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The New York Subway: Chapter 05, System of Electrical Supply

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5,000 Kilowatt Alternator - Main Power House.

Energy from Engine Shaft to Third Rail

THE system of electrical supply chosen for the subway comprises alternating current generation and distribution, and direct current operation of car motors. Four years ago, when the engineering plans were under consideration, the single-phase alternating current railway motor was not even in an embryonic state, and notwithstanding the marked progress recently made in its development, it can scarcely yet be considered to have reached a stage that would warrant any modifications in the plans adopted, even were such modifications easily possible at the present time. The comparatively limited headroom available in the subway prohibited the use of an overhead system of conductors, and this limitation, in conjunction with the obvious desirability of providing a system permitting interchangeable operation with the lines of the Manhattan Railway system practically excluded tri-phase traction systems and led directly to the adoption of the third-rail direct current system.

It being considered impracticable to predict with entire certainty the ultimate traffic conditions to be met, the generator plant has been designed to take care of all probable traffic demands expected to arise within a year or two of the beginning of operation of the system, while the plans permit convenient and symmetrical increase to meet the requirements of additional demand which may develop. Each express train will comprise five motor cars and three trail cars, and each local train will comprise three motor cars and two trail cars. The weight of each motor car with maximum live load is 88,000 pounds, and the weight of each trailer car 66,000 pounds.

The plans adopted provide electric equipment at the outstart capable of operating express trains at an average speed approximating twenty-five miles per hour, while the control system and motor units have been so chosen that higher speeds up to a limit of about thirty miles per hour can be attained by increasing the number of motor cars providing experience in operation demonstrates that such higher speeds can be obtained with safety.

The speed of local trains between City Hall and 96th Street will average about 15 miles an hour, while north of 96th Street on both the West side and East side branches their speed will average about 18 miles an hour, owing to the greater average distance between local stations.

As the result of careful consideration of various plans, the company's engineers recommended that all the power required for the operation of the system be generated in a single power house in the form of three-phase alternating current at 11,000 volts, this current to be generated at a frequency of 25 cycles per second, and to be delivered through three-conductor cables to transformers and converters in sub-stations suitably located with reference to the track system, the current there to be transformed and converted to direct current for delivery to the third-rail conductor at a potential of 625 volts.


Image 17549
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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



Calculations based upon contemplated schedules require for traction purposes and for heating and lighting cars, a maximum delivery of about 45,000 kilowatts at the third rail. Allowing for losses in the distributing cables, in transformers and converters, this implies a total generating capacity of approximately 50,000 kilowatts, and having in view the possibility of future extensions of the system it was decided to design and construct the power house building for the ultimate reception of eleven 5,000-kilowatt units for traction current in addition to the lighting sets. Each 5,000-kilowatt unit is capable of delivering during rush hours an output of 7,500 kilowatts or approximately 10,000 electrical horse power and, setting aside one unit as a reserve, the contemplated ultimate maximum output of the power plant, therefore, is 75,000 kilowatts, or approximately 100,000 electrical horse power.

Power House

The power house is fully described elsewhere in this publication, but it is not inappropriate to refer briefly in this place to certain considerations governing the selection of the generating unit, and the use of engines rather than steam turbines.

The 5,000-kilowatt generating unit was chosen because it is practically as large a unit of the direct-connected type as can be constructed by the engine builders unless more than two bearings be used-an alternative deemed inadvisable by the engineers of the company. The adoption of a smaller unit would be less economical of floor space and would tend to produce extreme complication in so large an installation, and, in view of the rapid changes in load which in urban railway service of this character occur in the morning and again late in the afternoon, would be extremely difficult to operate.

The experience of the Manhattan plant has shown, as was anticipated in the installation of less output than this, the alternators must be put in service at intervals of twenty minutes to meet the load upon the station while it is rising to the maximum attained during rush hours.

After careful consideration of the possible use of steam turbines as prime-movers to drive the alternators, the company's engineers decided in favor of reciprocating engines. This decision was made three years ago and, while the steam turbine since that time has made material progress, those responsible for the decision are confirmed in their opinion that it was wise.

