April 17, 2014
Mount Vernon Substation Upgrade Begins
New Transformers Will Be Installed
MTA Metro-North Railroad, beginning this weekend, will upgrade the power supply for the New Haven Line at its Mount Vernon East substation to provide additional redundancy and increase capacity.
The railroad is replacing four, 35-year-old transformers with two new ones that will ensure reliability to handle additional power loads and allow electricity generated by the brakes of the railroad’s new fleet of M-8 rail cars to be fed back into the power grid.
In order to accommodate this installation and minimize the risk of service disruption, Metro-North, Con Edison and the New York Power Authority (“NYPA”) developed a contingency plan to assure continued power service to the Mount Vernon substation and submitted it to the New York State Department of Public Service (“DPS”) for an independent, third party review and approval.
The plan draws upon work already completed in the overall improvement of the power supply to the New Haven Line. One new transformer was installed at Mount Vernon last fall and is adequate to serve the power needs of the line. The second new transformer is being installed this weekend and connecting it will take about a month.
Last month, a similar upgrade was completed, doubling of capacity at the Cos Cob West substation. It is now possible to deliver power to the New York segment of the New Haven Line through an upgraded tie system at the Harrison and Rye switching substations. These upgrades will serve as a third supply source in the unlikely event that power is lost at the Mount Vernon Substation during installation of the east transformer.
“The contingency plan is sound and is backed by this new Harrison tie system,” said Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti. “Replacing this old substation is an important step in improving power supply to the New Haven Line overall.”
While these improvements reduce the possibility of a full power outage, if that did occur, it will take up to two hours to activate the tie. However, once the tie is activated, Metro-North will be able to operate regular train service through the area with some delays possible. Customers will be kept informed should that occur.
Metro-North hired the New York Power Authority to design and replace the existing substation, including a new breaker house at Pelham, new 27 kilovolt feeders, new switchgear at New Rochelle, and a new power supply station for the signal system at the same location.
The Con Edison power supply into the substation is 138 kilovolts, which the transformers step down to 27 kilovolts in order to feed the overhead catenary wires that supply electricity to the trains.
The substation sits in a large yard surrounded by a chain link fence that will be replaced with a more secure wall as part of the $51 million project.
When completed, the project will enable Metro-North to use the regenerative braking technology on its newest rail cars, the M-8s, to feed power back into the catenary system each time the cars go into braking mode. This excess electricity reduces Metro-North's overall power demand. To take advantage of this potential power savings, the existing controls and metering at the Mount Vernon East substation also will be reconfigured.