LIGHT, HEAT AND POWER.
Johnstown as a factor in the field of electric light and power has had an interesting local history and is rapidly
assuming a place in gigantic mergers and developments similar to that taken in the coal mining and steel producing
industries. Rolling mills, blast furnaces and mining are the principal consumers of energy. Industry follows power
and builds the cities and the towns. Cambria County at the time of surveys made for the Giant Power Survey Board,
Cambria County ranked seventh in the state in industrial horse power installed and a good deal higher than that
in consumed energy, outside of mining. In this development Johnstown became active soon after Thomas A. Edison,
in 1880, placed in operation the "Jumbo Electric Generator," operated by steam, then extended its service
to surrounding territory and took up the process of merging smaller local concerns. It now has a large place in
one of the great national holding companies, operating in many states and in Manila.
The Johnstown Electric Light Company received its charter in 1885. Jacob Fronheiser was elected president; Charles
G. Wean, secretary; Curtis G. Campbell, treasurer; R. G. Rose, superintendent. Two 40 K. W. Edison bipolar generators
driven by a 150 H. P. engine were installed in a plant on Apple Alley, where the present boiler house now stands,
and current was turned on Feb. 14, 1886. President Fronheiser in his first annual report said that an Edison engineer
had made an inspection, found the plant one of the best arranged and equipped and that the capacity was 2,800 lamps
of 10 candle power. Demand was already exceeding capacity and additional capital was needed to duplicate the plant
in use. This capital was found in the following year, the boiler house and engine room increased in size and the
power doubled. James Quinn succeeded to the presidency and Charles Hatch was made superintendent. Two 60 K. W.
machines were installed, with an additional engine. The task still was to find capital enough to meet demands for
product. Then came the flood, destroying the entire distributing system, as well as the boiler house.
Johnstown needed light - light for safety and light to carry on the work of clearing up the debris. The Edison
Company sent on a 40 light machine by express, a boiler and one engine were made ready and in 10 days the crippled
plant was operating 15 street lamps. But the revenues of the company were reduced for a long time and a new plant
had to be built. The Johnstown spirit, which refused to permit one disaster, however great, to kill the town, was
manifested in the light company when the personal credit of directors was made available. After the industrial
and business life of the community had been resumed, demand for lighting service made necessary still further additions
to equipment. Charles Rosensteel became president in 1891. The city was paying $152.20 a year for open double carbon
lamps of the T. H. style and in stores the cost of single carbon arc lamps was from $6 to $9 per month on 9, 10
and 12 o'clock circuits. August Weiss, from whose history of early electrical development in Johnstown these notes
are largely taken, became assistant superintendent of the plant in 1893. A 50 K. W. A. C. generator, another 50
light arc machine and an extension to the boiler room were installed. In 1896 the company purchased the lot at
Vine Street and Apple Alley, where the present engine rooms and offices stand. Here was erected the building that
now houses the engines. In it was placed much of the machinery of the old plant and a large amount of new equipment.
The company began to look about for a water supply. It put down a well along Apple Alley, a brick pump house over
the well and a 60,000 gallon wood tank on top of the pump house. Fuel costs were low, coal being delivered to the
boiler plant at $1 or less per ton, and much steam was permitted to go to waste.
Under separate charter and franchise, the Johnstown Steam Heating Company was organized to make use of this surplus
heat. Underground piping began with a 14 inch line from the main exhausts in the basement of the plant, connected
with a 12 inch main extending to Main Street and there with a 10 inch main extending from Bedford to Franklin Street.
Eight inch lines extended from Main to Vine Street and from Franklin to Market. About 25 customers were supplied
with this steam heat the first year and by 1922 there were 365 customers. When it became clear that this by product
of the electric plant was a financial success, the Johnstown Steamheating Company was again merged with the Johnstown
Electric Light Company under a charter to the Johnstown Light, Heat and Power Company. This was in 1903. Meanwhile
better lamps had brought a great increase in the demand for electrical lighting of stores and homes. In 1902 a
new boiler room was built and an artesian well was drilled to take the place of the shallow well put down earlier.
