IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - 84

the main floor above. A room devoted
to the metering of the steam supplied
was located above the boiler floor, and
above that were the coal bunkers that
were supplied from the street.

The 50th Street
Substations

figure 3. Steam turbine generators for light and power at 50th Street
(photo courtesy of the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) Archives,
Schenectady, New York).

within the terminal. Three steam-turbinedriven 500-kW, 275-V dc generators were
installed for this purpose (see Figure 3).
Originally, ten boilers were installed, having a total capacity of 6,000
boiler hp. However, space was provided for the possible future addition of at
least 14 more such boilers. In 1913, this
plant was providing steam and hot water to a total of 28 buildings in the area
bounded by 42nd Street and 50th Street
and by Lexington and Madison Avenues to the east and west, respectively.
Apparently, the additional boilers
were soon added at the 50th Street

plant because it was reported to have
reached its capacity by 1918. A second
steam plant was then constructed in
that year to provide additional capacity.
This was located in a large excavated
area beneath Grand Central Terminal
itself. The necessary smokestack for
this boiler plant was run up through the
northwest corner of the adjacent Commodore Hotel, which happened to be
under construction at the same time.
This plant consisted of four operating floors, all below street level. The
basement was used for the handling
of ashes from the boilers located on

Rotary Converter Substation No. 1 for
third-rail power was originally located
adjacent to the 50th Street service
plant. Ultimately, it contained a total of
seven rotary converters of various sizes,
which aggregated 14,500 kW of 600-V
dc traction power (see Figure 4).
In addition, there was an adjoining substation to supplement the three
275-V dc turbine-driven generators for
the supply of lighting power. This was
designated as Substation No. 1A, and it
contained four 1,500-kW rotary converters that also operated from the high-voltage power supplied by the Port Morris
and Glenwood power stations.
An adjacent battery house contained
an 8,000-Ah rated battery to act as an
emergency backup for the 250-V dc lighting supply. A "balancer set" consisting of
two identical coupled 125-V dc generators (with either one acting as a motor at
any given time) provided a derived neutral connection for 125-V lighting.
Substation No. 1 was completed first,
in 1906, to provide third-rail power to
meet the imposed 1908 deadline for the
elimination of steam locomotive usage.
The service plant for the supply of steam
and hot water was not completed until
1910. Its turbine-driven dc generators then
supplied all power for lighting until the
completion of Substation No. 1A in 1913.

The Loss of the 50th
Street Power House

figure 4. The interior of traction Substation No. 1 at 50th Street (photo courtesy of
the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) Archives, Schenectady, New York).
84

ieee power & energy magazine

A major facet of the plan for a new Grand
Central Terminal as set forth by William
Wilgus was the development of the air
rights above the underground train yards
along a reconstructed Park Avenue. The
revenue to the New York Central Railroad resulting from the eventual sale of
these air rights would pay for a large portion of the new terminal construction.
In 1929, the original Waldorf and
Astoria Hotels on Fifth Avenue between
july/august 2014



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover3
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