The Railways of Ottawa

Finding No. 21   Railway Structures Destroyed (Mainly) by Fire

Ottawa Electric Railway Power Station at the Chaudiere Hit by Lightning 11 August 1891.

Ottawa Journal 12 August 1891

The Electric Road Car Service Disabled.
The lightning also disabled the electric street railway plant at the dynamo station at the Chaudiere. About four o'clock when the storm was at its worst, the electric fluid struck one of the overhead wires, at what point is not known and flashing over the wires, passed into the two powerful dynamos and "burned-out," to ? the technical term the armatures, or power-generating - apparatus in each, causing the system to be shut down at once. The cars were left standing useless on the tracks in all directions.
To explain the nature of the damage it may be said that the armatures are the cylinders of rolled wire that revolve between the field magnets. These armatures are insulated, and when the insulation is removed from any cause they cannot be worked. Yesterday the electric fluid "burned" off the insulation about an inch square in each armature, and melted two copper wires in each as well, and this was sufficient to cause the stoppage of the system.
Immediately after the occurrence Mr. Ahearn was on hand and, with his staff of electricians, went to work to repair the damage. To get out the armatures from the dynamos to repair them, the top field magnets weighing about five tons had to be removed. This was a job that required a large gang of ?, "jacks", and tackle to carry out, and proved a low and arduous task. The men had to work all night. By 9 o'clock this morning one of the armatures had been repaired and the field magnets replaced. But when the water was turned on, a fresh "burn" occurred and once more the dynamo was unworkable.
Mr Ahearn will have the armature on the other dynamo repaired tonight and expects to have the cars running tomorrow morning.
About a hundred persons who were at the exhibition grounds at the time the cars were stopped had to walk home.
The company has ordered two reserve armatures, and if in future a similar accident should occur only about half an hour will be lost.

Updated 20 October 2021

Top     Home   Findings   Circle