The New York Subway Part 7

It will not require more than 12-1/4 pounds of dry steam per indicated horse power per hour, when indicating 7,500 horse power at 75 revolutions per minute, when the vacuum of 26 inches at the low pressure cylinders, with a steam pressure at the throttle of 175 pounds and with saturated steam at the normal temperature due to its pressure. The guarantee includes all of the steam used by the engine or by the jackets or reheater.

The new features contained within the engine construction are principally: First, the novel construction of the high-pressure cylinders, by which only a small strain is transmitted through the valve chamber between the cylinder and the slide-surface casting.

This is accomplished by employing heavy bolts, which bolt the shell of the cylinder casting to the slide-surface casting, said bolts being carried past and outside the valve chamber. Second, the use of poppet valves, which are operated in a very simple manner from a wrist plate on the side of the cylinder, the connections from the valves to the wrist plate and the connections from the wrist plate to the eccentric being similar to the parts usually employed for the operation of Corliss valves.

Unlike the Manhattan engines, the main steam pipes are carried to the high-pressure cylinders under the floor and not above it. Another modification consists in the use of an adjustable strap for the crank-pin boxes instead of the marine style of construction at the crank-pin end of the connecting rod.

The weight of the revolving field is about 335,000 pounds, which gives a flywheel effect of about 350,000 pounds at a radius of gyration of 11 feet, and with this flywheel inertia the engine is designed so that any point on the revolving element shall not, in operation, lag behind nor forge ahead of the position that it would have if the speed were absolutely uniform, by an amount greater than one-eighth of a natural degree.

[Sidenote: _Turbo-Generators_]

Arrangements have been made for the erection of four turbo generators, but only three have been ordered. They are of the multiple expansion parallel flow type, consisting of two turbines arranged tandem compound. When operating at full load each of the two turbines, comprising one unit, will develop approximately equal power for direct connection to an alternator giving 7,200 alternations per minute at 11,000 volts and at a speed of 1,200 revolutions per minute. Each unit will have a normal output of 1,700 electrical horse power with a steam pressure of 175 pounds at the throttle and a vacuum in the exhaust pipe of 27 inches, measured by a mercury column and referred to a barometric pressure of 30 inches. The turbine is guaranteed to operate satisfactorily with steam superheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The economy guaranteed under the foregoing conditions as to initial and terminal pressure and speed is as follows: Full load of 1,250 kilowatts, 15.7 pounds of steam per electrical horse-power hour; three-quarter load, 937-1/2 kilowatts, 16.6 pounds per electrical horse-power hour; one-half load, 625 kilowatts, 18.3 pounds; and one-quarter load, 312-1/2 kilowatts, 23.2 pounds. When operating under the conditions of speed and steam pressure mentioned, but with a pressure in the exhaust pipe of 27 inches vacuum by mercury column (referred to 30 inches barometer), and with steam at the throttle superheated 75 degrees Fahrenheit above the temperature of saturated steam at that pressure, the guaranteed steam consumption is as follows: Full load, 1,250 kilowatts, 13.8 pounds per electrical horse-power hour; three-quarter load, 937-1/2 kilowatts, 14.6 pounds; one-half load, 625 kilowatts, 16.2 pounds; and one-quarter load, 312-1/2 kilowatts, 20.8 pounds.

[Sidenote: _Exciter Engines_]

The two exciter engines are each direct connected to a 250 kilowatt direct current generator. Each engine is a vertical quarter-crank compound engine with a 17-inch high pressure cylinder and a 27-inch low-pressure cylinder with a common 24-inch stroke. The engines will be non-condensing, for the reason that extreme reliability is desired at the expense of some economy. They will operate at best efficiency when indicating 400 horse power at a speed of 150 revolutions per minute with a steam pressure of 175 pounds at the throttle. Each engine will have a maximum of 600 indicated horse power.

[Sidenote: _Condensing Equipment_]

Each engine unit is supplied with its own condenser equipment, consisting of two barometric condensing chambers, each attached as closely as possible to its respective low-pressure cylinder. For each engine also is provided a vertical circulating pump along with a vacuum pump and, for the sake of flexibility, the pumps are cross connected with those of other engines and can be used interchangeably.

The circulating pumps are vertical, cross compound pumping engines with outside packed plungers. Their foundations are upon the basement floor level and the steam cylinders extend above the engine-room floor; the starting valves and control of speed is therefore entirely under the supervision of the engineer. Each pump has a normal capacity of 10,000,000 gallons of water per day, so that the total pumping capacity of all the pumps is 120,000,000 gallons per day. While the head against which these pumps will be required to work, when assisted by the vacuum in the condenser, is much less than the total lift from low tide water to the entrance into the condensing chambers, they are so designed as to be ready to deliver the full quantity the full height, if for any reason the assistance of the vacuum should be lost or not available at times of starting up. A temporary overload can but reduce the vacuum only for a short time and the fluctuations of the tide, or even a complete loss of vacuum cannot interfere with the constant supply of water, the governor simply admitting to the cylinders the proper amount of steam to do the work. The high-pressure steam cylinder is 10 inches in diameter and the low-pressure is 20 inches; the two double-acting water plungers are each 20 inches in diameter, and the stroke is 30 inches for all. The water ends are composition fitted for salt water and have valve decks and plungers entirely of that material.


