A few questions concerning Cornell University

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HarryE
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Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:52 pm

A few questions concerning Cornell University

Post by HarryE » Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:20 pm

According to the LVRRMODELER website, the Lehigh Valley delivered 710 cars to Cornell University in 1969, 526 in 1970 dropping to 149 in 1971.

I assume that most of these cars if not all went to Cornell's central steam heat and power plant. If this assumption is correct, I have the following questions:

1. What type of coal (anthracite or bituminous) did Cornell's boilers utilize?
2. Where was this coal sourced?
3. What manufacturer(s) supplied eqipment for the plant (example: E. Keeler Co. of Williamsport, International Boiler Works of East Strodsburg, etc.).
5. What year did Cornell stop using coal?
6. Did Cornell generate its own electricity?
7. What type of fuel does it use now?

Thanks for your input.

pennsy
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Post by pennsy » Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:01 pm

Harry----------- really can't help you with your queries, but as an ex- college rival of Cornell the following immediately came to mind. You might remember it.

On the banks of the Cuyuga

there exists a smell,

some say it is from the Cuyuga,

others say it is from Cornell.

Enjoy

DElder
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:23 pm

Post by DElder » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:15 pm

Alan J:
Hey bud, you almost got the jingle correct, and it's "Cayuga", not "Cuyuga".....guess that "rival college" you went to wasn't all that big on geography and spelling, eh? You're not a Yale guy, are you?? (Hey, only kidding, but as a long-time near-Ithaca resident that took lots of courses at Cornell during my summer breaks from "another engineering school in northern NY", I'm possibly a bit sensitive about this kinda stuff.)

Harry:
I don't know the answers to your coal supply questions...possibly one of the locals or ex-locals (Scot? TB ?) might have a better feel for how that all worked. I do know that during a trip back to Ithaca in 2002, I stopped by the ex-LV yard, and noted that there was some kind of coal dump/loader near the south end of the yard. I was told by one of the NS train crew that this facility was for supplying Cornell with coal that was off-loaded from hoppers and then trucked up to the University. However, during my visit to Ithaca this past summer, it did not look like that facility was still there or in service, but as I'd been warned that the NS folks there are reportedly not very "railfan friendly", I didn't venture very far into the yard area. I have no idea at this point if the old steam generating plant is still in service or using coal....I'd be interested in hearing about that also.
Doug Elder

TB Diamond
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Post by TB Diamond » Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:50 pm

Harry:

Cannot help out very much. Did not begin to follow the Cortland job until 01/1973. The E&C had washed out between Etna and East Ithaca the previous June. Can recall the crew talking about the coal business that had been lost and also their take on just why the small (so I was told) washout was never repaired. Oddly enough, the East Ithaca Running Track, Etna-East Ithaca, 6.1 miles, was not shown o/s account track condition until the publication of G.O. No. 1001, effective 10 August 1975.
You can't go home again- Thomas Wolfe

bwparker1
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Post by bwparker1 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:13 am

Check this out: PDF File

http://www.fs.cornell.edu/fs/about/AboutFS.pdf

Slide 29.

I think they still use coal.

I think the generate electricity, both at the coal plant and some Hydroelectric.

Brooks
Cornell U. Grad 96-00

bwparker1
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Post by bwparker1 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:16 am

Update:

This link answers a majority of your questions...

http://www.utilities.cornell.edu/utl_heating.html

The Cornell Central Heating Plant provides steam to the campus community for space heating, hot water and research. Approximately 250 buildings are heated via an underground steam supply system consisting of 13 miles of piping. An additional 12 miles of piping returns the condensate from the buildings to the plant. It is then reheated and sent out again as steam.

The steam is produced from varying combinations of six different boilers, which are fueled by coal, gas or oil. The boilers used are dependent on the steam load needed, operational considerations and production cost. Steam is produced around the clock, year round.

Before the steam is sent out to the campus, the pressure and temperature are reduced via two steam turbines. Electricity is produced in this process as a by-product of heating the campus. This is referred to as cogeneration. The primary goal of this system is to produce some of the electricity required for the campus at nearly 80% efficiency (twice the efficiency of conventional generation).

HarryE
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Post by HarryE » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:14 pm

Thanks for link. According to the history page, Cornell's central heating plant used anthracite up to the 1950's and then switched over to oil. So my supposition that the LV delivered coal to Cornell in 1969, 1970 & 1971 was wrong. The LV probably delivered tank cars containing #6 fuel oil to Cornell during that time. #6 is a heavy sludgy oil product that can't be shipped by pipeline. Can anyone on this forum verify this? Were there refineries along the LV that could have supplied Cornell with oil?

