The Safe Harbor Hydroelectric Plant

A Photo Tour

(Jim Hawkins' Radio and Broadcast Technology Page)

Control Room (CIR. 1980)

(Levers, buttons, switches, big meters and strip recorders. That's about all I can say right now, except that I'm guessing that the six huge meters at the top of the wall correspond to each of the six generators.)

Accessed times since December 25, 2001.

From Gravity to Radio Energy

Sometime around 1980, I visited the Safe Harbor Plant. This isn't radio, but I figured most visitors of my radio site who appreciate seeing
the powerful broadcast transmitting equipment on this site would also enjoy seeing these pictures. After all, this is where "da juice" comes
from. I have had these photos for about 20 years and had thought about presenting them on a website from time to time. Now is the time.
For now, this page doesn't have lots of detailed information, because I don't have it. I am hoping to return to the site for another tour to
get more details and more photos, possibly in 2002. In the meantime, enjoy this little album and visit the official
Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation page for other information.

At the time there were 6 generating units. According to the official PPL web site, there are now 12 generating units. There are probably many
other changes, which have occurred in the roughly 20 years since this visit. The Safe Harbor Hydroelectric Station is located about 10 miles
southwest of Lancaster, Pa. on the Susquehanna River. The dam is 4,869 feet long and 75 feet high.

The Safe Harbor station was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad to provide power for its electrified operations in the eastern PA/Maryland
area, specifically the Harrisburg to Paoli mainline, the "low grade" freight line, and the C,P,&D - the "port road" Harrisburg to Port Deposit Maryland.

A note from Doug Walker, Clear Channel, Cincinnati:

The plant was built, as were a number of others for rail traction, to provide 25 HZ AC. Other railroads using this standard includedthe New Haven and the
Great Northern.

Pennsylvania Railroad acquired the New York Central in early 1968, becoming Penn Central in the process. Penn Central acquiredthe New Haven in 1970,
and went bankrupt in 1971. It was operated as a trusteeship until the creation of Conrail in 1976.

Conrail ceased electric traction operation in the 1980's, and Amtrak (the passenger successor) retired the prr electric fleet (mostly GG1'S)in the late
1980'S. The current Amtrak electric passenger fleet uses commercially generated 60 hertz power (Asea AEM7 locomotives; Acela and modified late
generation Pioneer III corridor trainsets.) I do not know whether the Safe Harbor plant was converted or what
service it may still provide.

Also visit the PPL Safe Harbor Page and homepage.

Overhead View

Notice the tracks on the right and left walls. A hoisting device rides along these tracks to for lifting and moving of heavy parts for the service and maintenance of the generators.

View of all six generators from a high loft
at the end of the plant. The two nearest
generators put out 25 HZ power for the
railroad (if my memory serves me
correctly). The other four are 60 HZ
generators for public power.

A more direct view of the front generator.

Floor Views

In our tour, we actually walked into
one of these generator compartments
and were able to see the huge, slowly
rotating shaft.

Some, pumps, plumbing and other

Outdoor Views

Another view of the dam.

Feed points going out after voltage is
stepped up by transformers.

1931 Photo Postcards


All images are Copyrighted and are provided for your personal enjoyment. Use of these images for commercial purposes including their distribution on CD-ROM or any other media without permission of the owner is prohibited.