September 1, 2004
We found the black sheep in the bunch.
There is a reference to the control rooms
in "Echos of Forgotten Places" as being like a Russian military site in the Cold War. A delegation from the Soviet Union visited the R.L. Hearn TGS during this period. One Russian Engineer, a woman, asked through a translator a technical question .. what the peripherial speed of the largest LP turbine blades was. Hydro's Engineers were momentarially stumped but replied that they would give her all the technical information and she could figure it out.
I travelled to the FSU twice and visited many hostorical sites. I think that even today there is a greater respect for the history of labour and places like this even after the end of communism. Many of their old industrial sites have museums of plant history and have well preserved areas.
Bill, you are so right, Europe, both East and West, seem to have so much more respect and genuine interest in the lives of workers and the places they worked...
I don't have proof of this for certain, but the Hearn was pretty leading edge at the time. There are quite a few plants with very similar turbines and control room setups built in in the 1960's period still in operation today in the FSU .. in other words, these Soviet visitors may have been spying. The good news is if a very similar plant was ever needed for a film that works, such places exists. I have quite a few photos of these plants and the resemblance is quite remarkable.
I think there is a good chance that we can get this story verified. It likely happened in 1959-62. The company that produces the machines is still in business and still sells replacement models. A Russian expert may be able to verify the story and the proof might be if they could sell modified cogeneration version to fit the Hearn's turbine mounts. They likely modified and improved it but some of the first nearly identical models may still exist.
This adds a rather fascinating spy twist to the Hearn story. Who could play the Russian engineer in a movie version .. Nakita ?
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