Mile 4.0: E V Buchanan Hydro Substation ( Stop 3 1/2)

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The L&PS timetables had the unusual feature of including a stop number three and one half. Serving the E. V. Buchanan hydro electric substation on Pond Mills road just north of Concession 3, this stop included a spur for deliveries to their equipment yard and to a number of the buildings on the site.

Electrical service came early to London with the first electric street lights installed around 1890. For many years, electricity was delivered to the city from Niagara Falls via a substation built along Highbury Ave just south of Hamilton Rd. One problem with this early adoption of electricity is that the city operated at an AC (alternating current) frequency of 25 cycles per second. The rest of the province, and in fact the rest of the continent, eventually settled on 60 cycles per second as the standard. London consumers would have found it increasingly difficult to purchase appliances compatible with this old standard and the HEPC wanted to unify their grid making it inevitable that London convert to 60 cycles. For many reasons, WWII among them, the work was repeatedly delayed and didn't occur until 1950. At that time, HEPC, undertook the largest door to door conversion project ever attempted. Technicians visited every residence and industry and converted the motors in all appliances to operate at the new frequency. In many cases, consumers were just given new replacement appliances. By the end of 1950 the entire city was operating at 60 cycles per second and was now able to connect to the provincial power grid.

I haven't been able to confirm the date, but I believe the E V Buchanan station ( named after the general manager of the London PUC who served from 1915 to 1952 ), the Philip St substation, and their interconnecting tower line were all built as part of the 60 cycle upgrade.

Here is the E V Buchanan power substation looking east from the L&PS main.



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