 was made in the electrification of 90 miles of track and in replacing 22 steam locomotives by 17 electric locomotive units which now operate about 80 per cent of the total locomotive-miles. The actual results as indicated by the first six months of full electrical operation show the total net saving in operating expenses to be at the rate of $242,299.12 per year or an earning of 20.02 per cent on the investment, of which the decrease in the cost of coal and power is 12.5 per cent. Other savings are due to decreased cost of locomotive maintenance, engine house expenses, lubricants, supplies and trainmen's wages. The average tons per train hauled by the electric locomotives has increased 33 per cent, the average time per trip decreased 30 per cent, the delays to traffic decreased 41 per cent, the number of trains decreased 25 per cent and the number of engine and train crews decreased 25 per cent.