Alternators

The alternators closely resemble those installed by the Manhattan Railway Company (now the Manhattan division of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company) in its plant on the East River, between 74th Street and 75th Street. They differ, however, in having the stationary armature divided into seven castings instead of six, and in respect to details of the armature winding. They are three-phase machines, delivering twenty-five cycle alternating currents at an effective potential of 11,000 volts. They are 42 feet in height, the diameter of the revolving part is 32 feet, its weight, 332,000 pounds, and the aggregate weight of the machine, 889,000 pounds. The design of the engine dynamo unit eliminates the auxiliary fly wheel generally used in the construction of large direct-connected units prior to the erection of the Manhattan plant, the weight and dimensions of the revolving alternator field being such with reference to the turning moment of the engine as to secure close uniformity of rotation, while at the same time this construction results in narrowing the engine and reducing the engine shafts between bearings.


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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



Construction of the revolving parts of the alternators is such as to secure very great strength and consequent ability to resist the tendency to burst and fly apart in case of temporary abnormal speed through accident of any kind. The hub of the revolving field is of cast steel, and the rim is carried not by the usual spokes but by two wedges of rolled steel. The construction of the revolving field is illustrated on pages 91 and 92. The angular velocity of the revolving field is remarkably uniform. This result is due primarily to the fact that the turning movement of the four-cylinder engine is far more uniform than is the case, for example, with an ordinary two-cylinder engine. The large fly-wheel capacity of the rotating element of the machine also contributes materially to secure uniformity of rotation.

The alternators have forty field poles and operates at seventy-five revolutions per minute. The field magnets constitute the periphery of the revolving field, the poles and rim of the field being built up by steel plates which are dovetailed to the driving spider. The heavy steel end plates are bolted together, the laminations breaking joints in the middle of the pole. The field coils are secured by copper wedges, which are subjected to shearing strains only. In the body of the poles, at intervals of approximately three inches, ventilating spaces are provided, these spaces registering with corresponding air ducts in the external armature. The field winding consists of copper strap on edge, one layer deep, with fibrous material cemented in place between turns, the edges of the strap being exposed.

The armature is stationary and exterior to the field. It consists of a laminated ring with slots on its inner surface and supported by a massive external cast-iron frame. The armature, as has been noted, comprises seven segments, the topmost segment being in the form of a small keystone. This may be removed readily, affording access to any field coil, which in this way may be easily removed and replaced. The armature winding consists of U-shaped copper bars in partially closed slots. There are four bars per slot and three slots per phase per pole. The bars in any slot may be removed from the armature without removing the frame. The alternators, of course, are separately excited, the potential of the exciting current used being 250 volts.

As regards regulation, the manufacturer's guarantee is that at 100 per cent. power factor if full rated load be thrown off the e. m. f. will rise 6 per cent. with constant speed and constant excitation. The guarantee as to efficiency is as follows: On non-inductive load, the alternators will have an efficiency of not less than 90.5 per cent. at one-quarter load; 94.75 per cent. at one-half load; 96.25 per cent. at three-quarters load ; 97 per cent. at full load, and 97.25 per cent. at one and one-quarter load. These figures refer, of course, to electrical efficiency, and do not include windage and bearing friction. The machines are designed to operate under their rated full load with rise of temperature not exceeding 35 degrees C. after twenty-four hours.

Exciters

To supply exciting current for the fields of the alternators and to operate motors driving auxiliary apparatus, five 250-kilowatt direct current dynamos are provided. These deliver their current at a potential of 50 volts. Two of them are driven by 400 horse-power engines of the marine type, to which they are direct-connected, while the remaining three units are direct-connected to 365 horse-power tri-phase induction motors operating at 400 volts. A storage battery capable of furnishing 3,000 amperes for one hour is used in co-operation with the dynamos provided to excite the alternators. The five direct-current dynamos are connected to the organization of switching apparatus in such a way that each unit may be connected at will either to the exciting circuits or to the circuits through which auxiliary motors are supplied.

The alternators for which the new Interborough Power House are designed will deliver to the bus bars 100,000 electrical horse power. The current delivered by these alternators reverses its direction fifty times per second and in connecting dynamos just coming into service with those already in operation the allowable difference in phase relation at the instant the circuit is completed is, of course, but a fraction of the fiftieth of a second. Where the power to be controlled is so great, the potential so high, and the speed requirements in respect to synchronous operation so exacting, it is obvious that the perfection of control attained in some of our modern plants is not their least characteristic.

