Monday, 1 September 2014

Floating Electric Power Station

This is just one of a series of around fifty old newspaper articles that I have been reading. I have been researching from old newspapers and magazines the last 200 years or so of the inland waterways. With particular interest in the issues of the day that were effecting the canals. The most active periods for evaluation and change, has always been just prior, during and shortly after the two world wars. It should be remembered that between the wars the ownership of some of the canals changed hands as the railway companies bought up the waterways to get reduce competition. What is not clear is the effect this early form of asset stripping had on the viability of the inland waterways. Its good to take a look back at what people were saying and doing in the past. Most surprising of all are some of the problems that beset the canals back then - are still prevalent today. Reading old newspapers can throw up some rather interesting stories. Here is what we would call today a public interest story.

Caveat: Some of the articles are difficult to read and even using modern electronic  scanning and text conversion methods. The odd punctuation, word or character may have been transcribed in error. 
Petersburg Times
Friday 28 March 1919

A Floating Electric Power Station.

One of the many British "Freak" vessels produced during the war is the floating electric power station, officially known As CD258. Although it is formally a ship, it was under the control of the war office, not the Admiralty, having been secured for the service of the Directorate of Inland Waterways and Docks. Its function was to supply electric current, as and where required, for the miscellaneous operations of this Department in connection with docks, harbours and canals used for military transport. At a distance this vessel might pass for a gunboat without guns; technically it is described as a steel barge. A midships is a complete electric power station of 1000 Horse Power designed so that practically any type of electrical installation can be fed from its course. Two oil tanks, each with a capacity of 20 tons, and an electrically driven workshop with lathe, drilling machine, and other repair plant, complete the main part of equipment. While the "universal electric provider" is the direct out come of war conditions, similar equipments are likely to be very useful in the construction of sea and river works. They are also worth considering for the permanent supply of electricity to riverside towns where owing to the nature of the sub-soil and other local conditions an ordinary station would be difficult of erection on a site convenient for water and fuel supply. In remote parts of the world a floating oil-power electric station could probably be installed and run much more cheaply than a land station.

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