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956 McDougall – Former Hydro Electric Railways Hydro Station

Today we take a stroll over to 956 McDougall, just north of Erie St. and check out this building built in 1926.

From all outward appearances, it look like many other Hydro Substations around Windsor, built during the same era. However this one was the nerve centre of the street car system.

From the Border Cities Star, June 30, 1926:

    THIS is an architect’s sketch of the new $137,000 convertor station to be erected in Windsor shortly by the Ontario Hydro Electric Railway Commission for the purpose of augmenting the supply of power existing at present for the use of the Border street car lines. The new station is to be located on the Hydro property, at the corner of Erie street and McDougall street, and the equipment will include three 1.000 Kilowatt rotary convertors, which will increase the supply of power sufficient to make the local system independent of any private power sources. Construction is to commence during the first week in July, according to officials of the Hydro commission.

From the Border Cities Star, February 11, 1927:

    Here is the wonderful new rotary converter which has been installed in the Hydro Electric Railways station, at McDougall and Erie streets. It was put into operation this morning. The machine is used to convert alternating current to direct current for distribution along the trolley wires on the 58 miles of line in the Essex division.

    The new machine has a capacity of 1,000 kilowatts and is one of three such units, giving the section a total capacity of 3,000 kilowatts. In comparison with the convertors in the old plant on Sandwich street west , the new ones are tiny, measuring only five feet six inches in height. The old ones were about 35 feet long, 20 feet high, and had less than half the capacity of the more modern type.

    Standing at the left is A. F. McGill, superintendent of the Essex division. The other man is W. H. Horton, electrical engineer.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend, and I hope all the Mothers out there had a nice relaxing day yesterday 🙂


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