Switching Apparatus

The switch used for the 11,000 volt circuits is so constructed that the circuits are made and broken under oil, the switch being electrically operated. Two complete and independent sets of bus bars are used, and the connections are such that each alternator and each feeder may be connected to either of these sets of bus bars at the will of the operator. From alternators to bus bars the current passes, first, through the alternator switch, and then alternatively through one or the other of two selector switches which are connected, respectively, to the two sets of bus bars.


Image 17552
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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



Provision is made for an ultimate total of twelve sub-stations, to each of which as many as eight feeders may be installed if the development of the company's business should require that number. But eight sub stations are required at present, and to some of these not more than three feeders each are necessary. The aggregate number of feeders installed for the initial operation of the subway system is thirty-four.

Each feeder circuit is provided with a type H-oil switch arranged to be open and closed at will by the operator, and also to open automatically in the case of abnormal flow of current through the feeder. The feeders are arranged in groups, each group being supplied from a set of auxiliary bus bars, which in turn receives its supply from one or the other of the two sets of main bus bars; means for selection being provided as in the case of the alternator circuits by a pair of selector switches, in this case designated as group switches. The diagram on page 93 illustrates the essential features of the organization and connections of the 11,000 volt circuits in the power house.


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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



Any and every switch can be opened or closed at will by the operator standing at the control board described. The alternator switches are provided also with automatic overload and reversed current relays, and the feeder switches, as above mentioned, are provided with automatic overload relays. These overload relays have a time attachment which can be set to open the switch at the expiration of a pre-determined time ranging from .3 of a second to 5 seconds.

The type H-oil switch is operated by an electric motor through the intervention of a mechanism comprising powerful springs which open and close the switch with great speed. This switch when opened introduces in each of the three sides of the circuit two breaks which are in series with each other. Each side of the circuit is separated from the others by its location in an enclosed compartment, the walls of which are brick and soapstone. The general construction of the switch is illustrated by the photograph on page 94.

Like all current carrying parts of the switches, the bus bars are enclosed in separate compartments. These are constructed of brick, small doors for inspection and maintenance being provided opposite all points where the bus bars are supported upon insulators. The photographs on pages 95 and 96 are views of a part of the bus bar and switch compartments.

The oil switches and group bus bars are located upon the main floor and extend along the 59th Street wall of the engine room a distance of about 600 feet. The main bus bars are arranged in two lines of brick compartments, which are placed below the engine room floor. These bus bars are arranged vertically and are placed directly beneath the rows of oil switches located upon the main floor of the power house. Above these rows of oil switches and the group bus bars, galleries are constructed which extend the entire length the power house, and upon the first of these galleries at a point opposite the middle of the power house are located the control board and instrument board, by means of which the operator in charge regulates and directs the entire output of the plant, maintaining a supply of power at all times adequate to the demands of the transportation service.


Image 17554
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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



The Control Board

The control board is shown in the photograph on page 97. Every alternator switch, every selector switch, every group switch, and every feeder switch upon the main floor is here represented by a small switch. The small switch is connected into a control circuit which receives its supply of energy at 110 volts from a small motor generator set and storage battery. The motors which actuate the large oil switches upon the main floor are driven by this 110 volt control current, and thus in the hands of the operator the control switches make or break the relatively feeble control currents, which, in turn, close or open the switches in the main power circuits. The control switches are systematically assembled upon the control bench board in conjunction with dummy bus bars and other apparent (but not real) metallic connections, the whole constituting at all times a correct diagram of the existing connections of the main power circuits. Every time the operator changes a connection by opening or closing one of the main switches, he necessarily changes his diagram so that it represents the new conditions established by opening or closing the main switch. In connection with each control switch two small bull's-eye lamps are used, one red, to indicate that the corresponding main switch is closed, the other green, to indicate that it is open. These lamps are lighted when the moving part of the main switch reaches approximately the end of its travel. If for any reason, therefore, the movement of the control switch should fail to actuate the main switch, the indicator lamp will not be lighted.

The control board is divided into two parts, one for the connections of the alternators to the bus bars and the other for the connection of feeders to bus bars. The drawing on page 97 shows in plain view the essential features of the control boards.


