Saturday, May 9, 2009

Niagara falls tailrace tunnels

The Niagara falls tailrace tunnels:
Almost everybody knows about the large Niagara water falls near the town of Niagara falls on the border of Canada and the United States. But I think fewer know that there are large underground tailrace tunnels in this area which are part of the hydro electric power stations located near the waterfalls. Two of these hydro electric power station which used these large tailrace tunnels are the William B. Rankin power station and the Toronto power company generating station. Both are now out of use and were explored by an urban explorer from Canada. He has his own site where the pictures seen below are from.

The William B. Rankin power station starts
here collecting the water. The water then runs trough a 2200 feet long tailrace tunnel seen in the pictures below. The turbines used to generate the electricity can be seen at the top of the tunnel:

The whole tunnel was filled with water in the past but now the power station is out of use so you are able to walk in it. The tunnel
ends at a very spectacular spot below the famous horsshoe waterfall:

The Toronto power generating station (seen in the picture below ) also uses these large underground tunnels. You can see this power station in the picture below. It is clearly visible that the power station haven't been used for a long time ( for 30 years):

The tunnels of this power station are located much deeper underground as those of the William B. rankin power station and this tailrace excists of multiple tunnels instead of 1 tunnel. The tunnels are located more then ten storeys underground and are completely made of brick and are a hundred years old. The tunnels are only accessible by descending through a narrow slit in its ceiling thirty feet above the floor. But when you get down there you certainly get to a spectacular site:

In the picture below you can see the end of a trailrace line of this power station. The water flow would have crashed downward through the openings in the floor into the penstocks that made good use on the water's gravitational potential energy, driving it down to the base of the gorge where it spun great turbines at the Ontario Generating Station:

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