The engine room was extended to provide room for three 200 K. W. generators and two additional engines.
In 1904 a lively fight for control of the local electrical field was begun. Competition threatened seriously. The
Consumers Light, Heat and Power Company purchased a site on Baumer Street and installed a portion of its transmission
system, but went out of business before getting its equipment into place. The Citizens Light, Heat & Power
Company, on the other hand, built a power house on Broad Street, Cambria City, installed equipment and constructed
underground and overhead transmission lines. A rate war developed, with political trimmings usual in that period
of utility development. The contract for street lighting was the biggest bone of contention. The Citizens Company
made a bid of $50 a lamp, but the Johnstown Company slashed its rate to $40 and took the contract. Then another
merger was arranged, with a reorganization and increase of capital to $1,000,000 under the name of the Citizens
Company, and with James C. Ellis as president and Curtis G. Campbell as secretary and treasurer.
In order to utilize both generating plants, new equipment was placed at Vine Street to take the alternating current
from Broad Street and transform it into direct current for supplying the central part of the city. New equipment
went into both plants and the G. E. magnetite series arc lights system was placed on the streets of the city.
Business in electrical supplies had become important.
In 1907 the Johnstown Fuel Supply Company was organized to distribute natural gas for lighting and heating. A year
later the city granted a franchise to the company, which soon sold its holdings to the Citizens Light, Heat and
Power Company, again reorganized. Emmet Queen, of Pittsburgh, was elected president and H. H. Weaver of Johnstown
secretary. Natural gas was still being produced in the western Pennsylvania oil and gas fields in quantities sufficient
to warrant wider distribution by pipe lines to cities outside the producing districts. Johnstown and Altoona offered
good markets. The Johnstown company, however, was only a distributor, securing its supply for the city mains from
the big line of another company which piped the gas from the Pittsburgh territory. Producer gas was not competitive
at that time and electricity for heating had not been developed to the state where it could displace natural gas.
But natural gas for lighting was competing with electricity, and where it was used for fuel it also was likely
to be used for light.
Under the Queen-Weaver management business continued to increase and demand new equipment, but expenses also had
increased and the company was unable then to reach out and supply the demand for power at coal mines and other
industrial plants throughout the county and in nearby counties. Small local electric light and power companies
were springing up in many towns to meet local needs and some of the industries were installing their own electric
plants. None undertook the construction of hydro electric or steam and water power plants capable of great expansion,
but on the east the Penn Central was more than local and brought its transmission lines into Cambria County, while
to the west and southwest the West Penn was expanding from the Pittsburgh field and looking toward water power
development on the Cheat River and other tributaries of the Monongahela. President Queen, who owned a majority
of the common stock of the Citizens Light, Heat & Power Company, precipitated a change in policy early in 1911,
when he disposed of his holdings to three New York banks and they placed the management of the company in the hands
of H. D. Walbridge, who was elected president and managing director. Mr. Weiss in his history of the industry in
Johnstown says "This marked the beginning of the progressive development of the electrical industry in this
section and the real foundation of what is now the Penn Public System."
It might be added that for various reasons, principally perhaps the reluctance of Johnstown citizens, from whatever
motive, to finance and to own their own public utilities or even their own principal industries, adequate capital
for expansion was not to be had here. In the new era of corporate growth which had been signalized by the creation
of the United States Steel Corporation, the financing of the construction of new industries had become a business
quite apart from that of operating industries. The men who did the building found their capital where they could,
held the prior liens, first mortgages or first bonds as long as necessary and sought mergers or combinations looking
toward reduced costs of operation rather than to the creation of competitive industries likely to destroy each
other by diminished profits or by rate wars. Mr. Walbridge, throughout the period of his practical control of electric
light and power in Johnstown, did not become well known here personally to many citizens, but he built up new plants
or took over old ones in the surrounding territory under the corporate name of the Penn Electric Service Corporation,
and he sold electric power over and above that which could be produced by the lesser plants acquired and this surplus
was bought from the Citizens Company, giving it the benefit of the increased business without much increase in
its expenses for operation. More than 75 per cent of this new business was electric power load used during the
day when the plants were running under a very low load factor.