The dry vacuum pumps are of the vertical form, and each is located alongside of the corresponding circulating pump. The steam cylinders also project above the engine-room floor. The vacuum cylinder is immediately below the steam cylinder and has a valve that is mechanically operated by an eccentric on the shaft. These pumps are of the close-clearance type, and, while controlled by a governor, can be changed in speed while running to any determined rate.

[Sidenote: _Exhaust Piping_]

From each atmospheric exhaust valve, which is direct-connected to the condensing chamber at each low-pressure cylinder, is run downward a 30-inch riveted-steel exhaust pipe. At a point just under the engine-room floor the exhaust pipe is carried horizontally around the engine foundations, the two from each pair of engines uniting in a 40-inch riser to the roof. This riser is between the pair of engines and back of the high-pressure cylinder, thus passing through the so-called pipe area, where it also receives exhaust steam from the pump auxiliaries. At the roof the 40-inch riser is run into a 48-inch stand pipe. This is capped with an exhaust head, the top of which is 35 feet above the roof.

All the exhaust piping 30 inches in diameter and over is longitudinally riveted steel with cast-iron flanges riveted on to it.

Expansion joints are provided where necessary to relieve the piping from the strains due to expansion and contraction, and where the joints are located near the engine and generator they are of corrugated copper. The expansion joints in the 40-inch risers above the pipe area are ordinarily packed slip joints.

The exhaust piping from the auxiliaries is carried directly up into the pipe area, where it is connected with a feed-water heater, with means for by-passing the latter. Beyond the heater it joins the 40-inch riser to the roof. The feed-water heaters are three-pass, vertical, water-tube heaters, designed for a working water pressure of 225 pounds per square inch.

The design of the atmospheric relief valve received special consideration. A lever is provided to assist the valve to close, while a dash pot prevents a too quick action in either direction.

[Sidenote: _Compressed Air_]

The power house will be provided with a system for supplying compressed air to various points about the structure for cleaning electrical machinery and for such other purposes as may arise. It will also be used for operating whistles employed for signaling. The air is supplied to reservoir tanks by two vertical, two-stage, electric-driven air compressors.

[Sidenote: _Oil System_]

For the lubrication of the engines an extensive oil distributing and filtering system is provided. Filtered oil will be supplied under pressure from elevated storage tanks, with a piping system leading to all the various journals. The piping to the engines is constructed on a duplicate, or crib, system, by which the supply of oil cannot be interrupted by a break in any one pipe. The oil on leaving the engines is conducted to the filtering tanks. A pumping equipment then redelivers the oil to the elevated storage tanks.

All piping carrying filtered oil is of brass and fittings are inserted at proper pipes to facilitate cleaning. The immediate installation includes two oil filtering tanks at the easterly end of the power house, but the completed plant contemplates the addition of two extra filtering tanks at the westerly end of the structure.

[Sidenote: _Cranes, Shops, Etc._]

The power house is provided with the following traveling cranes: For the operating room: One 60-ton electric traveling crane and one 25-ton electric traveling crane. For the area over the oil switches: one 10-ton hand-operated crane. For the center aisle of the boiler room: one 10-ton hand-operated crane. The span of both of the electric cranes is 74 feet 4 inches and both cranes operate over the entire length of the structure.

The 60-ton crane has two trolleys, each with a lifting capacity, for regular load, of 50 tons. Each trolley is also provided with an auxiliary hoist of 10 tons capacity. When loaded, the crane can operate at the following speeds: Bridge, 200 feet per minute; trolley, 100 feet per minute; main hoist, 10 feet per minute; and auxiliary hoist, 30 feet per minute. The 25-ton crane is provided with one trolley, having a lifting capacity, for regular load, of 25 tons, together with auxiliary hoist of 5 tons. When loaded, the crane can operate at the following speeds: bridge, 250 feet per minute; trolley, 100 feet per minute; main hoist, 12 feet per minute; and auxiliary hoist, 28 feet per minute.

The power house is provided with an extensive tool equipment for a repair and machine shop, which is located on the main gallery at the northerly side of the operating room.

[Illustration: 5,000 K. W. ALTERNATOR--MAIN POWER HOUSE]



[Sidenote: _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.



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.

[Sidenote: _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.

Chapter end

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