VGN Heat Dissipation at Narrows Power Plant

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Wed Apr 24 12:52:02 EDT 2013

Quoting from the "American Society of Civil Engineers - Paper No. 1708" - The Virginian Railway Electrification by George Gibbs, M. Am. Soc. C. E.", published in 1929,:
    "Should there, however, be current returned in excess of the amount required by other trains, this excess must be absorbed in some manner to prevent overspeeding the generators at the power house. For this purpose, water rheostats are provided. These are single-pole electrodes placed in the water at the mouth of the discharge tunnel. They cut in automatically and quietly absorb the surplus energy. It is found in practice that these rheostats seldom come into action, because over a long railway line generally a train is in motion to make use of all regenerated energy."
Jeff Sanders

From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 7:30 AM
Subject: Re: VGN Heat Dissipation at Narrows Power Plant

According to Felix Price, Assistant Power Director at Narrows, and one of the "Takin' Twenty" Brethren, the New River was used with electrodes being placed directly into the water. Felix said the river would sort of "bubble up" and afterwards dead fish would be seen...Also Russell R. McDaniel spoke of the same.
Skip Salmon
---- NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:


Is there any information on how the VGN's  Narrows Power plant handled the problem of power generated by regenerative braking which was not needed to move another train moving upgrade?

Obviously there
were large water-cooled resistor banks.  Were the resistor banks in
the river, or in a cooling pond to which cool river water was pumped
and from which heated water was discharged?

Is there any
surviving information on how all this was handled?

-- abram


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