N&W in 1912--Electrification
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Thu Sep 15 09:53:02 EDT 2011
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
February 3, 1912
MOTORS MAY BE USED TO HAUL COAL TRAINS
Electrification of Part of Pocahontas Division Possibility of Near Future
NORFOLK AND WESTERN SAID TO BE COUNTING COST
Rumor That Estimates Are Being Secured on Cost of Operating Motors on Coaldale Hill Received With Considerable Interest Here
COMING OF POWER COMPANY PROBABLY CAUSE OF REPORT
A rumor to the effect that the Norfolk and Western is seriously considering the electrification of part of its line on the Pocahontas division is heard in this city. Some months ago electrical engineers representing large electrical manufacturing houses figured on the cost of this improvement and also figured on the additional work which it was claimed could be done by substituting motor traction for steam haulage on the hill section of the Pocahontas division. At that time tests showing the pulling capabilities of the steam methods were made and these compared with tests of electrical engines.
In view of the fact that the Illinois Central has placed an order for freight motors similar to those in use on the tunnel underneath North River between New York and Jersey City, the rumor that the Norfolk and Western is securing estimates on the cost of operating motors which will haul coal over the Coaldale hill is of interest [Except for a limited switching operation in the Chicago commuter zone IC electric freight service never developed.]. The change of system, it is claimed, would do away with the necessity of reducing the grade at the Elkhorn tunnel, which has always been a big problem among railroad officials, who on several occasions have considered plans for the elimination of the grade.
The coming to the city of a company which will be able to furnish sufficient hydro-electric horse power* to operate the trains without the extra expense of installing apparatus, which would have to be maintained, or discarded at great cost, if the system was unprofitable, apparently has given rise to the rumor, although it has been known for over a year that the matter had been given consideration, and that electrical manufacturing companies had been permitted to make tests on which they made reports.
The plan will hardly be carried into effect for at least two or three years, if it is finally adopted [True. Electric operation began in 1915.]
*The refers to the recently formed Appalachian Power Company and its hydro-electric dams under construction on New River at that time.
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