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SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

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You are here: Home » Resources » Schenectady Electrical Handbook » General Electric Railroad
See Also: General Electric Company and Railroads

Schenectady Electrical Handbook
The Schenectady Works of the General Electric Company

General Electric Railroad

Go back to: New Power Station | ahead to: American Locomotive Company

[This information is from pp. 65-66 of the Schenectady Electrical Handbook by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. (Schenectady, NY: General Electric Press, 1904). It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 621.3 A51s.]

In the development of electric traction apparatus the knowledge to be gained from experiments under practical operating conditions is of special value. One of the most interesting equipments at the Schenectady Works is the General Electric Railroad, built in 1896 on the banks of the Erie Canal close at hand. On this track most of the experimental and testing work of recent years has been done. When a new railway motor, control system or other part of railway equipment has been designed, it is thoroughly tested here and perfected before it is put on the market, the test often extending over several months. The General Electric Railroad thus affords the means of detecting and eliminating defects, besides enabling new ideas to be investigated for their practical worth.

[Photo: General Electric Railroad: original size (6K) | 9x enlarged (43K)]

The plant consists of a car shop, in which cars are stored and equipped, a switching yard, and about 1 1/3 miles of 85-pound rail, standard gauge, single track laid in stone ballast, and equipped with both third rail and overhead trolley. The third rail has a simple but effective protective covering for its entire length, and a special third-rail shoe is used. A portion of the track is also equipped with the General Electric surface contact system.

The tests are almost as varied as the railway apparatus itself and include operating tests on electric locomotives, heat runs on railway motors, tests of brakes, controllers and control systems, of train resistance and wind effect, besides investigations of the causes of all troubles that arise in actual operation. Ample power is available for any test that may be required, so that there is no difficulty in completely realizing service conditions. Some interesting tests recently made to determine the relative merits of steam locomotives and electric motors for heavy traction work showed that the electric motor could accelerate a given train more quickly than a steam locomotive with the same weight on drivers.

The rolling stock equipment of the road consists of six different sized cars that can be equipped with the various types of apparatus for commercial tests. Two of these cars are full sized, completely equipped passenger coaches, used principally for exhibition purposes and for heavy railroad investigations. The particulars of the operation of a train or motor are accurately recorded by automatic instruments specially designed for such work.

[Photo: Workmen Leaving at 5:30: original size (11K) | 9x enlarged (70K)]

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You are here: Home » Resources » Schenectady Electrical Handbook » General Electric Railroad
See Also: General Electric Company and Railroads

http://www.schenectadyhistory.org/resources/seh/gerr.html updated July 30, 2009

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