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PPL transformer rolls through Lancaster County

The 19.4-mile journey was expected to take six to eight hours, but crews got done in under four.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — A transformer rolled through Lancaster County on Tuesday, and we're not talking about Optimus Prime.

The electrical equipment convoy was a sight to see for drivers, but for the guys behind the wheel, it was just another day on the job.

“Standard, everyday type of stuff for us," said Jamin Buckingham, project manager at Buckingham Heavy Transport.

Buckingham is the company that helped carry the electrical transformer from a Columbia rail yard to PPL’s South Manheim substation in Penn Township, using a self-propelled tractor trailer.

The transformer will replace an existing piece at the substation.

Buckingham said the 19.4-mile journey came with some challenges.

“There’s low wires, traffic signals we’re watching and checking the height of them, obstacles coming down the road," he explained.

The transformer is a critical piece of the puzzle that is providing electricity to homes and businesses.

“Power is generated at a power plant or whatever source of generation it’s coming from, it comes across the lines, and you need transformers on both ends of that line so, if you want to turn your lights on at home tonight, or you want to have A/C or heat, this is needful for that," Buckingham said.

PPL tells FOX43 the new transformer will help to keep electric service reliability strong in the region. 

According to a PPL spokesperson, equipment like transformers are essential for safe and reliable service across the PPL grid.

This is a statement released by PPL regarding the replacement:

"PPL Electric Utilities is among national leaders in grid reliability in part because of investments in equipment and technology that keeps the grid safe, strong, and resilient. These investments have positioned us well to weather storms of all types. PPL remains ahead of most utilities for addressing aging infrastructure and integrating new technologies. We’ve added new power lines and substations, stronger, more weather resistant poles and trim trees regularly. All this helps to strengthen our system and reduce or mitigate causes of power outages. Smart grid technology enhances our ability to quickly detect power outages and allows us to respond more quickly to restore as many customers as possible even before repairs are made.

Investments like the new transformer at the Manheim substation are part of PPL’s ongoing commitment to deliver safe, reliable and affordable electricity."

While the convoy slowed traffic down a bit, it overall operated like a well-oiled machine.

Tuesday’s move was expected to take six to eight hours, but crews got it done in under four.

“The team is used to doing them," said Buckingham. "We do quite a few throughout the year so that helps a lot, and having the right equipment, and like I said, nice weather helps.”

Now that the transformer has arrived at its final destination, crews will spend Tuesday and Wednesday unloading it and moving it into the substation, where PPL will then install it.

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