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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



The Instrument Board

A front view of the Instrument Board is shown on page 97. This board contains all indicating instruments for alternators and feeders. It also carries standardizing instruments and a clock. In the illustration the alternator panels are shown at the left and the feeder panels at the right. For the alternator panels, instruments of the vertical edgewise type are used. Each vertical row comprises the measuring instruments for an alternator. Beginning at the top and enumerating them in order these instruments are: three ammeters, one for each phase, a volumeter, an indicating wattmeter, a power factor indicator and a field ammeter. The round dial instrument shown at the bottom of each row of instruments is a three-phase recording wattmeter.

A panel located near the center of the board between alternator panels and feeder panels carries standard instruments used for convenient calibration of the alternator and feeder instruments. Provision is made on the back of the board for convenient connection of the standard instruments in series with the instruments to be compared. The panel which carries the standard instruments also carries ammeters used to measure current to auxiliary circuits in the power house.

For the feeder board, instruments of the round dial pattern are used, and for each feeder a single instrument is provided, viz., an ammeter. Each vertical row comprises the ammeters belonging to the feeders which supply a given sub-station, and from left to right these are in order sub-stations Nos. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18; blank spaces are left for four additional sub-stations. Each horizontal row comprises the ammeter belonging to feeders which are supplied through a given group switch.

This arrangement in vertical and horizontal lines, indicating respectively feeders to given sub-stations and feeders connected to the several group switches, is intended to facilitate the work of the operator. A glance down a vertical row without stopping to reach the scales of the instruments will tell him whether the feeders are dividing with approximate equality the load to a given sub-station. Feeders to different substations usually carry different loads and, generally speaking, a glance along a horizontal row will convey no information of especial importance. If; however, for any reason the operator should desire to know the approximate aggregate load upon a group of feeders this systematic arrangement of the instruments is of use.

Alternating Current Distribution to Sub-Stations, Power House Ducts and Cables

From alternators to alternator switches the 11,000 volt alternating currents are conveyed through single conductor cables, insulated by oil cambric, the thickness of the wall being 12/32 of an inch. These conductors are installed in vitrified clay ducts. From dynamo switches to bus bars and from bus bars to group and feeder switches, vulcanized rubber insulation containing 30 per cent. pure Para rubber is employed. The thickness of insulating wall is 9/32 of an inch and the conductors are supported upon porcelain insulators.

Conduit System for Distribution

From the power house to the subway at 58th Street and Broadway two lines of conduit, each comprising thirty-two ducts, have been constructed. These conduits are located on opposite sides of the street. The arrangement of ducts is 8 x 4, as shown in the section on page 96.


Image 17561
(27k, 400x348)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



The location and arrangement of ducts along the line of the subway are illustrated in photographs on pages 98 and 99, which show respectively a section of ducts on one side of the subway, between passenger stations, and a section of ducts and one side of the subway, beneath the platform of a passenger station. From City Hall to 96th Street (except through the Park Avenue Tunnel) sixty-four ducts are provided on each side of the subway. North of 96th Street sixty-four ducts are provided for the West-side lines and an equal number for the East-side lines. Between passenger stations these ducts help to form the side walls of the subway, and are arranged thirty-two ducts high and two ducts wide. Beneath the platform of passenger stations the arrangement is somewhat varied because of local obstructions, such as pipes, sewers, etc., of which it was necessary to take account in the construction of the stations. The plan shown on page 98, however, is typical.


Image 17562
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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



The necessity of passing the cables from the 32 x 2 arrangement of ducts along the side of the tunnel to 8 x 8 and 16 x 4 arrangements of ducts beneath the passenger platforms involves serious difficulties in the proper support and protection of cables in manholes at the ends of the station platforms. In order to minimize the risk of interruption of service due to possible damage to a considerable number of cables in one of these manholes, resulting from short circuit in a single cable, all cables except at the joints are covered with two layers of asbestos aggregating a full 1/4-inch in thickness. This asbestos is specially prepared and is applied by wrapping the cable with two strips each 3 inches in width, the outer strip covering the line of junction between adjacent spirals of the inner strip, the whole when in place being impregnated with a solution of silicate of soda. The joints themselves are covered with two layers of asbestos held in place by steel tape applied spirally. To distribute the strains upon the cables in manholes, radical supports of various curvatures, and made of malleable cast iron, are used. The photograph on page 100 illustrates the arrangement of cables in one of these manholes.