Following the purchase of the electric companies at South Fork and at Somerset, 22,000 volt transmission lines
were run from the Broad Street plant to South Fork sub-station and thence to Beaverdale and throughout Somerset
County. H. D. Walbridge & Co. purchased the electrical plants at Blairsville, Indiana, Clearfield, Curwensville,
Philipsburg and Osceola and organized the Penn Public Service Corporation to take over and operate these plants,
the power being largely supplied from the Johnstown plants. Capacities were again increased at both the Vine Street
and Broad Street plants.
Electrical engineers were making a success of transmission of power for increasingly longer distances and all industries,
including coal with its newly electrified mines, were feeling the spur of demand created by the World War, so that
by 1918 facilities were again exhausted by the demand for light and power. Penn Electric Service Corporation erected
a power station on a 200 acre site on the Castleman River, near Rockwood, to take care of the demand from Somerset
County and leave a surplus at Johnstown for the Indiana and Clearfield districts.
Coal at a dollar a ton was one of the many essentials which disappeared in this period. Penn Public Service saw
prices rise to as high as $10 a ton, and at any price delivery was uncertain. There was little provision at the
plants for coal storage. The company decided it should own and operate its own fuel supply, and that such supply
should not be dependent upon transportation by railroad. The Penelec Coal Company was organized to purchase mines
at or near the various power plants.
To supply more power, a modern steam plant was constructed at Seward, with the mouth of a coal mine only 600 feet
from the boilers. This plant was placed in operation in 1921. It was designed for a capacity of 100,000 K. W.,
but only the first unit of 40,000 K. W. was then installed. A steel tower 66,000 volt transmission line acting
as a main line feeder, connected with the Glory sub station to the north, in Indiana County, and with the Hooversville
sub station in Somerset County. The plant is on the Conemaugh River. Much of the power there developed goes into
the operation of coal mines. But Seward has its own coal supply, another illustration of how the modern industry,
even the public utility, seeks to make itself independent in the matter of its needs for production and distribution
of its products.
In 1919 the Citizens Light, Heat & Power Company, the Penn Public Service Company and the Penn Electric Service
Company, with its subsidiary, the Penelec Coal Company, were merged into the Penn Public Service Corporation for
the purpose of more economical management. Its plants and service lines covered Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Clearfield
and part of Westmoreland counties. The territory was fairly compact. All the plants were steam plants.
All over the eastern part of the United States, and in other sections, "giant power," the production
of almost unlimited energy with 220,000 volt transmission and distribution down to the electric toaster, was discussed
and had become the subject of much legislation. Governor Gifford Pinchot of Pennsylvania, among others, sought
to make definitions of giant power and super power under which broad questions of public policy could be determined.
"Giant power and super power," said his message on the Giant Power Survey, "are as different as
a tame elephant and a wild one." Giant power, as he defined it, seeks the cheapest sources of power, and hence,
the cheapest rates. It proposes to create, as it were, a great pool of power into which power from all sources
will be poured, and out of which power for all uses will be taken. It is the pooling of supply, not the disposal
of surplus, and the chief idea behind it is not profit, but the public welfare. "Super power, on the other
hand," said Governor Pinchot, "is the interchange of small quantities of surplus power at the ends of
the distribution wires of each system. Its principal object is profit for the companies not benefit for the public
and it is on the way to being realized with a rapidity which it is difficult fully to understand. If we are to
have giant power instead of super power the time in which to make sure of it is very short."
The Pinchot plan contemplated, first of all, mass production with opportunity for by product recovery by the
use of coal. In other words, electric power developed and distributed by methods which would assure a steady demand
for fuel from our bituminous coal mines, giant power generating stations of great capacity to be located in or
near the coal fields and supplying transmission lines connecting with all other transmission lines in the state.
