Milestone-Proposal talk:Grand Central Terminal Electrification

Advocates and reviewers will post their comments below. In addition, any IEEE member can sign in with their ETHW login (different from IEEE Single Sign On) and comment on the milestone proposal's accuracy or completeness as a form of public review.

suggested modifications to citation -- Administrator4 (talk) 12:34, 10 August 2015 (CDT) -- Administrator4 (talk) 12:34, 10 August 2015 (CDT)

I would suggest deleting the phrase about "worlds largest and busiest" because other terminals have taken that place. I think the citation is very strong emphasising just the technical aspects. My suggestion is:

The Electrification of Grand Central Terminal, 1906-1913

Grand Central Terminal, in continuous use since 1913, was the first major urban railroad terminal electrification. The design of the terminal brought with it several notable achievements in the field of electric traction that included innovative designs of electric locomotives, multiple unit (MU) control of electric rolling stock and the pioneering use of underrunning third rail.

Re: suggested modifications to citation -- Administrator4 (talk) 12:34, 10 August 2015 (CDT) -- Joecbaltohioelecloco (talk) 14:37, 30 September 2015 (CDT)

For the record this was resolved by rewording of the proposed citation

Suggested modifications -- Pisrael (talk) 14:38, 15 September 2015 (CDT)

I apologize for taking so long to review the materials and the text as altered. I have two concerns about the present wording.

The first is more substantial and has to do with whether Grand Central is, in fact, one of the world's major railroad terminals. I'm not sure what the criteria for that would be. The Wikipedia entry suggests that Grand Central is not among the busiest in the world and in the United States, which has no stations in the top 100 of the busiest (at least as found in an online list), New York Penn Station beats it. It does apparently have more platform capacity. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Train_station, the section on Largest, busiest and highest stations). So the question is do we need the statement about the terminal's status as a great station or is there some other way of indicating its significance?

I would also suggest a minor change to the wording of the sentence that begins "The design of the Terminal brought with it several notable achievements in the field of electric traction.." I would suggest a more straightforward statement: "The design of the Terminal included several notable achievements..."

Paul Israel

Re: Suggested modifications -- Joecbaltohioelecloco (talk) 14:38, 30 September 2015 (CDT)

For the record this was resolved by rewording of the proposed citation

Milestone Committee Member (TAB) comments -- Tbickart (talk) 21:28, 29 September 2015 (CDT)

I want to believe that Grand Central Station has more electrical engineering/technology firsts than the write-up conveyed to me. The references were in large measure about civil engineering achievements. I would hope/trust that there are more electrical engineering/technology achievements that we can identify. What about dispatch control system(s)? What about electrical power management? What were the achievements with respect to electrical traction. This was briefly mentioned but, would I readily see electrical locomotives with innovative features to enhance load capacity and management--such as the number of fully loaded cars that can be moved without serious track use conflicts. This write-up does not give me reason to visit Grand Central Station. By the way I've been there many times, but this write-up does not catch my attention to go back and look for things I have missed over those many years.

Re: Milestone Committee Member (TAB) comments -- Joecbaltohioelecloco (talk) 14:11, 30 September 2015 (CDT)

Replace this text with your reply

While it is true that three of the periodical references are primarily civil engineering in scope, the first article cited that on Sprague and the Terminal (it is Grand Central Terminal not Station) is focused totally on the electrical developments of Sprague, while the three books cited also discuss the electrical advancements in light of other installations. For example, the bipolar gearless electric locomotive was the first use of that technology and expedited the handling of heavy trains as the power output was greater and performance smoother compared to the axle hung, geared motors of the locomotives used on smaller interurban railway locomotives of the time. The advent of multiple unit trains enabled a substantial increase in terminal capacity as is discussed extensively in the article on Sprague and the Terminal. The under running third rail provided a superior system in inclement weather - vital to the smooth operation of the terminal and frequent train movement. Electric power management was that of the time, a central ac generating station with conversion substations; only on a larger scale with two power stations. The signal system was a standard color light and semaphore blade system controlled by interlocking towers of the General Railway Signal Co. all-electric type - thus both the power system and signaling was but a larger and more complex version of the standard systems of the day.

As stated in the citation, the true "standouts" were the bipolar motor locomotives, the multiple unit train, and the under running third rail - none of which were visually impressive on their own but together created a system that was unique in the world and that success inspired duplication elsewhere. Operating hardware is not always visually impressive, but vital to the success of the enterprise.

That said, to reply to the comments more specifically - first in regard to dispatch control systems this nomination refers to the electrification of the train propulsion in 1906 - the standard methods were used to regulate movement - i.e. a dispatcher working with a number of line tower operators used the signal system to control train movements. Second, in regard to number of fully loaded cars that can be moved without serious track use conflicts that function is determined largely by track layout, length of track sections, number and length of platforms, signal block. The electrification of the terminal, in particular the acceleration made possible with multiple unit control, allowed suburban trains to clear the terminal area more rapidly and thus permitted better use of the facilities in a restricted space. Electric locomotives also did the same for long and heavy intercity trains. Third, "electric power management" was the technology of the day -in 1906 - the technique was to design the power plant and substations with sufficient capacity, including contingencies, to maintain electric operation. Again it was 1906 - management was accomplished by the power system operator through voice to power plant and substation operators in concert with train dispatchers. That included a battery plant in the generating station and substations to assist during contingencies. Only in recent decades did the study of flywheel storage and capacitor installations become an object of interest. Fourth, "what were the electric traction achievements" is answered by the extensive discussion of the program's impact as cited in the first reference J.L. Sprague and J.J. Cunningham, a Frank Sprague Triumph the electrification of Grand Central Terminal, IEEE Power & Energy magazine, p. 56-78, volume 11, number 1, January/February, 2013 http://magazine.ieee-pes.org/januaryfebruary-2013/history-6/

Again, it must be noted that thee focus of this nomination is the use of electric power for propulsion - specifically - the adaption and expansion of early railway electrification technology to an advanced installation on an intercity railroad in a complex terminal zone; the outstanding success of which advanced the state of railroad electrification and encouraged numerous mainline installations elsewhere.

Milestone and citation ok -- Jsoares (talk) 10:02, 10 October 2015 (CDT)

Is the "(MU)" acronym for multiple unit really necessary? The expanded version seems to be just as widely recognised.

Re: Milestone and citation ok -- Joecbaltohioelecloco (talk) 15:04, 10 October 2015 (CDT)

That is a valid question - however, while the use of MU may not be vital in the strict sense, it is the term used most often by railroad personnel as compared to the technical term "multiple unit", especially it seems, in Europe.