Image 17582
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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



In order to further diminish the risk of interruption of the service due to failure of power supply, each sub-station south of 96th Street receives its alternating current from the power house through cables carried on opposite sides of the subway. To protect the lead sheaths of the cables against damage by electrolysis, rubber insulating pieces 1/6 of an inch in thickness are placed between the sheaths and the iron bracket supports in the manholes.

Cable Conveying Energy from Power House to Sub-Stations

The cables used for conveying energy from the power house to the several sub-stations aggregate approximately 150 miles in length. The cable used for this purpose comprises three stranded copper conductors each of which contains nineteen wires, and the diameter of the stranded conductor thus formed is 2/5 of an inch. Paper insulation is employed and the triple cable is enclosed in a lead sheath 9/64 of an inch thick. Each conductor is separated from its neighbors and from the lead sheath by insulation of treated paper 7/16 of an inch in thickness. The outside diameter of the cables is 2 5/8 inches, and the weight 8 1/2 pounds per lineal foot. In the factories the cable as manufactured was cut into lengths corresponding to the distance between manholes, and each length subjected to severe tests including application to the insulation of an alternating current potential of 30,000 volts for a period of thirty minutes. These cables were installed under the supervision of the Interborough Company's engineers, and after jointing, each complete cable from power house to sub-station was tested by applying an alternating potential of 30,000 volts for thirty minutes between each conductor and its neighbors, and between each conductor and the lead sheath. The photographs on page 98 illustrates the construction of this cable.

Sub-Station

The tri-phase alternating current generated at the power house is conveyed through the high potential cable system to eight sub-stations containing the necessary transforming and converting machinery. These sub-stations are designed and located as follows:


Image 17565
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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



  • Sub-station No. 11: 29-33 City Hall Place.
  • Sub-station No. 12: 108-110 East 19th Street.
  • Sub-station No. 13: 225-227 West 53d Street.
  • Sub-station No. 14: 264-266 West 96th Street.
  • Sub-station No. 15: 606-608 West 143d Street.
  • Sub-station No. 16: 73-77 West 132d Street.
  • Sub-station No. 17: Hillside Avenue, 301 feet West of Eleventh Avenue.
  • Sub-station No. 18: South side of Fox Street (Simpson Street), 60 feet north of Westchester Avenue.

The converter unit selected to receive the alternating current and deliver direct current to the track, etc., has an output of 1,500 kilowatts with ability to carry 50 per cent. overload for three hours. The average area of a city lot is 25 x 100 feet, and a sub-station site comprising two adjacent lots of this approximate size permits the installation of a maximum of eight 1,500 kilowatts converters with necessary transformers, switchboard and other auxiliary apparatus. In designing the sub-stations, a type of building with a central air-well was selected. The typical organization of apparatus is illustrated in the ground plan and vertical section on pages 101, 102 and 103 and provides, as shown, for two lines of converters, the three transformers which supply each converter being located between it and the adjacent side wall. The switchboard is located at the rear of the station. The central shaft affords excellent light and ventilation for the operating room. The steel work of the sub-stations is designed with a view to the addition of two storage battery floors, should it be decided at some future time that the addition of such an auxiliary is advisable.


Image 17568
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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



The necessary equipment of the sub-stations implies sites approximately 50 x 100 feet in dimensions; and sub-stations Nos. 14, 15, 17, and 18 are practically all this size. Sub-stations Nos. 11 and 16 are 100 feet in length, but the lots acquired in these instances being of unusual width, these sub-stations are approximately 60 feet wide. Sub-station No. 12, on account of limited ground space, is but 48 feet wide and 92 feet long. In each of the sub-stations, except No. 13, foundations are provided for eight converters; sub-station No. 13 contains foundations for the ultimate installation of ten converters.

The function of the electrical apparatus in sub-stations, as has been stated, is the conversion of the high potential alternating current energy delivered from the power house through the tri-phase cables into direct current adapted to operate the motors with which the rolling stock is equipped. This apparatus comprises transformers, converters, and certain minor auxiliaries. The transformers, which are arranged in groups of three, receive the tri-phase alternating current at a potential approximating 10,500 volts, and deliver equivalent energy (less the loss of about 2 per cent. in the transformation) to the converters at a potential of about 390 volts. The converters receiving this energy from their respective groups of transformers in turn deliver it (less a loss approximating 4 per cent. at full load) in the form of direct current at a potential of 625 volts to the bus bars of the direct current switchboards, from which it is conveyed by insulated cables to the contact rails. The photograph on page 102 is a general view of the interior of one of the sub-stations. The exterior of sub-stations Nos. 11 and 18 are shown on page 107.