Use of power from this common pool of power within the state was to be secured by making the giant power companies
common purchasers of surplus power from all generating stations in the state and common sellers to all distributing
systems in the state, just as the Johnstown plants for a time made their surplus power available to the related
companies in this territory to serve the customers of all the companies.
The Pinchot program proposed free access by every water power and steam generating station to every potential purchaser,
which would mean every distributing system in the state which supplies the consumer. This was to be done by making
all major transmission lines common carriers from the giant power companies and other generating stations to any
and all distributing systems in the state. The fourth main proposal of Governor Pinchot was that complete, prompt
and effective regulation of rates, service and security issues be secured by fundamental changes in the Public
Service Company Law, providing for measuring the company's right to a fair return "upon the stable and easily
ascertainable basis of the money prudently invested instead of upon the unstable, slow and enormously costly process
of valuation of the company's property as of each time the rate is fixed. The consent of the companies to this
new rate base should be required as a condition of every new charter, merger or exercise of the right of eminent
domain and the commission should have power to regulate security issues to correspond with the amount of prudent
investment. The recommendation also was strongly made that regulation of electrical service be "rescued from
the destruction now threatened by its conversion into interstate commerce, which will be beyond the control of
the states and has not been regulated by Congress." This could be done by contracts among the states consented
to by Congress, or by Congressional legislation.
The sixth of the essentials on the Pinchot program was the systematic extension of service lines throughout the
rural districts. This was to be secured by farmers' mutual companies and by rural electric districts, each authorized
to construct and operate distribution systems, and each empowered to tax and to borrow money. Both the mutual companies
and the districts should be served on an equality with all other distribution systems by current from the giant
power companies or by any other generating stations, to be delivered over the common carrier transmission lines.
The existing companies by the annual expenditure for ten years of less than 3 per cent of their present construction
program, declared the governor, could build lines reaching 50 per cent of all the farms in the state, but their
almost complete failure to bring about rural electrification made legislation imperative, in the opinion of the
The relationship between electric power and bituminous coal was strongly stressed by Giant Power Survey Report.
It went so far as to recommend that the minimum capacity of steam electric stations in the coal fields be fixed
at not less than 300,000 kilowatts, which was the minimum size limit indicated for profitable by product recovery,
and that such generating companies be given the power to appropriate by condemnation proceedings the right to mine
coal on specific lands not to exceed an area reasonably estimated to be sufficient to supply the generating station
for not more than 50 years, just compensation to be fixed at the time of appropriation in the form of royalty and
secured before the taking.
The second paragraph of the report is:
"Public power policy must, in Pennsylvania, be concerned chiefly with electric current produced by steam from
the rich bituminous coal deposits in the western part of the state. Water power supplied only 11 per cent of the
eighteen billion kilowatt hours consumed in the state in 1922, and this percentage must decrease notwithstanding
additional quantities that will be brought in from hydro electric sources beyond our borders and the more intensive
development of our own waterpowers which is beginning under the sound legislation of 1923."
The members of the Giant Power Survey Board were Gifford Pinchot, governor; George W. Woodruff, attorney general;
Robert Y. Stuart, secretary of forests and waters; William D. B. Ainey, chairman of the public service commission;
Frank P. Willits, secretary of agriculture; Richard H. Landsburgh, secretary of labor and industry; George H. Ashley,
state geologist; Philip P. Wells, deputy attorney general; Robert H. Fernald, engineer.
