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https://www.thedrive.com/news/39378/how-canadians-derailed-a-train-and-drove-it-to-city-hall-for-power-after-a-brutal-ice-storm?xid=fbshare&fbclid=IwAR3bqC58U-IuhEC5gy5hWWLMFjm7TQZ_NBAFYuRmOLOWFk2Zr2gchNW6Vmo

 

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Over the week spanning Jan. 4-10, 1998, a trio of massive ice storms wracked the northeastern United States and parts of Canada. Knocking over transmission towers, the storms deprived up to 1.35 million people of electricity, in some cases for weeks (sound familiar?). Rather than leave town, though, one Canadian mayor stepped up to bring in the biggest mobile power generators they could get their hands on: Diesel-electric freight train locomotives.

This unusual solution to a power problem, which was also covered by Gizmodo last week, unfolded in Boucherville, a Montreal suburb just northeast of famed Formula 1 racetrack Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Having reportedly heard of locomotives being used to generate electricity during another emergency years prior, Boucherville's Mayor Francine Gadbois asked the Canadian National Railway to lend the city a couple of units. CN obliged, sending over two Montreal Locomotive Works M-420s per the 1998 issue of Trains, as recounted by members of its forum.

 
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VIA YOUTUBE

CN M-240 locomotive serving as a generator in January 1998

 

Both locomotives were powered by Alco 251C prime movers; 131.4-liter, single-turbo diesel V12s making some 1,950 horsepower according to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. Rather than power the wheels through hydraulic or mechanical transmissions, these massive motors turned traction generators that could send juice to motors connected to the wheels. In a pinch, however, that power can be routed outside the locomotive for whatever purpose one desires, like keeping municipal buildings operating in times of crisis. And that's exactly what these locomotives did for Boucherville.

According to yet another account from a train forum, officials craned M-240 number 3502 off the line down the street from city hall before moving it some 1,000 feet down the street, carving deep ruts in the asphalt. Once at its destination and hooked in, its V12 had to be run at a specific, constant rpm' to generate AC current at 60 hertz, the frequency used by most North American utilities.

 

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American ingenuity  USS Lexington supplies power to the city of Tacoma, Washington: https://historylink.org/File/5113

 

"In 1929, western Washington state suffered a drought which resulted in low levels in Lake Cushman that provided water for Cushman Dam No. 1. The hydro-electric power generated by this dam was the primary source for the city of Tacoma and the city requested help from the federal government once the water in the lake receded below the dam's intakes during December. The U.S. Navy sent Lexington, which had been at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, to Tacoma, and heavy electric lines were rigged into the city's power system. The ship's generators provided a total of 4,520,960 kilowatt hours from 17 December to 16 January 1930 until melting snow and rain brought the reservoirs up to the level needed to generate sufficient power for the city."

 

ht1ed5q_XiVpAe0piBkzzfQkM83kw8tTg7QOrltg-Jw.jpg.3aba23a6fdad8b513b2ec89a52446f62.jpgink.org/File/5113 

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4 minutes ago, Chantry said:

American ingenuity  USS Lexington supplies power to the city of Tacoma, Washington: https://historylink.org/File/5113

 

"In 1929, western Washington state suffered a drought which resulted in low levels in Lake Cushman that provided water for Cushman Dam No. 1. The hydro-electric power generated by this dam was the primary source for the city of Tacoma and the city requested help from the federal government once the water in the lake receded below the dam's intakes during December. The U.S. Navy sent Lexington, which had been at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, to Tacoma, and heavy electric lines were rigged into the city's power system. The ship's generators provided a total of 4,520,960 kilowatt hours from 17 December to 16 January 1930 until melting snow and rain brought the reservoirs up to the level needed to generate sufficient power for the city."

 

ht1ed5q_XiVpAe0piBkzzfQkM83kw8tTg7QOrltg-Jw.jpg.3aba23a6fdad8b513b2ec89a52446f62.jpgink.org/File/5113 

 

 

After the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami,  when the US sent a carrier and supporting vessels to render aid one of the guys at church was grousing about it,  "What are we going to do,  invade?"  

I pointed out to him the assets it brought,  SAR, electric power,  desalination capabilities to supply fresh water,  medical facilities, food,  and a whole bunch of manpower. 

 

He shut up after that.

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1 hour ago, Tex Jones, SASS 2263 said:

I remember that storm.  Going to upstate New York near the Canadian border, the electric line poles were snapped like match sticks for miles.  Whole towns, dairy farms were out of power.  That was a storm.

 

I remember it too. On my way to Bahrain on an EP-3. We left Whidby Island and were to spend the night at NAS Brunswick before heading to Rota Spain. Coming in the night of the storm the countryside was very dark. We lucked out that our hotel and an Applebees across the road had power. Had to stay an extra day because, even though the runway was heated it iced up after we landed.

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