The illustration on page 108 is from a photograph taken on one of the switchboard galleries. In the sub-stations, as in the power house, the high potential alternating current circuits are opened and closed by oil switches, which are electrically operated by motors, these in turn being controlled by 110 volt direct current circuits. Diagramatic bench boards are used, as at the power house, but in the sub-stations they are of course relatively small and free from complication.

The instrument board is supported by iron columns and is carried at a sufficient height above the bench board to enable the operator, while facing the bench board and the instruments, to look out over the floor of the sub-station without turning his head. The switches of the direct current circuits are hand-operated and are located upon boards at the right and left of the control board.

A novel and important feature introduced (it is believed for the first time) in these sub-stations, is the location in separate brick compartments of the automatic circuit breakers in the direct current feeder circuits. These circuit breaker compartments are shown in the photograph on page 93, and are in a line facing the boards which carry the direct feeder switches, each circuit breaker being located in a compartment directly opposite the panel which carries the switch belonging to the corresponding circuit. This plan will effectually prevent damage to other parts of the switchboard equipment when circuit-breakers open automatically under conditions of short-circuit. It also tends to eliminate risk to the operator, and, therefore, to increase his confidence and accuracy in manipulating the hand-operated switches.


Image 17572
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Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



The three conductor cables which convey tri-phase currents from the power house are carried through tile ducts from the manholes located in the street directly in front of each sub-station to the back of the station where the end of the cable is connected directly beneath its oil switch. The three conductors, now well separated, extend vertically to the fixed terminals of the switch. In each sub-station but one set of high-potential alternating current bus bars is installed and between each incoming cable and these bus bars is connected an oil switch. In like manner, between each converter unit and the bus bars an oil switch is connected into the high potential circuit. The bus bars are so arranged that they may be divided into any number of sections not exceeding the number of converter units, by means of movable links which, in their normal condition, constitute a part of the bus bars.

Each of the oil switches between incoming circuits and bus bars is arranged for automatic operation and is equipped with a reversed current relay, which, in the case of a short-circuit in its alternating current feeder cable opens the switch and so disconnects the cable from the sub-station without interference with the operation of the other cables or the converting machinery.

The organization of electrical conductors provided to convey direct current from the sub-stations to the moving trains can be described most conveniently by beginning with the contact, or so-called third rail. South of 96th Street the average distance between sub-stations approximates 12,000 feet, and north of 96th Street the average distance is about 15,000 feet. Each track, of course, is provided with a contact rail.

There are four tracks and consequently four contact rails from City Hall to 96th Street, three from 96th Street to 145th Street on the West Side, two from 145th Street to Dyckman Street, and three from Dyckman Street to the northern terminal of the West Side extension of the system. From 96th Street, the East Side has two tracks and two contact rails to Mott Avenue, and from that point to the terminal at 182d Street three tracks and three contact rails.

Contact rails south of Reade Street are supplied from sub-station No. 11; from Reade Street to 19th Street they are supplied from sub-stations Nos. 11 and 12; from 19th Street they are supplied from sub-stations Nos. 12 and 13; from the point last named to 96th Street they are supplied from sub-stations Nos. 13 and 14; from 96th Street to 143d Street, on the West Side, they are supplied from sub-stations Nos. 14 and 15; from 143d Street to Dyckman Street they are supplied from sub-stations Nos. 15 and 17; and from that point to the terminal they are supplied from sub-station No. 17. On the East Side branch contact rails from 96th Street to 132d Street are supplied from sub-stations Nos. 14 and 16; from 132d to 165th Street they are supplied from sub-stations Nos. 16 and 18; and from 165th Street to 182d Street they are supplied from sub-station No. 18.