The page also notes that the boilers were built by B&W and the anthracite stokers were made by Riley Stoker Company.

When oil got expensive, they switched to "low sufur" bituminous coal. Zurn Industries of Erie, PA did the modifications. They say that they burn 65,000 tons per year now and the coal is delivered to the plant by truck. That is a lot of truck loads. Do these trucks off load the coal from hopper cars at the NS yard in Ithaca?

Cornell is installing new combined cycle gas turbines that will supply heat and power to the college. So, the use of coal will probably come to an end soon.

bwparker1
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Post by bwparker1 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:30 pm

And then in another 50 years, they'll go back to Coal when Natural Gas goes through the roof price wise!!

BWP

TB Diamond
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Post by TB Diamond » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:53 pm

According to personal conversations with the Lehigh Valley Railroad Cortland Local crew in early 1973, coal was delivered to Cornell by the LVRR via the East Ithaca Running Track right up to Hurricane Agnus in June, 1972 and the resulting washout between Etna and East Ithaca.
You can't go home again- Thomas Wolfe

HarryE
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Post by HarryE » Thu May 01, 2008 1:01 pm

TB Diamond wrote:According to personal conversations with the Lehigh Valley Railroad Cortland Local crew in early 1973, coal was delivered to Cornell by the LVRR via the East Ithaca Running Track right up to Hurricane Agnus in June, 1972 and the resulting washout between Etna and East Ithaca.
Well, there appears to be a discrepancy between your recollection and the Cornell Utilities history page. The page states that they did not switch over to bituminous until after the price of oil shot up (1973). Unless, they used a combination of oil and anthracite in the 60s. Is there someone out there who has first hand knowledge of this and can clear it up?

johnpbarlow
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Post by johnpbarlow » Thu May 01, 2008 1:40 pm

I'm pretty sure that the Big Red steam plant consumed coal into the '70s as I recall seeing hopper cars head through Owego to E Ithaca. But perhpas more convincing is CU had a rail-based steam crane to unload the coal hoppers. This crane ended up in a museum collection in upstate NY IIRC.

HarryE
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Post by HarryE » Thu May 01, 2008 2:22 pm

johnpbarlow wrote:I'm pretty sure that the Big Red steam plant consumed coal into the '70s as I recall seeing hopper cars head through Owego to E Ithaca. But perhpas more convincing is CU had a rail-based steam crane to unload the coal hoppers. This crane ended up in a museum collection in upstate NY IIRC.
This is all very interesting. A comment on another thread said that the LV used the DL&W switchback to deliver scrap cars to Morse Chain. Wouldn't this indicate that the DL&W (or EL) abandoned its East Ithaca branch while the LV was still in business? But again, I'm interested in what the LV delivered to Cornell in the 60s when their web page claims that the heating plant used oil. See map below.

Image

johnpbarlow
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Post by johnpbarlow » Thu May 01, 2008 8:19 pm

After much googling, I managed to find this fairly recent picture of "Cornell University #8", a Browning steam crane formerly used at the Cornell steam plant:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=1082518

johnpbarlow
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Post by johnpbarlow » Thu May 01, 2008 8:20 pm

After much googling, I managed to find this fairly recent picture of "Cornell University #8", a Browning steam crane formerly used at the Cornell steam plant:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=1082518

And here's another pic from 12 years ago:

http://www.northeast.railfan.net/images/tr_tsrr05.jpg

TB Diamond
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Post by TB Diamond » Thu May 01, 2008 10:03 pm

HarryE:

The DL&W abandoned the Ithaca branch, Owego-Ithaca, 34 miles, in 1956.

BTW: The DL&W referred to the line as the Ithaca branch and not the East Ithaca branch.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad subsequently purchased from the DL&W that segment of the former Ithaca branch from Ithaca to Morris Chain. This was transferred to ConRail on 01 April 1976. ConRail abandoned what it referred to as the Morris Chain Industrial Track, Ithaca-Morris Chain, 1.5 miles, on 07 August 1982.

BTW: It was Morris Chain, not Morse Chain.

Cannot explain the discrepancy between what was told to me in 1973 about LVRR coal deliveries to Cornell and what the Cornell history states. Can't go back to the LVRR employes who related the information to me (Nick and Bart Fiske) as they have both passed on. Nick was the engineer and Bart the head brakeman on the Cortland local. They were brothers and had held their jobs for a long time.
You can't go home again- Thomas Wolfe

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