Electrification of Vancouver Island — Addition

Prompted by questions in the comments of the last thread, (here) It just occured to me that it would be quite easy to figure out the theoretical peak load of such a system.

All you have to know is the number of locomotives on the system and their maximum rated horsepower and convert it to kilowatts.

In our case, the E&N system is quite small. When it last operated as a viable freight hauler there were 2-3 locomotives on the Alberni sub, and 2-3 on the Victoria-Courtney sub.

Rail America used the EMD GP38 which are rated at 2000 horsepower, or 1.5MW.

The Via Rail ‘Budd’ RDC cars are rated at about 280hp*2 for each car. So lets say 600hp per car. Via has 3 cars on the Island.

so… 3 * 600… 1,800HP maximum power from Via
6 * 2000hp… 12,000hp from RailAmerica

13,800hp total… which translates to:


or 10.2MW.

So the Franklin River Project alone would not be able to handle the peak-immediate load of the E&N… but, say, if you combined it’s “sister” facility at China Creek (which has the same capacity) the two together would easily produce enough electricity assuming the head is sufficient through the generators… and again, given the abundance of run-of-river possiblities on the Island, sufficient power for future expansion is readily available.