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Cos Cob Power Station

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Title: Cos Cob Power Station  
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Subject: New York Connecting Railroad, New Haven Line, Cos Cob, Connecticut, History of Greenwich, Connecticut
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Cos Cob Power Station

Cos Cob Power Station
Cos Cob Power Station in 1977
Cos Cob Power Station
Location Roughly bounded by Metro North RR tracks, the Mianus R. and Sound Shore Dr., Greenwich, Connecticut

41°1′46″N 73°35′50″W / 41.02944°N 73.59722°W / 41.02944; -73.59722Coordinates: 41°1′46″N 73°35′50″W / 41.02944°N 73.59722°W / 41.02944; -73.59722

Area 6 acres (2.4 ha)
Built 1907
Architect Westinghouse, Church, Kerr & Co.
Architectural style Mission/Spanish Revival
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 90001096[1]
Added to NRHP August 2, 1990

Cos Cob Power Station is a historic district roughly bounded by Metro North Railroad tracks, the Mianus River and Sound Shore Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Spanish Revival style station building of 1907 is significant as part of the first mainline railroad electrification in the United States, using alternating current (A.C.) electrification. The New York City subway systems and a Hudson River railroad line used lower voltage direct current (D.C.) electrification, but for longer distances that would mean high transmission losses or frequent and close-spaced substations.[2]:11

A 1903 New York State law prohibited the use of steam locomotives in New York City. The New Haven line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad ran commuter trains into the city, and electrification all the way to New Haven would avoid massive congestion and delays to commuter trains if locomotives were changed at the New York City limits or at Stamford.

The "New Haven" chose A.C. electrification as proposed by Baldwin-Westinghouse, with locomotives which could operate on the third-rail D.C. system within city limits, and the A.C. system on the main line.

The plant was built by Westinghouse in 1907 in Mission Style style, and was located on Long Island Sound.. The plant used coal-fired steam turbines, and the three-phase alternators supplied single-phase power at 11 kV 25 hz directly to the catenary. They also supplied power to the New York Central's Port Morris generating station to compensate the NYC for power consumed by New Haven trains on the NYC's third-rail supplied line to the Grand Central Terminal witin the city limits.

The station was designated a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark in 1982 by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.[3]

The power station was decommissioned in 1986-87. The 1989 listing included two contributing buildings and four other contributing structures: two water tanks, a dock, and a coal conveyor.[2]

The plant was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990,[1] but despite the listing and local and national debate, the plant which had been decommissioned in 1986-97 was demolished in 2001.


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