Each contact rail is insulated from all contact rails belonging to adjacent tracks. This is done in order that in case of derailment or other accident necessitating interruption of service on a given track, trains may be operated upon the other tracks having their separate and independent channels of electrical supply. To make this clear, we may consider that section of the subway which lies between Reade Street and 19th Street. This section is equipped with four tracks, and the contact rail for each track, together with the direct current feeders which supply it from sub-stations Nos. 11 and 12, are electrically insulated from all other circuits. Of each pair of track rails one is used for the automatic block signaling system, and, therefore, is not used as a part of the negative or return side of the direct current system. The other four track rails, however, are bonded, and together with the negative feeders constitute the track return or negative side of the direct current system.

The diagram on page 109 illustrates the connections of the contact rails, track rails and the positive and negative feeders. All negative as well as positive feeders are cables of 2,000,000 c. m. section and lead sheathed. In emergency, as, for example, in the case of the destruction of a number of the cables in a manhole, they are, therefore, interchangeable. The connections are such as to minimize "track drop," as will be evident upon examination of the diagram. The electrical separation of the several contact rails and the positive feeders connected thereto secures a further important advantage in permitting the use at sub-stations of direct-current circuit-breakers of moderate size and capacity, which can be set to open automatically at much lower currents than would be practicable were all contact rails electrically connected, thus reducing the limiting current and consequently the intensity of the arcs which might occur in the subway in case of short-circuit between contact rail and earth.

The contact rail itself is of special soft steel, to secure high conductivity. Its composition, as shown by tests, is as follows: Carbon, .08 to .15; silicon, .05; phosphorus, .10; manganese, .50 to .70; and sulphur, .05. Its resistance is not more than eight times the resistance of pure copper of equal cross-section. The section chosen weighs 75 pounds per yard. The length used in general is 60 feet, but in some cases 40 feet lengths are substituted. The contact rails are bounded by four bonds, aggregating 1,200,000 C. m. section. The bonds are of flexible copper and their terminals are riveted to the steel by hydraulic presses, producing a pressure of 35 tons. The bonds when in use are covered by special malleable iron fish-plates which insure alignment of rail. Each length of rail is anchored at its middle point and a small clearance is allowed between ends of adjacent rails for expansion and contraction, which in the subway, owing to the relatively small change of temperature, will be reduced to a minimum. The photographs on pages 110 and 111 illustrate the method of bonding the rail, and show the bonded joint completed by the addition of the fish-plates.

The contact rail is carried upon block insulators supported upon malleable iron castings. Castings of the same material are used to secure the contact rail in position upon the insulators. A photograph of the insulator with its castings is shown on page 113.


Image 17573
(37k, 635x419)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

Image 17574
(75k, 449x556)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

Image 17575
(24k, 556x331)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

Image 17576
(37k, 632x384)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

Image 17577
(30k, 377x479)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

Image 17578
(42k, 556x289)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

Image 17579
(65k, 744x920)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

Image 17580
(27k, 377x473)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway

Image 17581
(52k, 556x448)
Photo by: IRT Company
Location: Interborough Subway



Track Bonding

The track rails are 33 feet long, of Standard American Society Civil Engineers' section, weighing 100 pounds a yard. As has been stated, one rail in each track is used for signal purposes and the other is utilized as a part of the negative return of the power system. Adjacent rails to be used for the latter purpose are bonded with two copper bonds having an aggregate section of 400,000 C. m. These bonds are firmly riveted into the web of the rail by screw bonding presses. They are covered by splice bars, designed to leave sufficient clearance for the bond.

The return rails are cross-sectioned at frequent intervals for the purpose of equalizing currents which traverse them.

Contact Rail Guard and Collector Shoe

The Interborough Company has provided a guard in the form of a plank 8 1/2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick, which is supported in a horizontal position directly above the rail, as shown in the illustration on page 113. This guard is carried by the contact rail to which it is secured by supports, the construction of which is sufficiently shown in the illustration. This type of guard has been in successful use upon the Wilkesbarre and Hazleton Railway for nearly two years. It practically eliminates the danger from the third rail, even should passengers leave the trains and walk through a section of the tunnel while the rails are charged.

Its adoption necessitates the use of a collecting shoe differing radically from that used upon the Manhattan division and upon the elevated railways employing the third rail system in Chicago, Boston, Brooklyn, and elsewhere. The shoe is shown in the photograph on page 114. The shoe is held in contact with the third rail by gravity reinforced by pressure from two spiral springs. The support for the shoe includes provision for vertical adjustment to compensate for wear of car wheels, etc.









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