The advisory committee to the survey board was: Chairman, William Crozier, major general U. S. A. retired, Washington,
D. C.; Robert Bass, New Hampshire; Martha Bensley Bruere, New York; Arthur P. Davis, California; Charles W. Elliot,
Massachusetts; Irving Fisher, Connecticut; John R. Freeman, Rhode Island; Frederick A. Gaby, Canada; Harry A. Garfield,
Massachusetts; James It. Garfield, Ohio; Samuel Gompers (deceased), District of Columbia; Caspar F. Goodrich, New
Jersey; Henry S. Graves, Connecticut; William Kent, California; Fred R. Low, New York; Arthur J. Mason, Illinois;
William B. Mayo, Michigan; Charles E. Merriam, Illinois; Arthur E. Morgan, Ohio; William Mulholland, California;
George W. Norris, Pennsylvania; Maud Wood Park, District of Columbia; George Foster Peabody, New York; Joseph Hyde
Pratt, North Carolina; Herbert Quick, West Virginia; Leo S. Rowe, District of Columbia; E. F. Scattergood, California;
Herbert Knox Smith, Connecticut; Raymond B. Stevens, New Hampshire; Henry L. Stimson, New York; Francis Lee Stuart,
New York; Joseph N. Teal, Oregon; Wm. S. Twining, Pennsylvania, William Allen White, Kansas.
Electrical development has reached a stage where it may easily be regarded as the greatest present day factor in
industry. But legislative policy in the state and the nation and administrative policy as well are still but vaguely
defined. The growing electric companies are striving to consolidate their territories and to hold them, in broad
north and south strips through Pennsylvania and adjoining states, and they have found it necessary to place their
reliance on both steam and hydro electric plants, some individual plants being combinations of both systems, steam
supplementing water when water supply runs low and is insufficient for all purposes.
This brief review of a state and general situation, giving preference to the Giant Power Survey excerpts because
that document was official and generally discussed from the public viewpoint, and because Penn Public had outgrown
its local character, was spread out over other counties and had reached a point where it appeared to it to be good
policy to take over suitable sites and develop hydro electric plants East and west other powerful financial interests
were doing this.
In 1923 Penn Public Service Corporation bought the plants of the Jefferson Electric Company and the DuBois Electric
Company, in Jefferson County, and on the western border of Clearfield County, both easily tied in with the corporation's
operations and readily served with power from the Seward plant through high tension transmission lines extended
from the Glory station. But the next acquisition was different. Penn Public took over the Warren Light & Power
Company, operating in Warren County, in the "north tier" of Pennsylvania, and widely separated from the
Johnstown center of production, which is only a step from Somerset County in the "southern tier" of counties.
From the rather isolated Warren district, Penn Public invaded the populous and heavily industrial Erie territory,
purchasing the Erie Lighting Company with its subsidiaries, the Northwestern Electric Service and the Venango Public
Service Corporation, serving Erie, Crawford and Venango counties, with Warren adjoining Erie and Crawford on the
To supply service throughout the territory as then defined, the Penn Public secured charters under the laws of
Pennsylvania for the Clarion River Power Company and planned the construction of three dams on that great stream
and power plants designed to develop over 260,000 horsepower of generating capacity. The first of these was completed
in August, 1924, at Piney, the middle location, below Clarion, the lower dam site being near Foxburg, where the
Clarion empties into the Allegheny River and the upper one at Millcreek, several miles above the town of Clarion.
Field surveys and general investigations had been begun in 1922, covering the length of the stream from Foxburg
to Ridgway, a distance of 85 miles in which there is a natural fall of about 500 feet, practically all of it capable
of economical development. The Piney dam forms a reservoir extending about 14 miles to the Millcreek site. Milicreek
dam will be 240 feet high.
One of the construction details indicative of the condition of the waters in the naturally magnificent Clarion
River was that it was necessary to drill deep wells to secure a water supply for the camps and even to supply the
temporary steam power plant and concrete mixer, as the waters of the stream were unfit for use. But the dam builders
on this polluted stream, of course, were required to lay sewer lines and construct a sewage disposal plant.
