Shaft for the Boston Elevated railway 1899
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    Default Shaft for the Boston Elevated railway 1899

    This is a big one! 65,000 pounds. The picture is from the December 1899 edition of Steam Engineering.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails boston-elevated.jpg  

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    Wow!

    Thanks for sharing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick A54 View Post
    This is a big one! 65,000 pounds. The picture is from the December 1899 edition of Steam Engineering.
    Hi Rick,

    Could you please provide a link to this article? I would very much like to read about the rest of the engine.

    I have read that Boston had in 1890 the first large electric railway system, initially with horizontal engines and rope-driven generators, later with the same engines converted to direct coupled generators, and then (I think) with larger vertical compound engines. No doubt there were several power houses and different engines over this time.

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    How would you like to tell the boss it was no biggy you almost all the sizes right, there just one that's .025 small???...Phil

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    we stand on the shoulders of giants.

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    Looking at that picture, I'm a little surprised it's not more than 65K lbs!

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    Doubtless there is more but one online entry of the "Boston El" is the following

    Milestones:Power System of Boston's Rapid Transit - Engineering and Technology History Wiki, _1889

    Central Power Station -CPS

    Built from 1889 to 1891, the Central Power Station (CPS) was a huge engineering success. It was built by the street railway company to provide direct current electricity for the growing streetcar system in Boston. Located in downtown Boston, on Harrison Avenue and Albany Street, CPS was the largest electrical power station in the world at that time. With CPS as its flagship, the West End was able to launch the largest commercial electrical traction system in the world. CPS went on line in 1891.

    Located at the center of the city, CPS was designed to be permanent and good looking. An extra high chimney was necessary to carry away smoke and fumes that would be visible at all times during the day. At the time it was built, the 250 foot high stack was the tallest structure in Boston , taller than the Bunker Hill monument. It was fifty feet taller than the new chimney being erected by the Edison electric light company just a block away. The following illustrations show what CPS looked like when it was built. As expected, it underwent major upgrades over the years, first in the 1890's, then later in 1901.

    The completed system covered an area of about 100 square miles, and served a population of over 1,000,000 residents. The cost to ride the “T” was 5 cents, and allowed free transfers to different lines. There were more than 170 passenger cars, powered by 8 power stations, utilizing direct current, which covered nearly 500 miles of railway track.

    - Gil Cooke
    And of course there was "Charlie of the MTA" - who is probably still riding somewhere.



    Joe in NH

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    The shaft itself was forged by the Bethlehem Iron Co.

    The weight of 65,000 lbs probably refers to the unmachined forging. Machining would reduce it to nearer 50,000 lbs. I've based this on a shaft length of 27 ft 10"; central diameter 37", reducing to 34" for journals and 32" for crank disc location.

    The maker's name and dimensions come from a newspaper article of April 1899. The same article gave the estimated finished weight as 150,000 lb. This must have included the flywheel (armature?) and cranks.

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    I would love to see the lathe it was turned on...How it was transported...how erected, in 1899

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    Quote Originally Posted by magneticanomaly View Post
    I would love to see the lathe it was turned on...How it was transported...how erected, in 1899
    I have seen online, and can't find it now, a huge machine on an extremely stout wagon being pulled by a team of about 10 oxen down a city street.

    Building the RR from Old Fort to Swannanoa. From: https://libres.uncg.edu/ir/wcu/f/197...liamHudson.pdf


    Wilson spent the summer and fall of 1877 completing one important step in the crossing. A stage road snaked its way for the ten miles across the mountains, and Wilson decided that an engine should be taken over this route to the valley of Eagle Rock on the other side of the mountain. From there the engine could haul supplies and laborers from the Swannanoa Valley to the construction. He secured oxen and mules from throughout Western North Carolina. But the main force was not animals but state-leased convicts. Driven by whips as were the mules linked with them, some 300 men pulled the locomotive up the stage trail, laying track in front of it and picking it up when the engine had passed. They crossed the ranges to be tunneled.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by magneticanomaly View Post
    I would love to see the lathe it was turned on...How it was transported...how erected, in 1899
    Magnticanomaly: I suspect the lathe was assembled in pieces. I would guess that the bed was in sections. Not unusual for even smaller machines to have the bed (ways) in sections.
    JH

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    Looking for photos of the power station I found this from 1924: The Boston Globe

    Oct. 25, 1924: One of the vertical Curtis turbines at the L Street power station in South Boston used to power the elevated railway system. There were three turbines — 15,000 kilowatts each — located in the South Boston Station of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Theses turbines were taken out of service in 1950.

    Here is Boston Public Library Online - Images: Images | Online Resources | Boston Public Library

    Paul

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    There are several older threads that showed some large early lathes By Shanks, Hulse and others from the 1890s and early 1900s that could likely have turned pieces of this size.
    Here are some of them ,
    Large Machine Tools at ESC
    More large lathes, 1909
    Lathe, 216 inch swing
    The pictures are not what they once were but maybe some could be found on the Photobucket sites directly with a little searching
    I looked through a forum search for Shanks lathe and for Hulse. but you could also search for Mesta and some of the other U.S. lathe makers .
    Maybe Peter S. and Asquith can think of some better examples
    Mesta made some large lathes maybe someone will remember others made in the U.S.A.
    ...Photos...Mesta Machine Company...

