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A reappraisal of the economics of railway electrification: How, when, and where can it compete with the diesel-electric locomotive?

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2 Author(s)
Brown, H. F. ; Gibbs and Hill, Inc., New York, N. Y. ; Kimball, R. L.

The diesel-electric locomotive has been universally substituted for the steam locomotive on most of the railroads in this country. Railway electrification has not had further application during this period. Many believe this to be an indication that the economies of the diesel over the steam locomotive apply equally to electric operation as well. This opinion is debated. Power costs, investment costs, fixed charges, maintenance costs, and other operating costs of both diesel-electric and electric operation are compared. Stress is laid on the greater rise in maintenance costs, with age, of the diesel-electric than those of the electric locomotive. It is believed that when the difference in all these costs is fully determined, electrification will again be applied to certain parts of the American railroads having good load factors where electric power is available because of its greater economy. Commercial frequency applied to the contact wire at higher voltage, and the rectifier locomotive, offer means of standardizing future railway electrification. Examples are cited of studies recently made for electrification of this type in South America, and for a hypothetical installation in this country, to illustrate cost comparisons brought out in the paper.

Published in:

American Institute of Electrical Engineers, Part II: Applications and Industry, Transactions of the  (Volume:73 ,  Issue: 1 )