Campbell Generating Plant - Port Sheldon

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Campbell Generating Plant - Port Sheldon

Unread postby Raildudes dad » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:05 pm

The 14th Annual RR History Conference was September 23 at Hope College in Holland. Sunday morning at 9am was an optional tour of the Consumers Energy Campbell power plant. They took us to the 10th floor of Unit 3 and outside on a roof top viewing area overlooking the coal train yard. There we could see the inbound trains, empties, the car repair facility and the 2 dumpers. Beyond that is the ash disposal area. Looking the other way we could see the cooling water canal and Lake Michigan beyond that.

We were taken inside the small dumper which was the only one working that day. Each car is uncoupled from the loads, turned upside down, and then recoupled to the cut of empires. All the air brake hoses are disconnected and then need to be connected manually. The other dumper can rotate the cars without uncoupling if they are equipped with rotating couplers
.
Their preferred locomotive(s) is the EMD with its slug. They have a pair of Republics – mother and slug that they prefer not to use due to reliability issues. The backup locomotive is the big GE centercab missing its builder’s plate. It has been repowered with 2 Cat engines.

There is actually 3 plants on the site. Unit 1 was put in operation in 1962, Unit 2 in 1967 and Unit 3 in 1980. Unit 1 and 3 burn exclusively western coal, Unit 2 can burn eastern or western coal. Unit 2 hasn’t burned any eastern coal in well over year. They only have a 30 day supply of eastern coal on hand, about 30,000 tons. Average coal consumption is 130 cars or 16,000 tons / day. The day we were there during the heat wave, the coal from the train was going directly to the plants, supplemented from the pile.
Unit 1 can generate 260 mw, Unit 2, 360 mw on 40 % eastern 60% western coal but only about 260 on 100 % western coal. Unit 3 generates 830 mw. Unit 1 and 3 run full power 24/7/365, Unit 2 is their variable output plant. Interestingly, Consumers does not determine how much power to generate. There is a regional energy monitoring agency that monitors demand and capacity and tells them how much they need to produce each day.

Consumers owns 13 – 130 car unit trains. 3 cycle to Karn in Essexville and 10 cycle to Campbell from the Black Thunderbird Mine in Thunderbird Wyoming. Interestingly eastern coal arrives in 100 car trains. The trip from the mine is normally a 3 day trip. They have folks whose job it is to monitor the train locations and progress.

Western coal has 8800 BTU’s per ton with 25% moisture and 0.28% sulfur. Eastern coal has 12,000 BTU’s with 6.7% moisture and 0.84% sulfur. However even though they have to burn 37% more, the price makes up for it.

Coal management on the pile is interesting. It’s watered for dust control but also density. If the western coal isn’t packed tight enough, it will spontaneously combust. They use a CAT 844 wheel dozer with a 40 cubic yard blade for compaction. It can work on a 25 degree slope. They also have a CAT D-10 dozer with a 68 cubic yard blade for pushing. It can work on a 45 degree slope. They keep between a 30 and 60 day supply of coal on hand.

All the ash currently produced is landfilled “across the street” to the east. They used to sell the ash to asphalt and concrete producers but the legislature passed a law that it has be landfilled.

Definitely a very interesting tour if you get the chance.
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Re: Campbell Generating Plant - Port Sheldon

Unread postby AARR » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:00 pm

Thanks for posting this, RDD.
PatC created a monster, 'cause nobody wants to see Don Simon no more they want AARR I'm chopped liver, well if you want AARR this is what I'll give ya, bad humor mixed with irrelevant info that'll make you roll your eyes quicker than a ~Z~ banhammer...
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Re: Campbell Generating Plant - Port Sheldon

Unread postby trnwatcher » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:10 pm

back in the 80s/90s my dad and I tracked certain cars to see if we could determine the frequency of when they cycled through Wyoming. One of those cars was CPOX 1775. We discovered that it could leave Wyoming yard in a set empties headed back to KY or WVa and approximately 3 to 4 days later if returned loaded. We were surprised they could turn these cars around thst quickly.
Nice post btw.
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Re: Campbell Generating Plant - Port Sheldon

Unread postby BL2-1843 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:40 pm

trnwatcher wrote:back in the 80s/90s my dad and I tracked certain cars to see if we could determine the frequency of when they cycled through Wyoming. One of those cars was CPOX 1775. We discovered that it could leave Wyoming yard in a set empties headed back to KY or WVa and approximately 3 to 4 days later if returned loaded. We were surprised they could turn these cars around thst quickly.
Nice post btw.


Those were the days and remember that as well how fast a certain set would return loaded. Working for Consumers Energy for 32 years, but not at the Campbell plant, had the opportunity to tour the West Olive facility on several occasions when in the area, including my young at the time sons. Always fascinating to see and watch.
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