    Regards,

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter S View Post
    Hi Rick,

    Could you please provide a link to this article? I would very much like to read about the rest of the engine.

    I have read that Boston had in 1890 the first large electric railway system, initially with horizontal engines and rope-driven generators, later with the same engines converted to direct coupled generators, and then (I think) with larger vertical compound engines. No doubt there were several power houses and different engines over this time.
    Here's a great book about the railway.

    Google Books


    Another article:
    Google Books

    I think this is the article you're looking for.
    Rick

    Google Books

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    Rick,

    Thanks for the links, one of which tells us that the engine was made by the Corliss Engine Co of Providence.

    The weight of 63,000 lb was indeed for the shaft only (my estimate of nearer 50,000 lb was way off the mark ). The pair of crank discs added 58,000 lb and the flywheel hub 47,000 lb!

    Note the cut-out for balance in the crank disc.

    The article mentions that even larger shafts were to be made for the Manhattan Elevated Railway’s 12,000 HP engines.

    Impressive as they were, large low speed engines for power generation were dinosaurs, and would be superseded by steam turbines or by high speed enclosed engines direct-coupled to generators. However, they weren't then available with such large outputs from a single unit. The largest Parsons turbine-generator in 1900 was rated at 1000kW.

    I had a look at Adrian Jarvis’s excellent book Portrait of the Liverpool Overhead Railway. That system was much smaller than those in US cities, but the same principles applied. They wanted proven technology, so they opted for engines of the type widely-used in textile mills, with rope-driven generators. They wanted the generating plant to be near an existing coal dock, and they had to stuff the machinery in space available under the existing coal railway! This ruled out vertical high speed engines of the Willans or Bellis & Morcom type.

    Later, c.1900, when they extended the system, they increased output by replacing one of the horizontal engines and generator by a Browett, Lindley and Co 'quick revolution' vertical engine, installed in a pit. Compact and powerful, but the steam consumption was high. At the same time, they added a couple of 650 amp-hr batteries.
    Last edited by Asquith; 10-18-2020 at 05:05 AM.

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    Here's an engraving of the engine, and some information:-

    Image from page 935 of "The Street railway journal" (1884)… | Flickr

    4000 HP. Cylinders 42" and 90" bore, 5 ft stroke. 75 rpm. Flywheel 28 ft dia. It had a separate flywheel and armature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    Looking at that picture, I'm a little surprised it's not more than 65K lbs!
    The 65,000 lbs is just the shaft, exclusive of the drive disks on the ends and hub in the middle. All together it must be over 100,000 lbs

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    The vertical curtis (GE) turbines were pretty antique by 1922. Beginning in 1903 they were phased out of production by 1915, replaced by more conventional horizontal shaft turbines. Not to say that given an "entrenchment" by the MTA, a lack of advancement by this public utility might be expected. Running it into the 1950s seems typical. More on the Vertical Shaft turbines at https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=..._KquNfk5qFoYDm

    Sort of like running a Corliss engine driven sewerage pump on Boston's North Shore into the 1960s was normal and expected. It was kept as "back up" past the 1960s. I saw that one run for the last time about 1992.

    I have the GE plates from a 25hz horizontal machine (20MW, 1500rpm, 200psi) which was used in Providence, RI and erected in 1922. This machine ran to support Providence's street railway system - was converted into generation for the grid by rotary converters in the 1950s, and used for a long time until coal went out of acceptability as fuel for "peaking" power. Single flow and with an air cooled generator, the TG was "typical" for 1922.

    I saw this machine run for the last time as a late teen in the early 1970s. No ceremony, but Dad was the Director of Operations for New England Power, and wanted to be there and brought me along. I saw the machine started, and we left that day knowing the shutdown that night would be permanent.

    Many questions of Dad that day. "What of me?" Dad kind of shrugged and said things like "look for a good severance." Most of the operators understood what the shut down meant. But with seven turbine generators in the building, work continued at South Street Station.

    They call it progress...

    Joe in NH

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    GE established a UK company, British Thomson-Houston, and in 1902 opened a large UK factory at Rugby.

    They soon departed from US practice. Frederick Samuelson became the chief turbine engineer at Rugby, and Frederic H Clough the chief generator engineer. Samuelson decided that the vertical steam turbines had no future, and switched to horizontal turbine generators, against the wishes of GE. The first one ran in 1908. Clough designed its 1000 kW alternator, which had distributed windings in radial slots, making it very compact.

    Source: B.T.H. Reminiscences – Sixty Years of Progress, published by BTH in 1946.

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    At that size, 100 degrees will expand it by that much!

    Not sure what the clearances are on a shaft that big. It was probably riding in babbitt or bronze bearings.


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