Rotary Snow Plows

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Rotary Snow Plows

Postby Gadfly » Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:06 pm

Just the other night I watched an interesting program about clearing Donner Pass. I was intrigued by the steam rotary snowplow that was called to rescue a flanger work train that had gotten stuck in an avalanche, and clear the Pass that the Jordan Spreaders and flangers could not handle. The rotaries are, indeed, awesome machines! And the use of steam is quite logical in that it is used also to keep the plow blades from freezing up and 'sticking'. There was a quite good explanation of the processes involved in the use of these SP rotaries, built in 1923. The Road Foreman commented that he didn't understand how the rail buffs found out that the rotary was coming because there was gaggles of fans all along the route up the Pass to see the plow work. Some rail buffs were even up at the summit of Donner Pass, and how the heck they got up there in a raging blizzard was beyond the RFE's understanding. He called 'em "Goofy" :-D :-D ! Which I thought was quite funny considering that would've been my own description of a lot of rail fans I encountered in my career! "Goofy"!

Anyway, being that I worked with a lot of machinery on the railroad myself on Norfolk Southern, I would love to watch a rotary snowplow work! I doubt you'd find me up on Donner Pass to do it, tho!!! LOL!

GF
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Re: Rotary Snow Plows

Postby v8interceptor » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:15 am

Gadfly wrote:Just the other night I watched an interesting program about clearing Donner Pass. I was intrigued by the steam rotary snowplow that was called to rescue a flanger work train that had gotten stuck in an avalanche, and clear the Pass that the Jordan Spreaders and flangers could not handle. The rotaries are, indeed, awesome machines! And the use of steam is quite logical in that it is used also to keep the plow blades from freezing up and 'sticking'. There was a quite good explanation of the processes involved in the use of these SP rotaries, built in 1923. The Road Foreman commented that he didn't understand how the rail buffs found out that the rotary was coming because there was gaggles of fans all along the route up the Pass to see the plow work. Some rail buffs were even up at the summit of Donner Pass, and how the heck they got up there in a raging blizzard was beyond the RFE's understanding. He called 'em "Goofy" :-D :-D ! Which I thought was quite funny considering that would've been my own description of a lot of rail fans I encountered in my career! "Goofy"!

Anyway, being that I worked with a lot of machinery on the railroad myself on Norfolk Southern, I would love to watch a rotary snowplow work! I doubt you'd find me up on Donner Pass to do it, tho!!! LOL!

GF

If you are familiar with the Video sharing website "Youtube" there are a number of interesting videos clips of Rotary plows available to watch for free.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rotary+snow+plow
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Re: Rotary Snow Plows

Postby MBTA3247 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:00 pm

UP's and BNSF's rotaries are all diesel-powered these days, having been either built new in the '50s or '60s or converted from steam power during that same period. The steam systems that they have are fed from a small steam generator (of the same type used in diesels in passenger service in pre-HEP days) and are only used to keep the blades and a few other components from freezing up.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.
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