The dam raises the water surface of the river 84 feet above normal low water and diverts the river through an intake
into four penstocks leading directly to the four hydraulic turbines in the power house, the water, after passing
through the turbines, discharging into a deeply excavated tailrace. The transformers are placed outside of the
power house at the rear of the building and the high tension conductors lead up the hill to the switching station
and to lightning arresters and then out into the main transmission lines connecting to the south with Johnstown
and to the north with Erie. The dam structure is of solid concrete masonry 700 feet long, rising 125 feet from
its lowest foundations, all of which are on sound rock. The dam wall is arched to a radius of 300 feet measured
from the upstream face, permitting a spillway of 448 feet into the natural river channel below the dam. The base
of the dam is 91 feet 6 inches in width and the top of the spillway not less than 25 feet. It is 45 miles over
the double circuit high tension feeders from Piney to Glory, Indiana County.
Piney, Seward, Glory and Union City had to have telephonic communication under all operating conditions. They used
a power line carrier current telephone device, with two aerials or antennae wires 1,500 feet long at each current
station to couple the radio impulses or conversation from the radio antennae to the power wires. This is the way
it was explained in a Penn Public Bulletin:
"Should Station 'A' desire to call Station 'B' then as soon as 'A' lifts his receiver the tubes in his sending
circuit are lighted and high frequency is put on his aerial, and by the coupling action of his aerial wire, this
frequency is put on the power line. The telephones in use at 'A' and 'B' are similar to those in use on automatic
telephone systems where the subscriber calls the number desired by `dealing.' A' then starts to dial or call Station
'B' and by so doing he puts a predetermined series of impulses into his aerial circuit and on to the power lines.
If he has dialed 'B' correctly then the alarm bell at 'B' rings and as soon as 'B' lifts his receiver he lights
the tubes in his sending circuit and 'A' and 'B' are able to talk to each other."
At the close of 1923 Penn Public System had 1,891 employes and was paying $3,000,000 a year in wages. There were
7,000 stockholders, 90 per cent of whom were residents of Pennsylvania, and 85 per cent of the regular employes
were stockholders. There were 71,000 electric customers and the population of the territory served was 700,000.
Of the 7,888 square miles of chartered territory, 55 per cent was underlaid with coal. The installed capacity of
steam generating stations was 146,000 horsepower and there was under construction in hydro stations 48,000 horsepower.
Sales for the year were 229,578,419 kilowatt hours, and the connected load of power customers was 300,000 horsepower.
There were 972 miles of transmission lines and 5,000 miles of distribution lines. There were 185 substations.
The Walbridge interests were not content to harness the Clarion River on the Allegheny watershed, but also turned
their attention to the Youghiogheny River, in Garrett County, Maryland, not many miles below the Pennsylvania line
and just east of the headwaters of the Cheat River, which were being taken over by Western Pennsylvania power interests.
Hooking up the Yough, one of the wildest and most tumultuous streams in the mountains of the East, was planned
to employ greater water power than that found on the Clarion. The first great dam, finished in 1925, is on Deep
Creek, a tributary of the Yough, not far from the pretty town of Oakland. It is an earth embankment, 1,400 feet
in length, 450 feet wide at the base and 24 feet at the top, which is 86 feet above the bed rock, with a concrete
core wall, a type of construction similar to that at Quemahoning Dam. At right angles to the dam is the spillway
wall, 332 feet long, with the overflow section 62 feet above the normal low water level mark of the creek. The
dam backs up the water distance of 12 miles and the lake covers 5,000 acres, with a storage capacity of more than
5,000,000 cubic feet. The water from the dam is conveyed by a mile and a half of rock and concrete tunnel through
the mountain and by two six foot penstocks to the turbines, falling a total of 437 feet. The crest of the water
in the dam is at an elevation of 2,470 feet. Few power plants in the East have so great a fall as this, which gives
great force with a relatively small quantity of water, so that it is expected that Deep Creek Dam will store up
sufficient water to maintain continuous operation of the plant throughout the entire year. Two 12,000 horsepower
generators were installed and placed in operation in 1925.
Four dams and three power houses are contemplated for the Youghiogheny development, the three dams in addition
to one on Deep Creek to be located on the main stream, two above the mouth of Deep Creek and one below, all of
them with a greater water head than is had from Deep Creek. Sang Run will have a drop of 520 feet. The power from
Deep Creek is brought out of the State of Maryland into the State of Pennsylvania.
On Sept. 23, 1925, Penn Public System became a part of a still larger group of properties in 11 leading Eastern
states and in the City of Manila, control of Pennsylvania Electric Corporation passing from H. D. Walbridge &
Company to Associated Gas and Electric Company by stock ownership, J. I. Mange, president. The J. G. White Management
Corporation, an organization of public utility operating and construction engineers, looks after operation and
supervision. The name Penn Public System, however, was retained for the Pennsylvania Electric Corporation and its
subsidiaries and it was announced that no changes in local operating organization except minor adjustments between
departments were contemplated.
Penn Public System at that time included:
Penn Public Service Corporation and its stock owned companies, as follows: Erie Lighting Company, Home Heating
Company, DuBois Traction Company, Center & Clearfield Railway Company, Johnstown Fuel Supply Company, Penelec
Venango Public Service Corporation and its stock owned companies: Northwestern Electric Service Company, Warren
Street Railway Company, Clarendon Electric Light and Power Company, Sheffield Electric Light and Power Company,
Pine Grove Electric Light and Power Company.
The Clarion River Power Company: The Youghiogheny Hydro Electric Corporation, Eastern Land Company, Clarion Water
Company, County Realty Company, Penelec Water Company, Eastern Coal Corporation.
In the Giant Power Survey it was stated that Penn Public Service had 3 per cent of the population of the state
which is served by companies. West Penn had 4 per cent; Pennsylvania Power and Light, 9 1/2 per cent; Duquesne,
12 per cent; and Philadelphia Electric, 23 per cent. Of the population where service was available, 43 per cent
was found in the counties of Philadelphia and Allegheny. One fourth of the people of the state had no electric
Cambria County, with its great coal reserves and its nearness to industrial centers which have no coal, looms large
in the record of experimentation in and study of the transmission of power from coal territory steam generating
plants instead of transportation of coal by railroads to the points of consumption. Of the great trans Pennsylvania
pipe lines, two cross the county, that of the Crescent and that of the Tuscarora companies. The Peoples Gas Company
line brings natural gas to Johnstown and then passes on eastward through the county to Altoona. The suggestion
is that steam power generating plants in the near future probably will use pre treated coal, save the gas and other
by products and transport electric power, gas and perhaps oils to Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Washington,
by parallel lines of transmission, with control stations under common supervision; and that all of the main line
railroads will be electrified, thus reducing to a minimum the problem of coal transportation which now exists and
the danger of local fuel shortages.
According to numerous authorities the greatest fuel economies on the Pennsylvania Railroad could be effected by
electrification of the mountain division between Johnstown and Altoona. Several times it was reported that the
Pennsylvania Railroad was prepared to go ahead with electrification here, but of late there has been pressure of
public opinion in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for electrification of terminals to mitigate the smoke nuisance and
railroad funds available for electrification appear to be going to the Eastern and Western cities, rather than
to the heavy grades over the Alleghenies. In the large cities the railroads probably can buy electric power more
cheaply than they can make it for themselves. With the rapid recent development of Penn Public and other power
producers, it is no longer necessary for the railroads to create their own sources of power. The burden of coal
haulage taken off the railroads would release equipment for other service sufficient to prevent motor and car equipment
shortages for some time to come.
Only the theory and advocacy of such a great change in the industrial life of the nation so far is history, but
the story of diminishing production of coal, as told in another chapter, and of tremendous growth in electric power
development by both steam and hydro plants, and the rapid strides in long distance transmission of such light,
heat and power, is an engrossing one. The mine mouth power plant might conceivably do much to re establish the
value of our coal resources and to make of the mining of coal a continuous employment, instead of a part time job
seriously complicating the economic conditions of many of our communities in Cambria County.